Our world is many things.
It's big, beautiful, wild, wonderful, delightful, dizzying, sad, and scary.
And in this world, when it gets overwhelming, we have two common responses.
The first says "I'll handle this by being excellent, competent, and fully capable. I will manage the world through my efforts and performance."
Obviously, the first example screams "perfectionism!"
That's become a bit of a buzzword lately, applied rightfully and wrongfully to a lot of people.
I've never been that Type A over achiever. I'm not driven or ambitious.
In fact, I'm quite slow to move on anything. I tend to watch other people live and cheer quietly from the sidelines.
I let opportunities come to me, and sometimes I let them pass right by.
So it would seem that I am not a perfectionist, and I resigned myself to reading a book that didn't apply to me.
But then Holley listed a second example of how people cope with the world.
This belief says "I'll stand very still, and if I don't chase after anything or rock the boat, then I'll avoid any potential damage or danger. I may not make any friends, but I won't accidentally hurt anybody either. I may not step out of my comfort zone, but I won't inconvenience anyone either. I may not share my life too personally with anyone, but I won't upset them either."
That's me. And then Holley explained that this is perfection-based too.
You're afraid to try because you're afraid to fail.
The glorious thing is, Holley has a third option to tell us about.
Instead of trying too hard or running and hiding, we can live freely and fully.
Now that's quite a promise to make, isn't it?
But Holley has a sure thing backing up her promise- Jesus set us free, took away our sin, took on our humanity, and can dissolve our fears with His kindness.
So this book tells us where we are- we're held close by the Shepherd, seen through his eyes of love.
We're not good enough, but He is all goodness, and so we don't need to be.
And this book asks you to find out who you are- how did God make you? What do you have to give?
How do you work and learn and give and receive love?
Because Holley is convinced that God calls us all to walk in His way, and that there's a unique way for each of us to do so.
One of the best chapters, I thought, was the one about the will of God. If the will of God is that we be conformed to the Image of His Son, then that's a lifelong process.
And we don't need to see everything up ahead, and all our efforts don't have to pan out, and we can even mess things up along the way. What matters, she insists, is that we start moving and trying and doing- He'll guide us through it all.
There's a compelling chapter about trading Guilt for Grace, with diagrams that accurately represent the two cycles- Grace begets obedience and intimacy, Guilt spawns shame and isolation.
Holley describes how she returns to these truths throughout her day, centering her heart with gratitude and trust.
Obviously, when we begin to accept grace for ourselves, it will change our relationships with others.
All of the the steps we take toward freedom and fullness will help us as we live with our people.
There is a cycle to break, the cycle of Criticism and Condemnation.
The good news is that we can replace those imposters with Encouragement and Correction.
One word, act, and prayer at a time, we can build life-affirming connections with friends and family.
Ultimately, it all comes down to this...
"We can carry less when we become convinced that we're cared for more than we can even imagine." ~Holley Gerth.
And I love that. So if you worry yourself sick about your performance, and you crave freedom and fullness, then "You're Loved No Matter What" will speak to you. Thank you to Revell Reads for my review copy.
Bestselling author, follower of Jesus, friend to YOU