Bonnie Gray - incourage.me

“Faith is a verb described as a noun.” ~ William Backus

I was sitting there on my bed, tethered to the wall — unable to freely move around the house — by an iPhone charger. Hubby and I had finally tucked the kids in for the night when he walked over to me as I was checking email on my phone.

“What are you doing, sitting here by yourself? Come hang out in the living room with me. We can read together.” Eric asked.

“I lost my 10-foot power cord. So, I have to wait here while it charges on this short one. Doing some email. I’ll come down in a bit.” I explained.

“Uh. Honey, don’t you know . . . your phone will charge a lot faster if you don’t use it? You’re draining the energy while it’s trying to recharge.”

This was an ah-ha moment for me. Because my phone isn’t the only thing that’s being used and drained.

My heart needs to be recharged with God’s love.

God has put some ideas on my heart, inspiring me to move forward in a new direction. But I’ve been draining the inspiration with fear instead. Paralyzed by analyzing the what-ifs.

As I put the phone down to let it recharge and go relax with Hubby downstairs, I realize what’s holding my heart back: perfectionism. I’m afraid of making a mistake. I’m afraid I’ll regret what I did or didn’t do.

Perfectionism tethers us back. It robs our heart’s freedom.

I needed to rest in God’s love for me — and relax into this journey rather than try to eradicate the critical voices that hold me back.

Do you find perfectionism holding you back on the journey of faith too?

A Journey, Not a Test

One of the biggest traps I often fall into is the notion that I can get rid of perfectionism.

If only I had more confidence in myself . . .
If only I could let go of the past . . .
If only I trusted God more . . .
If only . . .

All this if-only thinking accomplished only one thing:  distance between my heart and God’s touch.

I’ve been waiting for me to be better.

But, what if God is longing to take us on a journey, not for us to be perfect, but to be changed — because He is with us?

God’s love is not a test of our faith, but a journey to experience His faithfulness to us. This journey requires we let go of the lies we believe and relax into God’s love and let His voice be the one voice we follow today.

How can our hearts break free?

5 Whispers to Set Your Heart Free

I began to feed on God’s love by taking extra time to recharge my heart with God in spiritual whitespace. As I let the quiet speak, I heard the sweetest whispers set my heart free from the Top 5 Lies of Imperfection.

Lie #1: I’m not good enough.

Truth #1: God whispers: Don’t be afraid. I love you. As is. I will be your shelter. I will be your home. No matter where your journey takes you, you are beautiful to Me.

“If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness . . . God’s power works best in my weakness.” {2 Corinthians 12:9, 11:30}

Lie #2: It’s too late.

Truth #2: God whispers: It’s never too late. I always save the best for last. Nothing is ever overlooked. You are not forgotten. You belong to me.

“Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but You have saved the best till now.” {John 2:10}

Lie #3: Why bother starting if I can’t finish?

Truth #3: God whispers: You may not know how long this journey will take, but, I am faithful. We may pass through fire and water, but I will carry you. I will never leave you.

“. . . being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” {Philippians 1:6}

Lie #4: People won’t like me.

Truth #4: God whispers: I will heal you. I created you to bring beautiful things into the world. You are a diamond in the safety of my love. You are my treasure.

“It is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself . . . but the one who examines me is the Lord.” {1 Corinthians 4:3-4}

Lie #5: People will hurt me.

Truth #5: God whispers: Even if that’s true, hurt won’t be your end. My love for you will always win. I make beautiful things out of brokenness. Me in you.

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.” {Genesis 50:20}

Moving Forward

You and I don’t have to wait until we are free from perfectionism to start taking new steps.

Part of being human is experiencing our weaknesses. But, it doesn’t have to control the choices we make.

God’s love will never grow tired or weary.

God’s love goes beyond our limits. And nothing — not even perfectionism — can keep God’s love from you.

Let go of what holds you and let God hold you instead.

I’m moving forward with my ideas, even though I don’t know where they’ll lead. I’d rather make mistakes and live this life fully with Jesus and the kindness of kindreds, than hide my heart and never know what love is.

I’m doing it because I am God’s beloved.

And so are you.

And that’s all we need to know.

How is God asking you to trust Him with your heart?

by Bonnie Gray, the Faith Barista, and author of Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest

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  • Anna

    Bonnie, such beautiful truths. Thank you for sharing. I’ve been learning to let God’s Truths soothe and quiet the feelings of rejection, grief, fear, anger and bitterness that overcome me as I struggle through PTSD. This Scripture recently spoke deeply into these feelings, bringing hope where despair raged:
    Lamentations 3:19-24 ( The Message)
    “I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
    the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed.
    I remember it all – oh, how well I remember –
    the feeling of hitting the bottom.
    But there’s one thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:

    God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
    his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
    They’re created new every morning.
    How great your faithfulness!
    I’m sticking with God ( I say it over and over ).
    He’s all I’ve got left.”

    • Anna

      And this morning I studied Psalm 13 and it once again spoke my One Word for 2015: choose! I’m choosing to “[throw] myself headlong into [His] arms”, even when all my feelings scream for me to run and hide.

      • Bev @ Walking Well With God

        Anna,
        Praying you won’t run and hide…unless it’s running into His arms and hiding beneath the refuge of His wings…
        ((hugs)),
        Bev

        • Anna

          Thank you, Bev. You are such a beautiful-hearted encourager. God is good, so very good and I’m learning that His goodness is not dependent on anything I feel, say or do, it’s ever-present.

          • Bev @ Walking Well With God

            Amen!

    • http://www.faithbarista.com/ Bonnie Gray

      it’s beautiful to hear how God’s whispering to you, Anna. thanks for sharing Lamentations 3… #blessings

  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Bonnie,
    “God’s love is not a test of our faith, but a journey to experience His faithfulness to us.” I am learning to see that life is not a test on which I receive a grade that reflects my degree of perfection. Instead, it’s more of a homework assignment on which God is my continual tutor…teaching me along the way. It’s the process that counts. Trying to throw the “test” mentality out the door. Thanks for some great encouragement this morning to continue on that path.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • http://www.faithbarista.com/ Bonnie Gray

      wonderful reflections, Bev… thank you!

  • Chris

    Paralyzed with a decision…understand that. So there’s this house…it’s on the street where I grew up. It’s next door to the yard where my grandmother and I played in the yard on summer afternoons. It feels a lot like “home” and it’s for sale. But there is much to consider. A long time family friend, Bill, who is in need of a place to stay…probably for the rest of his life. He’s 70 and has congestive heart failure. And then there’s my cousin Mike with Alzheimer’s who will probably need to live with me as well. And then there is his caregiver. Suddenly the house on the street where I grew up is way too small. I’ve always wanted to go back there, but maybe it’s not the right decision. I don’t want to be selfish about this…it’s not all about me. There are lots of ugly bigger houses for sale that would accommodate Mike, Bill, and a caregiver. How does one make such a decision? And quickly. I thank you for your prayers and comments. Chris

    • Marianne

      My prayers for you Chris, I to became paralyzed with a house decision. I let it go and now I regret it. It was the family home…I pray that God will bring it back if it is His will. I am praying for you now and I ask God to give you clear direction

    • http://www.faithbarista.com/ Bonnie Gray

      dear Chris, thnx for sharing. you may find it helpful, as it is for me, to take some time for a quiet walk – confide in Jesus and allow your true thoughts and feelings to be expressed. or you may find journaling it all out also some spiritual whitespace – allowing God to speak to you as you write.

  • http://www.buildinglifeslibrary.wordpress.com Amy M

    This is such a refreshing read! I think sometimes I feel as though I am supposed to be maturing and growing in Christ and if I’m not careful, my own human nature turns that into a self-driven perfectionism which can burn one out rather than seeing the journey God has me in.

    • http://www.faithbarista.com/ Bonnie Gray

      thnx for sharing your thoughts, amy… relax into the refreshing whispers God’s placed on your heart. even if we burn out, God is there to care for us and whisper His loving reassurances… i think growing and maturing is really just the journey of finding God’s heart is our home, as we are. #kindreds

  • http://ChasingHoliness.com/ Brenda

    Lovely, Bonnie. Thanks for sharing. :)

    • http://www.faithbarista.com/ Bonnie Gray

      thnx for sharing a whitespae soul moment, brenda!

  • http://www.whataredaysfor.blogspot.co.uk/ Emma

    Thank you Bonnie, reading this tears welled – only now do I recognise what I am struggling with currently is perfectionism – again.

    • http://www.faithbarista.com/ Bonnie Gray

      emma, how beautiful to hear God’s hand has touched your soul this morning… tears are the touch of God’s hand on your heart. we are all on this same journey.. #kindreds #youarebeloved

  • Camille

    Thank you Bonnie! You have a real calling to writing.. I have your book too :)
    Camille

    • http://www.faithbarista.com/ Bonnie Gray

      sweet camille… your words give my heart courage and comfort. thnk you.. #kindreds

  • http://www.faithbarista.com/ Bonnie Gray

    oh, good. it’s not just me. :) blessings to you this Monday, cathy… #kindreds

  • Beth@He Knows

    I can SOOOOOO idenitfy with the perfectionism. As a matter of fact, I’m CDO (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in alphabetical order). Yet, I live in a “total disaster, tornado-struck area” I call home. I freeze when I try to clean, because I’m overwhelmed. EVERYTHING just HAS to be put in the appropriate place, but I’ve got to make a mess to clean the mess. As a result, I just shift over and over again.
    I’m trying desperately to take a chunk at a time, but I still feel like I’m getting nowhere. I ask for prayers to help me as a struggle through just normal every-day life.

    • http://www.faithbarista.com/ Bonnie Gray

      hi beth, i’m so sorry to hear you’re facing such overwhelming situation. know that God understands all your anxieties and you’re held in His arms. i hope you can find a friend to confide in. it helps so much to know you’re not alone. when the world around is crumbling around us, sometimes, we need that voice of a friend to let us know we’re heard. may God’s hand of love comfort and strengthen you!

      • Beth@He Knows

        Bonnie, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I appreciate your response, let alone the post. Ever since I subscribed to the daily e-mail of (in)courage, I’ve felt that I actually belong to a group. I’ve always been the “outsider,” and now I’m a part of something bigger than me!

        • http://www.faithbarista.com/ Bonnie Gray

          you are part of something bigger… God’s group of beloved. you. are. beloved. {i hope to meet with you between the pages… i wrote a memoir-driven book about my journey through anxiety and worry and how God transformed my heart. it’s called “Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest”. i think you’ll find it refreshing for your soul! :)

  • Ybanez Cajolo Rechille

    Good Evening Brother’s and sister’s.. I would like to say thank you very much Bonnie for sharing this message and real experience in lives. It’s very touching and realable for me. I’ve got totally challenge and more knowledge how to let go and how to let God my heart desire when I read this my heart beat ao fast vecause all you’ve discuss here is very related on me. I’m a chriatian young people and through this reading I’ve felt more closer to our God to lean on Him everything that I want to let go and to hold gor the better relationship on him..
    Psalm 27:14
    “When I wait your strengthen my heart.”.

  • http://freedtofly.me Trudy Den Hoed

    “God’s love is not a test of our faith, but a journey to experience His faithfulness to us. This journey requires we let go of the lies we believe and relax into God’s love and let His voice be the one voice we follow today.” I love this entire post, Bonnie, but this especially grabs my attention. I so need to let go of the lies and relax into God’s love. To allow myself to lean into Jesus as His beloved. How wonderful it is that God’s love never grows tired or weary, even when our hearts faint. Thank you, Bonnie, for this encouraging post. May Jesus hold you close to His heart of love!

  • Nancy Ruegg

    #2 on your list made me smile! At my age (mid-sixties) it can feel as though my usefulness is limited. But you are right, Bonnie. It is never too late. I loved the verse you chose to make your point: John 2:10. Just as the wedding guest commended the host for saving the best wine till last, perhaps God is saving our best contributions for our latter years, including a worthy legacy for family and friends. Such contributions require time to develop, just like good wine. Thank you, Bonnie, for that sip of encouragement!

  • Maggie

    Bonnie I am usually a lurker but I just have to thank you for these words of truth. They allow me to take a deep breath. I am saving them to read and re-read until I have them stored safely inside. Thank you.

  • Rachel

    Thank you for speaking truth that I needed to hear!! This reminded me of a song we sang in church on Sunday:
    “Come, ye weary, heavy-laden,Lost and ruined by the fall;
    If you tarry till you’re better,
    You will never come at all.”
    Good reminder that God takes us as we are, and we don’t have to wait until we’re “healed.”

  • http://martysmoosetracks.blogspot.com/ Marty

    This post is awesome. I’m gonna print it out and read it often. Thank you so much for sharing your insights. When we share what we’re going thru, and what God is teaching us…we help each other, right? :)

  • Beth Williams

    Bonnie,
    Oh how I’ve heard Lie #1: I’m not good enough and Lie #5: People will hurt me. I actually believed #1 and lived #2 for more than one year now. Dealing with family issues took a toll on me and my job-I resigned June 30. I am taking time now for much needed spiritual whitespace. It has calmed my spirit and helped me to reflect on life and what’s really important. Praising God for a great hubby and friends who come along side and pray for me.
    Thanks so much for sharing this much needed post!

  • Roxanne

    So incredible. My heart is filled with warmth, and my hands ache from the power of the Holy Spirit after reading this. These are perfect reminders for all of us who criticize ourselves too much. Thank you!

  • Deidre

    My goodness, this is exactly what I need for this time in my life…..this article…..I must print out read daily as a reminder in my daily hustle to trust God. I didn’t know I was dealing with perfectionism. But now I do. Thank you so much for shari ng!