Years ago, I did an exercise called “laying down Ideal”, where I was asked to lay down the ideal version of myself. It was so powerful I have never forgotten the takeaway lesson that I received from God. I am human and because of it I will mess up, I will fail. That became my mantra for a while until I forgot all about it and came home to a kitchen that seems to have a million dishes in the sink, the counter full of clutter, and bedrooms with clothes slung all over the floor instead of in the hamper that is also in their room…Yes, teens!
What I wanted to see when I got home was an alternate reality. The ideal version of who I think I should be, two responsible young men who put the dishes in the dishwasher, tended to the cat’s needs, and have dinner well on its way.
I still struggle with laying down ideal, the ideal vs. reality, the ideal version of myself and my family vs. the reality. In a perfect world, my kids would be put together all the time, and my house would always be tidy. The reality is that we still struggle every morning—after eight years of practice—to get out the door for work and school. The reality is that, if you came over right now, you’d wonder why the floor looks like it has stains on it that have been sitting there for a few weeks.
Maybe you’re in the same boat, sometimes wishing you had an ideal version of your life—or your kids, marriage, or even yourself. But what if you stopped hoping for the ideal version of your life and simply worked on your reality?
Finding the True you
Are you still with me? Okay, here’s what I want you to do. Close your eyes and imagine all the things you wish you had. Imagine your perfect life. Then, I want you to let it go. Yep, say goodbye to it.
Now I want you to visit your reality—messy dishes and all. I know it’s not as fun as the other version but stay with me.
Look around. What do you see?
A mess? Could the answer be a better routine where everyone does their part, and where you actually ask for help?
Constantly late? Could the answer be better time management and new bedtime routines?
You can make your reality better by doing small things to improve your situation. Are you willing to take steps forward to make your reality one that you are happy with?
How to Start Laying Down Ideal
Setting aside your concept of an ideal life helps you move toward the version of you God created you to be.
What is one small or big step you can take right now to move toward the reality God wants for you? Leave a comment below.
It depicts the story that a Caterpillar ate and ate and ate until he was full. Then, he built a cocoon and stayed in it for days. After a little while, the cocoon burst open, and a beautiful butterfly emerged.
The story doesn’t go into detail on this, but we might know that a butterfly’s job is to pollinate. Through the process of pollination, flowers grow, honey is produced, and insect lifecycles continue.
Let me say it this way…The butterfly has an amazing purpose, and God has a purpose for your life, too!
Your job and my job, with God’s help, is to figure out that purpose so we can emerge from the cocoon into a butterfly, spread our wings, and fly.
As someone who has stumbled and fumbled and gone around the same mountain with God when it comes to purpose, here’s what I know to be true:
God Will Give You Your Purpose
Psalms 37:4 says, “Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” The Lord takes delight in you seeking Him and spending time with Him. When you come to Him, He will plant seeds in your heart. The seeds then sprout, and eventually, you will want to act on those very seeds He planted in you. You might think, at that point, that your purpose was your idea, but when you discern things from God’s perspective, it’s clear it was His desire for your life all along. (Psalms 37:4 Biblehub.com, NIV).
Nothing is Lost from Your Purpose
You might think you are wasting your time by doing things that aren’t propelling you toward your purpose. But, in fact, when you are in a relationship with God, nothing is lost! God is so good that He uses your mistakes, your wrong directions, and your U-turns to propel you toward your purpose. It will seem like you are on a path to nowhere, but in fact, you will discover you’re at a pivotal point. This is when God will tell you to look back and you’ll see how far you’ve come. It’s no different than the caterpillar’s purpose. It looks like there’s nothing going on when he’s in that cocoon, but in fact, the caterpillar is in the process of becoming what he was meant to be all along! God has a purpose for your life as well.
Where is Your Purpose?
In the midst of discovering your purpose, you must come to know that every season brings new challenges. On the journey toward your purpose, you will likely find that you agree with one or more of these statements.
Where are you now? Do one or all of the following statements resonate with you?
Time Warp: Everything revolves around every one or everything else; I have no time for myself.
Squirrel Mentality: You see everything as your purpose, You want to do it all!
Stuck in the Muck: are you stuck, afraid to make a move one way or another?
Moving Forward with God
Being aware of where you are can help propel you toward your future. As God’s creation, you are always becoming, always being transformed in hopes that you will spread your wings and fly. Stay near to Him and He will guide you from the cocoon to take flight, just like the caterpillar.
Have you ever wondered, “if I am free, how come I can’t move forward”? Moving forward in freedom means that you have to remember you are free! After the Israelites left Egypt, they started complaining that they had it so good when they were slaves. When they were slaves they had food to eat and were taken care of. As entrepreneurs or women or mamas or just humans in Christ, you have to remember you are free. You are no longer a slave. God took care of that for you by dying on the cross. Thank you, Jesus! So often, so many of us go back to a slave mentality. A slave mentality tells you that you are to be fearful, hoard, think we never have enough, and live in a posture of lack. So, if you are free, why can’t you move forward?
Believe and Achieve: Belief vs. Knowledge
You are free, but do you believe you are free? Believing and knowing are two different things. When you know something, it is an understanding of knowledge. For instance, you can know God, but having a relationship with him is different. So do you believe God; do you take him at his word and stand on his promises? When things get hard, will He will pull you through? Your belief needs to be stronger than your disbelieve.
Your Past Will Set you Free
To move forward in freedom, you have to break the strongholds of past trauma. If you have experienced trauma, which most of us have. You have to revisit the trauma to move forward. Revisiting the past might be painful. Up until now, maybe you have been masking it, pretending that everything is fine when it isn’t, or even following behavior that doesn’t align with what God wants for you. The gift in all this is that he is waiting for you to lead, broken, humble and raw. Because sis, when you get to that point where you just can’t put on the mask anymore, God comes in, picks up all your broken pieces, and puts them back together for his glory. He uses every experience, every struggle, and triumph to teach others through your brokenness. God has already given you freedom, broke every bond to a former life you had, so stop holding yourself captive from the abundance that is waiting for you. Start doing the things he called you to do, so he can give you the life he already created you for.
You are free, but you will go through trials. The first few verses of James demonstrate, being joyful when your faith is being tested. He wants us to know you can grow in endurance and build a strong character that can withstand anything. So, sis, trials are part of being human. If you never suffered, you would never know how to endure, how to be patient, how to withstand the things that are to come, and ultimately how to lead others back to Jesus.
As Christians, you have to go through some stuff to follow the path the creator has set for you. No one said following Jesus would be easy. You are set apart. You are the minority trying to lead the unpopular idea to the ones who will listen.
Give up to Get
In Galatians 2:19-20, Paul says, “for when I tried to keep the law, I realized I could never keep God’s approval, so I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ”. The idea of dying to something to be made new is Jesus’ upside-down approach doesn’t make sense in the world, but it does for the Kingdom. A life with Christ is dying to yourself over and over. The hard part is figuring out what you need to die to, then letting go of all the ways the world taught you and following His teachings. It sounds so simple, but to actually walk with Jesus for the sake of the journey is hard.
Giving up the control you think you have will take courage and strength. I pray for God’s supernatural strength and his hedge of protection for your journey. The way to be lead by Christ is to continually die to yourself. What do you need to die to today?
You are already free in Christ, so let go of any insecurities or past trauma in order to move forward into the life God planned for you. Let God dwell inside you so that you may know the direction you are supposed to go. Let community, prayers, and your foundation in the Bible build you up as you pursue your Godly purpose.
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Shame. Regret. Inadequacy is how I lived internally. I let my past mistakes define me. God has a way of pulling your deepest secrets to the light. He transforms your worst mistakes into His best glory.
On this particular day, I remember cleaning and listening to worship music. I felt a spirit wash over me. I slowly got down on my knees and asked God what this feeling was. With Jesus near, tears streamed down my closed eyes and ran onto my cheeks like water at baptism.
This was one of those divine intervention moments, I thought to myself. Jesus was calling me to take a hard look at my life.
Just then, God showed me who I really was.
However, I saw myself as a mistake-making 20 something version of my old self. Holding on to all the shame and guilt that went along with those mistakes. Up to that point, I let the past define me.
Can you relate? Have you been saddled with the weight of your past, unable to let it go?
Defining the Past
For nearly two decades, I let the past define me. I held it close like I was playing a card game, careful not to show anyone my cards. Building up walls so high, I closed myself off from who God was calling me to be.
My past left me with a hidden shame. It felt like I was wearing a mask that made it hard for me to see who I really was.
It was easy to get to the point where the past defines you. Yet, even harder to let it all go.
An identity crisis is not knowing who you are in Christ. Which was my problem at this time.
I realize now that the only cure for an identity crisis is spending time with the one who created you. Before I spent time with God, I thought he was judging me for not being obedient to God. I honestly thought I was not worthy of his love.
The truth is we are his creation. He continues to pursue.
In the book of Acts, we meet Saul headed to Damascus. His purpose was to capture his enemies (the disciples). Saul had an encounter with God.
The encounter shook up everything he knew about himself and the direction he was going.
When God appeared to Saul, every transgression melted away. He was transformed in God’s image.
Further, Saul’s name changed to Paul, and then he spent his life being an ambassador for Christ.
God used Saul (a murder) to proclaim His word.
I find it fascinating and encouraging that God used Saul in such a profound way.
God will continue to pursue you. God does not care about your past mistakes as much as you do.
Don’t Let Mistakes Define you
Think about your past mistakes. What are the horrible things that you think everyone will hate you for if you told them? What mistakes keep you up at night, keep looping in your head, causing you shame?
Those are the mistakes you need to confront with God by your side.
You need to acknowledge that you did them; without attributing any feeling to them.
Those mistakes don’t define you.
Think of acknowledging your mistakes as God’s way of starting your journey to healing your soul.
God knows you made mistakes. However, he doesn’t want you to bury yourself in the negative emotions that you feel.
Instead, forgive yourself.
He Forgives your Mistakes
The healing part of forgiving yourself or someone else starts when you take the first step in reaching out to God.
When you ask God to forgive, you become a new creation in Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says I am Redeemed, therefore if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here.
He has already forgiven you and me. God’s job was to die for your sins, so you could find life in him (1 Peter 3:18.) The good news is that you do not have to hold yourself in bondage anymore.
Reuniting with Christ, who died on the cross, helps you trust him to wash away the mistakes you’ve made.
Once you let go of the strongholds the past has on you, you can walk in your truth. You now can work through the shame, hurt resentment, or whatever you attributed to the past.
When you finally realize your past mistakes don’t define you, they have no power over you. Then, you can stand in your truth and help others live their Godly purpose. Let your past mistakes be your message. Let your old stronghold be the connection you offer a friend who is suffering. Your new message is a light of encouragement for someone else. You can speak truth and love to your past, making sure it has no place in your future.
In conclusion, letting your past mistakes define you leads to an identity crisis. Remember, God sees you as His beloved daughter, not as your past mistakes. Let Jesus walk alongside you. When you do, it is easier to forgive past mistakes. Moreover, God can heal you for his glory. In doing this, you can deliver His message and glorify His kingdom.
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Sara Chinakwe is a Christian writer who believes every woman has the power to live out God’s plan for their lives. She enjoys helping other women shed the negative lies they think about themselves in order to live out God’s truth. Sara resides in Sacramento California with her husband and two kids. You can subscribe and read more on her blogLivingafaithfullife.com
When I set out to be a writer, I didn’t realize I would also learn how to stop being a perfectionist. I didn’t believe I was good. It took me three years of blogging to feel comfortable sharing my work.
Y’all, this is after graduating High School and college, writing numerous papers, and starting a successful home-based preschool business. I don’t say that to list my accomplishments, but to say, from the outside, it looked like I was doing well.
It looked like I could do anything. Inside though, I wasn’t confident.
I didn’t see my full potential the way God did or maybe everyone else around me. I second-guessed every decision and, as a result, stayed stuck in the cycle of “it has to be perfect”.
Even in writing my first devotional, I stopped and started many times. I worried that the message wouldn’t resonate with you. Or worse yet, after leaving my heart on the page, it would get trampled on.
Years ago, I wouldn’t have had the courage to write anything and share it. I limited myself.
Because I was scared, not confident, and striving to have it be perfect.
So, how do you stop being a perfectionist?
Somewhere along the way, I realized three important things
I had to follow God
When you follow God with your whole heart, mind, and body, he leads you to where he wants you to go. Have you figured out yet what God wants for your life? Not yet, join the Live Your Godly Purpose Workshop Series.
When you are ready to listen, he continually shows you how to move to the next thing He wants you to do.
Am I still scared?
But I know that by not listening to God’s call, I am limiting myself and the desire he has for me. I feel like I am sinning against Him when I don’t listen to his desires for my life.
Another thing to realize when you want to stop being a perfectionist…
He wants to give you an abundant life.
To take what God is offering, you have to step out on faith even when it’s hard and scary. God is calling you to what he desires.
When you allow God to dwell in you, you are transformed and then; able to share abundantly with those around you.
Once you realize that you are worthy of all that God has for you, God will show you exceeding abundantly more than you could ever have envisioned. (Ephesians 3:20)
He does this because he loves you so much and wants to show the world who is really in control. You can’t do it on our merit. It is when you trust and listen to God’s call for your life that he gives you the life he has planned for you all along.
He knows our plans
When you learn how to stop being a perfectionist, you will begin to rely on God. Since God created you, he has the best plans for you and your future. It is your job to follow him and find out where he is leading you.
However, since the beginning of time, society has struggled to keep following God. Since God knows your future, you know you can trust him.
Do yourself a huge favor, go ahead, and shed the lie that you have to be perfect right now.
God knew you were going to struggle. He knew you would mess up. God is teaching you from your mistakes. He isn’t looking for you to be perfect, only to love him the best way you can.
Sis, when you think about being perfect, remember God knows we will fall short, mess up, or even stray.
He also knows that he chose you, calls you, and loves you beyond measure.
So start to lay down the need to be perfect because he loves you anyway. In doing that, a layer of yourself can peel away, revealing more of the you that God created.
As I ponder the phrase “on the road to recovery”, the word that stands out the most is “recovery”. In the word recovery, I think of someone in a healing state of being. You can be in recovery for surgery, alcohol, or substance abuse. However, oftentimes we don’t often talk about the recovery of the mind.
Living a Faithful Life Vision
The whole vision of living a faithful life was a result of having gone through my own road to recovery. At this time in my life I was so deep into depression I couldn’t see God’s light. God was able to fill my cup just enough to keep me going.
Filling our spiritual cup is no easy task, it takes a desire and openness to want to be fulfilled. During this time I remember being in constant communication with God.
The Holy Spirit led me to reconnect with him through the creative process. Often times it is in the stillness and creativity where we find God filling our soul. Things like painting, gardening, writing and just sitting in the silence are ways to create a connection with our heavenly Father.
Like so many of us, the only way I could have gotten to the light was to have gone through the darkness.
In fact, she built an entire life coaching business out of helping people find their way out of stuck or dark places and leading them to the light.
What is a Life Coach?
A life coach could be exactly what you are looking for. A life coach helps you move forward. Unlike a therapist, who focuses on the past and what happened in childhood to move you forward. A life coach focuses on where you want to go and moves you forward. I hear you saying, sounds interesting. Keep reading to hear more.
Recently I had the pleasure of meeting and now working with Life Coach Lauren Frost, from Creative Recovery. Lauren’s hope for creative recovery is to move you forward and turn up the volume in your life. She’s not looking for perfection but deeper awareness for your adventure ahead. Lauren Frost is a warm and welcoming individual with her heart fixed on helping you discover and move forward in God’s call for your life. She will be your biggest cheerleader and advocate, offering to link arms with you and God to guide you through the hard and confusing parts of life.
Lauren has the ability to meet each person she coaches right where they are and helps them with actionable baby steps or big leaps to get to where you are meant to be.
Lauren not only has avenues for adults to grow and develop but children too. Her creative approach to recovery is tailored to the specific need of the individual. Lauren offers a 30-minute free coaching session to see if coaching is the right fit for you.
The Road to Recovery
The road to recovery could be a long one involving peaks and valley’s ups and downs. It is through the darkness we find the light. I am here to remind you that you are never alone, let Lauren at creative recovery link arms with you to guide you to the best version of yourself.
More about Lauren
Lauren Frost is a life coach who believes in your breakthrough moment. She will help guide you through barriers that keep you stuck and brainstorm creative ways you can move forward in your road to recovery. Her flexible coaching style allows her to work with clients worldwide. Lauren resides in Sacramento, CA with her husband and dog named King Dozer.
I had a chance to interview Lauren, click here to watch the video