Just reading those words makes me sigh relief, but also give me anxiety. Perfectionism is a pattern that I must have learned as a very young age and it is one of the most difficult for me to break. On one hand I embrace some of my qualities of perfectionism, like setting up the room for my students before a class so they feel comfortable and welcomed. Then on the other hand, I know that some of my perfectionist qualities are more about meeting someone else's expectations and not my own.
In chapter two, Renee shares the story of how her family received a notice from the HOA letting them know that they needed to do some repair and maintenance to the front of their house. Immediately she went into defense mode, which I think many of us would. When we feel humiliated or embarrassed it is natural for our minds to go into defense mode. That defense can take on many different forms from, the "Who do they think they are." to pretending not to care or that everything is fine. Maybe even a mix of all three.
If you are joining along in reading the book, chapter two tells the story of the Samaritan woman. Renee calls her Sam. I thought it was brilliant how she took the story from the bible and made it very relevant to how women "feel" about themselves. Likening Sam going to the well at opposite times of the other women just to avoid the gossip and ridicule of her past. Haven't we all felt like that before? People so eager to talk about us behind our back, pointing out our flaws to others just so they feel better about themselves. And yes, we've also been on the talking end too. The story continues to tell of the meeting of Sam with Jesus at the well. Their exchange was so deep and personal. Sam experienced exactly what we do when we become ashamed or embarrassed, a feeling that we just aren't good enough, but pretending that we are fine. That's why she had so many failed relationships and why the other women must be talking about her. Jesus knew her story and he knew that she was pretending that things were "fine". He knows our story too and he loves us regardless.
This chapter was very personal to me and I cried as I read through it. There have been times when I felt so isolated because I felt like I made mistakes or poor choices. I've felt the eyes of others judging me and criticizing me. During those times I covered myself up and withdrew on the inside and pretended on the outside. I ignored my relationship with God. He felt further and further from my heart because I made it that way. But he was always there. Ready and waiting.
There are several study questions at the end of this chapter. I am only sharing one.
Jesus wants to create a safe place for you to be transparent with Him where you can ask questions and be real about your desires, doubts, disappointments and dreams. He knows you and wants you to really know Him. Is the thought of this kind of relationship with God comforting or uncomfortable, and why?
I hope you are enjoying the book. If you are reading along, I would love to hear your experience.
You can message me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org or even comment here if you have some words of wisdom for others.
Here is a link to purchase the book ~ <<<A Confident Heart>>>