Becoming His

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Thru the Word 2013

So, it's confession time.

Less than a month into the Bible in a year challenge, your fearless (and sometimes clueless!) leader has fallen behind in her reading schedule. Now, this isn't a big surprise. It's one of the reasons I hesitated launching the idea when it first came to me. I'm not known for disciplined perfection – especially when it comes to long-term commitments.

I suspect that many of you struggle in the same area. I call us “frustrated perfectionists.” We know what we want to be, what we ought to do. We see the goal and we're pressing toward it, but like the talking dog on the classic animated film UP, we are easily distracted ... "I love You, Master,” we tell Jesus, bouncing excitedly as we sit at His feet. “You and me, Lord. I will follow -- SQUIRREL!!!"

As I mentioned before, when I found myself four days behind on the reading schedule, I wasn’t terribly surprised. Life has been crazy with the upcoming video shoot and all its details. But what did surprise me was the lack of condemnation I felt.

In the past, I would have spent at least several days beating myself up, feeling frustrated and ready to give up. But instead of expending all that useless emotional energy, I just picked up my Bible and began to read without a twinge of guilt or self-loathing. Quite a victory for me. Miraculous, even. Not to mention, freeing.

Because here’s the reality – guilt is a lousy motivator. I’ve spent much of my life trying to guilt myself into godliness and it just doesn’t work. I end up fixating on my inadequacy rather than on the goodness of God. Trying to figure out why I’m such a flakey, fickle mess rather than looking to the only One who can save me. For only grace has the power to change you and me.

If you’ve found yourself falling behind in your reading schedule, rest assured, you’re not alone. And I have some important advice. “Don’t give up. Catch up.”

That’s why we’ve placed “reflection” days throughout the month as well as several at the end.  If you feel like you are too far behind, just start where you can and use next month’s reflection days to go back and whittle away at the missed portions.

For those just STARTING “Thru the Bible in 2013” – I’d suggest printing off the regular January to December format so that we all read and respond to the same portion. You can circle back around next January and finish up what you’ve missed.

Here’s the bottom line: I’ve stopped expecting to be perfect. Instead, I’m aiming for consistency. And consistency isn’t a long, seamless perfection – it is simply the refusal to give up trying!

Perhaps you have some helpful tips for those of us who are frustrated perfectionists….please share! I love, love, love hearing from you both here at the blog and on Facebook.

 

 

 

  

 

9 comments:

Vicki said...

Freedom! Thank you Joanna! I too am a frustrated (and distracted) perfectionist! Love that. :)

InnerstL said...

I agree & was 3 days behind but i stayed up Monday night until 11 catching up & spending time with the Lord! I was tired but was excited by how the Lord energized me the next day at work! I also really like have these reflection time as it helps me stay consistent on this journey i started!

Joanna Weaver said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joanna Weaver said...

Thanks so much for posting you guys! Love hearing what the Lord is doing in you. I felt the same way after catching up. In fact, it really helped me discover some repeated elements that I might have missed had I been on schedule! Love how God redeems even my procrastinator tendencies - what a kind and wonderful Father!


Joanna said...

Thank you for posting this! I, too, am a recovering perfectionist and human 'doing,' who is learning to live out the meaning of my (and your) name - God is gracious. Congrats on being gracious with yourself and focusing on perseverance instead of perfection. Blessings to you! -Joanna

angiewebb said...

I get caught up into trying to be perfect and staying on track, when all it accomplishes is to frustrate me. I will try to give myself more freedom and catch up instead of giving up. Thanks

Joanna Weaver said...

Good for you, Angie! I know the Lord is going to help you do what you need to do - as you lean on Him!

Bonnie P said...

It just makes me love you more Joanna! My mom says "Consistency breeds maturity" & its so helpful to know someone I admire struggles with some of the same issues as I. Its easy to share our victories, but difficult to share the challenges. Sharing the challenges are more likely to connect us. Thanks for being vulnerable my friend. Its very inspiring.

Jacqui's Quilts said...

Just the post I needed to read today :-). I'm not doing the Bible reading through the year. I am actually doing an audio through the Bible, listening while sewing :-). I'm slogging through Chronicles now and it's amazing the things you pick up while listening to it! I stumbled across your blog today because we are studying your book about having a Mary heart in a Martha world at our morning Ladies bible study. It's been a REAL blessing to us!! And, we all struggle with this perfectionist problem and the guild especially! Thanks so much! We go forward looking to Jesus...keep reminding us wayward children :-). Jacqui in Canada