Being Confident of This

Grace for the work-in-progress woman

Through My Grace-colored Glasses

on July 18, 2013

perfectionism, grace, through my grace-colored glasses, work in progress

Last night I had a little run-in with Perfectionism again.  He just won’t leave me alone.

He follows me wherever I go, pointing out flaws in my house-keeping, my parenting, my marriage relationship, even my walk with the Lord.  Some days I can ignore him and others I can’t escape. And I know it’s Perfectionism and not the Holy Spirit because of his voice.  He whispers lies to me: “you’ll never change” or “you’re never going to be good enough” or “why even bother anymore.”

I’ve been enslaved by his words before, but last night was different.

You see, my husband and I were up much too late because we were arguing about a financial issue.  I felt angry and disappointed and fearful.  The familiar panic of how can I possibly do right in this situation and still get my point across welled up within me, and I knew a battle was swiftly approaching.

I know some of you are chuckling right now, and rightfully so!  It’s the quandary every woman who ever lived on the face of Earth deals with.  To obey the Lord and demonstrate respect for my husband or to take control and make my voice heard?  God’s way or my way?

I have to confess to you, my sisters in Christ, that this right here is why I’ve blogged very little about marriage thus far. I know the way I relate to my husband is so, so far from where it should be, from where I long for it to be.

When it comes to submitting to and respecting my husband, I so often feel like Paul in Romans 7. I know what I want to do, what I should do, yet I feel powerless to actually do it.  I’ve believed so many lies for so long.  But the Lord is faithful, and I know He promises to carry that work in me, in my marriage, until completion in the day of Christ (Phil. 1:6).  I’m so thankful for this Hope, this Promise, and for a husband who is patient. 🙂  So, I’m sharing with you anyways, in spite of my weakness, my inadequacy…but, I digress.

confidentingrace verse

Later, after our apologies were spoken and we both felt at peace, we finally turned out the lights in hopes for at least a few hours of sleep.  And that’s when it happened.  In the stillness of the dark, my husband’s voice broke through Perfectionism’s insidious whispers and stated, “Thank you for being so calm and patient with me tonight.”

Stunned, my disbelieving heart rejected his kind words and earlier tears returned. “But I wasn’t patient!” I cried. “I was so angry and so disappointed and I struggled, I really struggled, not to say mean things.”

My husband’s reply was quiet, yet firm, “Babe, even though you were angry, you were patient with me. You didn’t bite my head off. You maintained control. You gave me space and that helped me.”

At that moment, the truth of his words broke through Perfectionism’s grasp.  No, I didn’t handle the situation as well as I would have liked; I wasn’t perfect.  Yes, there was definitely room for improvement.  But his words rang true.

What normally would have developed into a full-fledged, hours-long (if not days!) fight was briefly resolved.  By the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, I saw that we were definitely making progress.

That’s when I saw Perfectionism for what he was – one part self, one part Satan.  Self was prideful, Satan was deceitful, and the combination of the two brought me chains of defeat I no longer wish to carry.

In Perfectionism’s chains, I so often measure in black and white, success or failure, either/or.  Praise the Lord that my Redeemer is teaching me to put on my Grace-colored glasses and see the shades of gray, to celebrate even the smallest steps of progress, to proclaim every small victory because of His work in me.

I hope I never forget that moment.  My husband spoke freeing words to me last night, and the Holy Spirit confirmed them within me.

Jen, you are the good that you so desperately want to be, not because your efforts are so grand and your reach so high, but because you are walking a path of progress, trusting in the Promise of redemption.  I never asked you to be perfect, just willing. At the same time, daughter, you are perfect, not in yourself, but in my Son because He already carried these burdens with Him and nailed them to the cross.  They were buried with Him.  But you daughter, you rose with Him in perfection, a new creation, beautiful to behold, born of His glory.  And now, Jen, you live in Romans 8 as more than a conqueror, confident in the promise that you will never be separated from His love!

new creature

I don’t think I’ll ever ceased to be overwhelmed by these truths, these promises.  In the midst of  my sorrow and my shame, my Savior showed up. He handed me a pair of Grace-colored glasses.

Perfectionism, you’re no longer welcome here.

Jen 🙂

When you feel perfectionism’s hold on you, what promises do you cling to?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

You may find me linking up with any of these lovely blogs.

Also sharing with:


50 responses to “Through My Grace-colored Glasses

  1. renlvsclay says:

    This post is just perfect. I loved it!

  2. I never asked you to be perfect, just willing…love that Jen!

  3. Wow! ❤ A much needed reminder… as always. 🙂

  4. Renee says:

    Love that! Perfectionism, one part self, one part Satan. Oh, so true. never goes anywhere good. Thanks.

  5. Jen, Love your post today. Don’t we all chase the unattainable “perfect” that we have in our mind. God Bless your husband for his words. Linking with Womanhood with Purpose today. Kim

  6. Aprille says:

    Phenomenal post and a beautiful story. I shared it on all of my social media sites!

  7. Krystle says:

    2 Corinthians 12:9 comes to mind-“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” This was such an encouraging post as I am a type-A perfectionist and have to daily surrender to God-sometimes multiple times during the day.

    Pinned it! Thanks for sharing this with us at One Sharendipity Place this weekend!!

    Krys and

    • Yes, Krystle, that verse is often brought to mind when I’m facing down perfectionism. I’m so glad you found encouragement here today. Thanks for pinning! 🙂
      Jen 🙂

  8. Thanks so much for your honesty. 🙂 We are all on a journey and sometimes we end up downright muddy in the process. I’m glad you are learning to have a little more grace with yourself, and that you have a husband who is gracious as well. You are certainly not alone in your endeavors to be a better wife, it is a lifelong endeavor and Perfectionism has no place in it! 😉

    • Yes, perfectionism has no place in it! All it does is paralyze and defeat us. 🙂 Isn’t it funny that we sometimes have to learn to extend grace to ourselves? I’m so thankful for His promise to carry that work until completion. Thanks for stopping by!
      Jen 🙂

  9. Simone says:

    Such a beautiful post. Loved and really needed to read this. Thank you!

  10. I’ve learned so much through the sharing of my failures in marriage, Jen. It’s as if God uses this tool we call a blog to refine us into the wives and women He wants us to be. And may I say, this was beautiful! I’m so glad you shared it, my friend. We can all relate and those that say they can’t aren’t being honest. Lysa TerKuerst calls this kind of progress “imperfect progress.” I think it’s the best kind really. Don’t ever be ashamed of not doing it perfectly. Leave the perfection up to God. 🙂 Thanks for linking this incredible post up at Wedded Wed. I’m not sure if this is your first time, but I want to welcome you if it is!

    • It is my first time, so thank you for the kind welcome! 🙂 I am definitely learning to see imperfect progress as a valid victory. Thank you for stopping by and encouraging me!
      Jen 🙂

  11. Jenifer says:

    Thank you for your transparency in sharing! God honors our patience and offering of grace.

    Thanks for linking up with Woman to Woman!


  12. richellaparham says:

    I just LOVE this post. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. When we submit ourselves and obey God, He really does change our hearts! 🙂

  13. Courtney says:

    I can definitely relate to this – I just shared a post this morning about my own struggles with perfectionism growing up. I didn’t receive my own pair of grace-colored glasses ’til this past year, and it has been such an awakening for me! I love your analogy! You are a beautiful writer.

    • Courtney, thank you for stopping by and sharing some of your story. It’s good to know I’m not the only one out there still struggling with nasty perfectionism. I’ll stop by and see what you had to say about it, too. I really appreciate your encouragement!
      Jen 🙂

  14. Kelly says:

    This was my favorite part: “I saw Perfectionism for what he was – one part self, one part Satan. Self was prideful, Satan was deceitful, and the combination of the two brought me chains of defeat I no longer wish to carry.” So wise and true! Thank you for sharing! Marriage is so much of iron sharpening iron. We all need to be reminded to keep those grace colored glasses ON!

  15. I love your grace-colored glasses. I want a pair myself! Blessings to you and yours!

    • I’m rather enjoying these new glasses, too. Although, sometimes I forget to put them on. They only work if you wear them, you know. 😉 Thanks for visiting!
      Jen 🙂

  16. Karmen M says:

    Grace colored glasses, I love it. I need me a pair of these too.

  17. O.k. so now I am speechless. You are the 3rd one I have read so far on UNITE who wrote about how we seeing or spiritual blindness. God is setting a theme, for sure! Thank you for listening to Him! I love what you said about looking at all through glasses of grace. Oh, how I long to have those eyes! Blessings and thanks for UNITING! ~ Jen

    • Jen, first of all, I love your name. 😉 Second, I love that God is giving you the same message again and again. He’s so good to us like that, giving multiple chances to learn. I know I certainly need those! Thanks for stopping by!
      Another Jen 🙂

  18. […] too.  Because every time He asks me to write, whether about the ugly or the beautiful, He shows me more of Himself, more of myself, and more of who I am becoming in Him.  He teaches me that the best things come when I have nothing to give because then I am an empty […]

  19. […] learning little by little to tune out the world, the Enemy, and even her own perfectionist thoughts and focus instead on the Maker who continually makes her […]

  20. […] Grateful for 15 years wedded to a man who continues to seek the Lord and love me even when life gets a little crazy. […]

  21. Kathy Schwanke says:

    Love this! Grace colored glasses. And how the Lord moved in your life and built you up. He calls the things that are not as though they are…speaks to the dry bones, “LIVE!!” OH how I love our Redeemer!!!

    Thanks for sharing this tender story!

  22. Lots of truth here. I, too, am a recovering perfectionist! Still learning and recovering, but better than I was 20 years ago. I may have it mastered if Jesus leaves me here until I am 90! LOL!

    • Haha, I’m not even sure that would help me. 🙂 It’s one of the things I look forward to most about heaven – perfection, no more sinful nature to constantly contend with. Perfect peace!
      Jen 🙂

  23. Ruthie says:

    So honest and wonderful 🙂 I am going to share it with someone I know who is dealing with similar issues 🙂 Thank you for sharing this with such wonderful, powerful, humble and grace-filled words 🙂 May God bless you and your marriage 🙂

  24. Rebeca Jones says:

    “I never asked you to be perfect, just willing.” I love this! Beautiful post, Jen. Blessings to you!

  25. Deb says:

    My heart echoes yours. When I hear those lies, ugly, I cling to the truth:
    “Is that a joyous choir I hear? No, it is the Lord Himself, exalting over you in happy song. ” Zephaniah 3:17 TLB
    It is a happy song He sings, no matter what. No. Matter. What.

  26. […] am God’s work in progress. As such, I aim not for perfection but for imperfect progress (growth and transformation), only by the power of Christ in me. In the meantime, I trust His […]

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