For the weary perfectionist, “How to love, simply speaking”

Categorized as Rhonda's Posts

The stockings were hung by the bookcase with care, and by the light of the tree, there it came…

The world’s best coffee steaming in my favorite mug, I’m curled up in a blanket of down. In this best-loved winter place in lamp’s soft, warm light, I open it up. God’s heart tucked within a leather cover, scrolling over pages, black atop white, line upon line. And He speaks.

Let me preface this by saying that for years–in fact, all of my life, I had struggled with perfectionism. Believing the lie that perfection was what it took, that being perfect was what God required had caused decades of torment, of pain.

“It’s all up to me.” That’s what I thought. If not consciously, then certainly in my inner being, and that’s how I “rolled,” so to speak. Self-effort. Self-management. Self-reform. Self-control. Self, self, self, self, self.

For the longest time, I took upon my *self* the burden of being my own judge. The mirror that I used was horrific and flawed, for one large component was my feelings. And feelings, you may know, can be terrible policemen.

Now, though, I was coming out the other side of that nightmare, knowing, at last, the Father’s love. (And His love, dear soul, brings healing. This, I know.)

Anyway. One of the questions I wrestled with constantly was with how I was or wasn’t loving other people. If I couldn’t somehow “feel good” about them, I was sure that I wasn’t truly loving them. Which always triggered guilt, condemnation, shame, and greater and greater SELF-effort. And that, of course, was exhausting.

It was in the midst of my journey to whole-ness that God began to show me that life in Christ was meant to be simple. It was time spent meditating on Paul’s words to the Corinthians that began to unlock this truth. “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

Simplicity in Christ. That’s what he said, and I started to see that life as one of Papa’s children, as Christ’s little sister and the Holy Spirit’s charge was meant to be simple. Not easy, perhaps, but very simple.

And now to this morning, and the Light by the tree.

“This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out His commands.” 

And like that, I see Truth. See simplicity. What I see is possibility. That loving even the difficult is possible.

What strikes me next like a thunderbolt booming…is what I don’t see. There’s no mention (what? how?) of the other person. No mention (huh? really?) of my feelings. In black and white, in Words inspired, two criteria. “Love God. Do what He says.”

In these sweet summer-turning-to-fall-turning-to-winter months, the person of Papa, Father God, has been so real, so present. Hours of every day, moment flowing into moment weaving minutes, days, weeks, He is here.

He is here, He is mine, and I am His.

As my mind centers on Him, peace passes understanding, and joy? Well, it flows like a river. In lamp’s quiet light, I think of simple, whispered nudges I’ve felt from His Spirit. Then, saying the “yes,” I’ve obeyed. In spite of my feelings.

It seems gloriously impossible to this once-hard-working girl, that loving others can truly be simple. That I can hit the “mute” button on my feelings (that’s what He said). That when it’s not possible to “feel good,” I can still love like Him.

By loving Him first, then obeying.

My hope in writing this today is to help you who are struggling like me. Like I did. You can quit judging your *self.* He’s well able and willing. You can stop focusing on those hard to love. Yes, you can.

You focus on Him (oh, you will fall in love), and then you simply do what He tells you.

Simply speaking,


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