Allie Shirley is a twenty-three-year-old, Jesus-loving entrepreneur, chasing after the dream Jesus has now brought to a reality. Marque Modest Apparel is a company set out to proclaim the name of Jesus, to rebrand modesty, and to inspire others to dream again. Aside from being a business owner, Allie is a mom to a Miniature Schnauzer named Emmie, has a passion for adoption, and is obsessed with sweet tea. To check out more from Allie, visit Marque Modest Blog. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram for updates on her latest posts.
A note from Allie: I pray that something shared in this blog post will encourage you, inspire you, and bring you a little freedom as you continue to walk with our precious Savior.
Take the Pressure Off
As women we put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect, to have things all together all the time when in reality those are unrealistic expectations for anyone. Yet we put those standards on ourselves daily and it leaves us feeling like we aren’t good enough or even depressed.
I know these feelings all too well because as much as I don’t like to admit it, I’m a perfectionist and an over-thinker. I get upset if my hair and makeup don’t look flawless, I obsess over my company being perfect, and I even try to put on a really good front before God that I have everything all together. Instead of coming before Him with my brokenness, I try to stand before Him like some supernatural human that can handle herself.
I don’t know what battle you are facing, whether it be comparison, materialism, perfectionism, or a slew of other things, but I do know we can take the pressure off. Jesus never meant for it to be there in the first place. He wants us to come as we are, to give ourselves grace for today and to live our lives in a way that is honoring to Him.
The day He went to the Cross He bought us our freedom from any insecurity, any shame, and any self-doubt. We can be confident in knowing that even when things are messy and even when our lives are broken that He is holding it all together. He is making our crooked path straight.
I could go on for days about what we deal with on a daily basis as women, but instead I would rather encourage you with truth. His Word is the only thing that can set you free from whatever is entangling you; I can only encourage you to seek that freedom.
Here are some of my favorite Scriptures that I pray encourage you to take a step toward finding freedom in him.
Come As You Are:
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Anxiety Be Gone:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the PEACE of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Freedom in Jesus:
“It is for FREEDOM that Christ has set us free. STAND FIRM, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
“I will walk about in FREEDOM, for I have sought out your precepts.”
Peace that Passes Understanding:
“You will keep in PERFECT PEACE those whose minds are steadfast, because they TRUST in You.”
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
If you truly want to take the pressure off and be set free from whatever you are bound by, the Word of God is where you will find that freedom.
Praying that each of you will find your identity, security, self-worth, value, and ultimately your freedom in Jesus alone. The world can’t give you what Jesus can. Run to Him; His arms are wide open.
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A note from Jessie: this week, I am part of a guest blog loop with the Bloggish community. Allie is a part of the Bloggish community with her blog at Marque Modest Apparel, where you can read more of her posts and check out her clothing line. To read a guest post written by me, check out To Raise an Ebenezer. Continue to follow the links to read more posts and find bloggers you love! Happy reading!
“You’re not a failure,” he reassures me.
“I know I’m not a failure, but I feel like I’m failing.”
There’s a difference, you know.
I know deep down that there’s a reason I’m here. And it’s not to have a simple career with a simple marriage and a simple life. My purpose is more complex than that (with a sprinkle of passion, too).
But what do you do when you feel like you’re so far from reaching that purpose? When it feels like you’re constantly wandering away from what you thought you cared about, when it seems like everyone has something to say about where your life should go?
The truth is I struggle with feeling good enough for anyone and everything. I want to please them all, I do.
Get the help you need, she says. You don’t need that kind of help, another tells me.
Let him be there for you, I’m told. You’re asking for too much, I hear again.
Focus on what’s right in front of you, they say. Don’t wait to chase down that dream, the others say.
All I can think is, I’m letting them down. I’m letting myself down. I’m letting God down.
I know I’m not a failure because I keep showing up to this thing called life. I know I’m not a failure because I keep putting one foot forward. But I feel like I’m failing, or maybe I’m just constantly falling — constantly falling in and out of love of different ideas thrown at me on how my life should look and what I should try to be.
While people are telling me to do this or that, what I’m hearing is, you have to be perfect. Or at least better than this.
And that word — ‘perfect’ — has been haunting me for many years of my life.
I have often looked to the one who loves me and surely must know me best, and I have said, I don’t feel good enough. But none of his reassurances have really done it for me. They don’t settle the chaos in my gut. They don’t stop me from searching and fumbling and hurtling and screaming. If anything, they just give me ideas in my head of how much better he is for me than I am for him.
So I’ve been learning, slowly but surely, that I have to stop always looking to that one. He’s ‘my everything’, but he’s not my everything. He holds much of my heart, but he’s not the one who can mend it.
Yes, yes, I need Jesus.
Because even though I come to the Cross with a trail of mistakes, all Jesus sees is me. And the way he sees me is unlike what other people see in me.
The world praises me for my performance and gifts and the good things I’m working towards. Meanwhile, he rejoices in me simply because I am his.
And if that doesn’t sound like the most beautiful of romances to you, let me break it down for you.
I am in Christ, and therefore I am no longer just myself. I am a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). This new creation isn’t an improved version of myself; it’s a version of myself that is unlike myself. It’s like Jesus (Galatians 2:20).
If the idea of no longer being ‘yourself’ and all of a sudden being like Jesus doesn’t sound too pleasant, let’s take a look at who Jesus is.
Jesus is victorious. The conqueror of death. Blameless. Holy. Pure. Perfect life. Perfect love. Perfect.
Why yes, I would love to be more like Jesus. Because have you met me apart from Jesus?
I myself am a hundred thousand miles from being perfect, but in Jesus’ eyes, I am all I need to be because I am his. I am perfectly his. I am perfect in Christ.
All those things he is — victorious, conqueror of death, blameless, holy, pure — I now have resting in me. He let me in on the mystery of the gospel. And the mystery is this — Jesus came to save the lost and restore the broken. Now that I know, I can’t un-know. Now that I am brought into his kingdom and have been chosen to be his holy and blameless daughter (Ephesians 1:4), I can’t not be that woman.
This is the truth I hold onto when I start to hear those taunting words, you’re not good enough.
They’re right, you know.
I’m not good enough. I’m actually even better than that.
I know that these things I’m saying aren’t particularly profound. They’s actually just foundational truths of Christianity. If you don’t think they are, then maybe you’ve been too picky with your Scripture.
The reason why I’m even sharing these things is because I know that you question if you’re good enough.
And I want to be the voice — no, I want Jesus himself — to tell you, yes, you are.
And for once in your life, I want you to believe it.
Yes, you might feel like you’re failing and falling and every ugly thing in between. But look at WHOSE you are, not just who you are. You might feel overwhelmed and trapped by these varying ideas of how to find that perfect life and be that perfect person, but you can be freed by the knowledge that you are perfect in every way in the heavenly realm already.
It’s a process and a pretty long one at that. I think it’s called sanctification, which I kind of see as a constant, never-ending journey to the dumpster. We always have more to dump. There’s always something to rid ourselves of (and we usually have to rid ourselves of the same things over and over again).
For today, let’s start by dumping these lies that we have to live up to everyone’s expectations and be this perfect person for people just as messy and lost.
If you need help dumping those lies, it might help to imagine you shoving them into Jesus’ scarred hands and screaming, TAKE THIS BECAUSE ONLY YOU CAN. It sounds a little forceful, but I think those lies could use a good shove.
And when you start to make some progress in this whole dumping thing (because I trust that you’re not just going to read this, close your browser, and walk away), take some time to remind yourself that it’s not you making this progress. It’s the Holy Spirit in you. It’s the work that’s already been done on the Cross, the victory that’s already been secured for us.
Don’t dump the pressure to be perfect and then make yourself feel better by thinking that you’re closer to being perfect.
You’re not closer to being perfect, at least not here on earth. You’re closer to being free and you’re closer to looking like Jesus, which are two things infinitely better than getting everyone’s approval (including the approval of your own perfection-seeking self).
And when all of this is said and done, live out the rest of your day and prepare for another fight. It’s okay that there will be another fight because you are a fighter. I know you’re a fighter and not a failure because you keep showing up to this thing called life, as do I.
We need to keep doing this. It might get easier. It might not. But THIS is our purpose, the reason for why we’re here. We are here to live as Jesus calls us to live — free. Free to love. Free to dream. Free to fight. Free to hope. Free to live a godly life. Free to seek the Lord.
We were never meant to be enslaved to approval-seeking. We were always meant to be his.
Love is something we all long for and crave, whether it’s from our friends, from family, from our significant others, or from God. No one wants to feel like they’re not valued or loved or cherished, especially if they make the effort to love and care for others.
An obstacle to love that I’ve observed in my life and also in the lives of those around me is all-too-consuming perfectionism that can go unnoticed and usually goes unchecked.
Perfectionism is defined as the “refusal to accept any standard short of perfection”, and unfortunately, this is a factor in many relationships. Instead of allowing their loved ones to mess up and make mistakes, many expect perfection and a completion of all their “requirements” to gain their love and affection.
I am also guilty of allowing perfectionism to affect my relationships. What I have found is that a lot of my perfectionism stems from insecurity and fear of not being loved as deeply as I desire. When someone I love makes a mistake or does something that disappoints or upsets me, I take it to the extreme- not because I think they’re awful human beings, but because I’m afraid that it means they don’t love me or won’t always treat me right. I turn one mistake into an entire war.
This perfectionism occurs in a cycle. I not only expect perfection from the people I love, but I also expect perfection from myself for the people I love. I’m afraid that I’m not good enough for their love, and then when it seems true, I turn it on them by saying they’re not good enough for MY love. Only bitterness and anger ensues.
The truth we need to grasp and firmly believe is this: We do not need to earn people’s love and we have no right to expect others to earn ours.
What I believe and want to suggest to you is that in order to break the chains and cycle of perfectionism, we need to first find the source of our perfectionism that is affecting us (i.e. insecurity, fear, bitterness) and then run to Jesus with what we find so he can give us the love and power to break the perfectionism we affect others with.
Because Jesus is perfect, all that He does is perfect. That includes perfect love. He is the quintessence of the love that we all crave and desire. Oftentimes, the problem is that we either don’t believe this or we don’t put much stock into this because we’d rather have earthly, imperfect, prone-to-fail love. It doesn’t make much sense when it’s spelled out like that, but when it comes to love, many things don’t. Why do we look to people to fulfill and satisfy us when only Jesus can? Jesus never asks us to earn His love; in fact, His love has already been freely given to us. Nothing we could ever say or do could change that.
God is love… There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:15,18-19)
Once we let Jesus transform us from perfectionist beings to accepting-of-imperfection-ist beings, we then will be able to love people freely. This transformation only takes place when we grow in faith of His unfailing, perfect love for us.
Furthermore, when we love people freely, we then free them from expecting perfection from themselves, which helps discontinue the cycle that is occurring in many lives all around us. But the process starts with ourselves.
I warn you, the process is long and there will be many days, even months or years, where it’ll feel like nothing’s changing. One argument or fight or bad day can convince you that you’ll never change. My friends, this is a lie from satan. No chains are too strong for Christ. He can break every single one of them, and to think that one bad day or a string of bad days can change that is to doubt the power and freeing love of Christ.
We need to run to Jesus with our burdens and then let Him do the work in us. It will overflow into our relationships with others once we do. It will take time and patience, humility and self-searching, but it is all too worth it.
I hope this is of value to some of my readers. I certainly hope my experience and ability to relate encourages those who are suffering from relational perfectionism in some way, shape, or form. Perfectionism, whether diagnosed or just an undiagnosed observed part of your life, is able to be defeated and we can choose to end this cycle- not by our power alone, but through the power of Jesus Christ in us.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)