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Accepting Your Imperfect Life – Amy Carroll

Accepting Your Imperfect Life – Amy Carroll


Berry’s greatest gift to me over the
years is that he has just let me be that he has had no expectations that he has
supported me and encouraged me when I realized that it became my life’s goal
as a wife to give that gift back welcome to the focus on the family
broadcast helping families thrive John relationships are complicated have
you noticed I have okay they can be very complex but the most complicated
relationships are the ones we have maybe with ourselves have you ever thought of
it that way I mean think about that you have thoughts and ideas and
conversations in your head you’re one side of you is trying to convince the
other side to do the right thing right I mean those things happen today we want
to remind you that you are enough I mean that’s it’s hard to embrace that but you
are enough and that you are unconditionally accepted and loved by
God and today we’re gonna hear from an author
Amy Carol who has described this in a wonderful book called breaking up with
perfect Amy welcome to focus on the family thank you so much I’m delighted
I’m looking forward to it I love your energy and your title I want to make
sure people are grabbing what you’re trying to express breaking up with
perfect I think what you’re talking about is this this glamorous view of
perfect either externally or with ourselves which is
what I was mentioning in the opening there what do you mean by breaking up
with perfect just give me the definition well that’s such a great question
because I think our culture has gone swung to some really opposite extremes
so on one hand we have social media coming at us and and the things on our
screen that show perfect beauty perfect physique yes you know all kinds of
perfection coming at us all day every day and on the other hand there’s been
this swing in our culture where people are talking about embracing your
imperfections well I think Scripture reflects something different because it
does say Jesus says be perfect as I am perfect and be perfect as our Father is
perfect so what does that mean well the root word there actually means whole
mature or complete I love that so God is calling us to be perfect he’s calling us
to be whole miss who are incomplete what I’m talking about in breaking up with
perfect is this whole idea of perfection that we’ve developed in our own man like
you said to them this relationship with our self and our own thoughts of what we
think is supposed to be perfect you know I think again this goes right to the
bull’s eye of what you’re expressing in the book why do we feel we have to be
perfect and why particularly for women when it comes to their marriage and what
their expectations are about their marriage
why are they expecting more than what can be delivered and and to give us your
example of your marriage well obviously I think there are two things and women’s
lives that really amp up this perfectionism one is our marriage and
the other one is parenting and those were the two places were it just started
to explode in my life and I walked down the aisle with a train loaded down with
expectations and I call these things the pictures are perfect in my head I had an
idea of the way everything should work the way everything should look and one
of them revolved around making our bed now that seems really silly right but my
parents have an amazing marriage and one of the things that I loved about my
parents marriage is that they always went to bed together and then they
always got up together when their feet hit the floor they immediately stood
across the bed from each other and made the bed together to me somehow in my
mind that translated to what a perfect mirror harp music in the background my
mom read this in my book she was like are you serious
he never made it right but I had really internalized that Welby reason I’d oh
I’m a morning person we rarely go to bed at the same time we never get up at the
same time I made the bed by myself for over 15 years
this was just one of those low-level discontent places in my heart and in my
mind now if you would have asked me do you have a happy marriage I would have
said yes but until I started recognizing what kind of expectations that I had put
on bury in our marriage and when I started letting this expectations go
the happiness quotient in our marriage just multiplied it was amazing but when
you get to Barry’s understanding of your expectations on behalf of husband’s
worldwide did you ever actually say Barry this is what I expect that we get
up in the morning make our bed together did he ever I mean you got to tell us no it’s the first time he’s heard Barry
make the bed yeah how can that be where are we falling down as couples I
mean husbands we’re not always on the ball picking up the cues so what advice
do you have to that married woman that is expecting things from her husband
that she’s never actually expressed and that frustrates her that he doesn’t know
it exactly when I started recognizing my own expectations
I asked Barry one day because I realized how many I have brought into our
marriage and how it was affecting our marriage negatively so I asked Barry
so Barry what did you expect when we got married and seriously he had the most
puzzled expression say maybe one yeah he’s maybe two that you would love
me forever I mean it was seriously puzzled and so I realized and when I
reflected back that Barry’s greatest gift to me over the years is that he has
just let me be that he has had no expectations that he has supported me
and encouraged me when I realized that it became my life’s goal as a wife to
give that gift back to but here’s the question what did you behave like before
you realize that and then after I was really I was really critical and I think Wow but it’s true yeah that’s what
happens you’re critical for reasons you don’t even really understand there’s
just something not being met in your need bucket yes and you sometimes can’t
even describe it well because I had had women around me really modeling being a
good wife I didn’t always say it so he didn’t necessarily know how much
critique was going on in my head right but that’s what led to that low level
just contempt for me that was so damaging overall and when I was able to
recognize it and let it go it just really I would say our marriage on its
surface hasn’t changed much at all that we’ve continued to have a happy marriage
and look like we have a way to go very but it has changed everything for me let
me give you an example last year my husband was in a really hard place at
work and it was a hard time for him and for the very first time I realized I’m
feeling compassion for my husband now I’ve been married for a long time and
really it makes me tear up to even say that for the very first time I had this
great compassion for him so I started asking myself how come I haven’t felt
compassion for him before and I realized it was because I was always critiquing
him before mm-hmm-hmm well so and you know I’m the worst to
myself but man I’m gonna help everybody around me be perfect too that’s the way
I had always beautiful it’s so damaging to our relation so appreciate that
vulnerability one of the things that that we can observe in our relationships
especially in the marriage relationship is you get comfortable with your spouse
and with your kids and you treat them like you would treat yourself and it’s
always interesting to me that often in marriages you’ll make the observation
that you treat your friends a lot better than you’re treating me
yeah why is that and I think you’re hitting on it because I’m treating you
the way I treat myself and it’s not healthy very he’s very aware I’m much
harder on myself than I am on anyone else right you starts with you it does
start to transfer well and that drives me to the next area that I wanted to get
to in your book breaking up with perfect is this idea of perfectionism and I love
the topic because again I think so many people and I think particularly wives
women are struck with this this enabling of perfection describe perfection a
little more concisely for you and how it has manifests in your life let’s start
there okay well first of all I’ve had so many women who have read my book or
heard me speak who have said well I never considered myself a perfectionist
but what I would say to your listeners if you’re listening today and you walk
around feeling like you don’t measure up you are a perfectionist that’s that
seems pretty broad yes because it can well a lot of people say well I’m not a
perfectionist because I don’t have to have the perfect house or I’m not a
perfectionist because I’m a little bit fluffy maybe you’re like me and a little
fluffy and say you think I don’t have the perfect body like you know what’s on
the magazine covers or things but usually my friend Kathy lips says that
there are pocket perfectionism and so we have this place that is as important for
us that we have this unrealistic expectations so it doesn’t necessarily
mean that you’re a perfectionist in every area of your life the way that it
has manifested for me is in my relationships a friend of mine asked me
what’s the worst thing that perfectionism has done to you and I said
immediately without even having to think it has damaged my relationships I went
through a five-year period where four close friendships imploded now whenever
that happens there’s always two in the relationship well they were imperfect
friends obviously but when I thought I started thinking about all this hurt and
the damage behind me I realized that I was the common denominator that was a
real powerful and painful realization and
that’s when God started showing me my perfectionism and how it was damaging
relationships Amy you described two kind of belief systems with perfectionism and
that that’s where I want you to drive this next answer is your explanation
about good girl syndrome and never good enough girl syndrome because I think
that hits to the heart of many many women absolutely well see I think the
root of perfectionism actually begins someplace good which sounds strange but
I believe that because we’re made in the image of God that he has created us with
two big realizations first of all that he is perfect and he’s perfect in the
most beautiful ways he’s perfect love and perfect grace and perfect mercy and
and all of that is rolled into a ball that the Bible calls holiness and he is
perfect he is holy and then the second realization is we are not and so those
are both really important realizations to have to lead us to a place that we
understand that we need a Savior but the problem is is that most of us go
a little wonky at that point and what we do is we start to make lists about how
we can be perfect so the good girls the what those with the good girl list
that’s the list of all the things that I have to do to measure up to earn God’s
love and earn his accept what are examples on that list oh I mean I’ve had
all kinds of things it will for you Christian girls out there that I have to
do my quiet time at a certain time every single day for God to accept me and love
me that could be a trap just God want to spend time with us every day absolutely
is he gonna love me less because I don’t read my Bible at 7 o’clock every single
morning no he’s not so it can even go and for me it did I became a believer at
10 but I didn’t break up with perfect until I was in my 40s and so I lived in
this trap of feeling like I had to earn God’s love and acceptance my husband’s
loving acceptance my kids loving acceptance my friends loving acceptance
for decades yeah I want to ask you the you know
because I my heart goes out to the person who’s struggling with that the
woman who’s struggling with that and when I hear that it can be rather
intimidating and how do I get there I mean I measure myself by getting up and
doing my devotion at 7:00 and I go exactly thirty minutes because I know
God will be pleased with 30 minutes I mean I’m just playing this out in my
head but how do I believe that God is still tender toward me if I do ten
minutes or if I’m sloppy and I do it at 7:05 I it sounds a little bit real or
yeah man I’ve got three and five year olds and I
can’t get to it today yes how how do you move from that feeling of guilt to the
feeling of God still loves me no matter what and be comfortable with it I think
we have to let go of this idea of earning anything that we have to rest in
God’s life years ago as this process started for me I sat down with a friend
of mine named Ray and she’s been a hadn’t known her long at that point but
I was I had asked her if we could sit down I just feel like God had something
to say to me through her I didn’t know what it was and at that point I was
hiding all of this really really well and so she listened to me for a little
bit and she goes hey Amy um what I want to know is when that list of yours
doesn’t turn out the way you thought what’s gonna happen to your faith and I
immediately started crying out mind you I was part of the proverbs 31 speaker
team I was writing devotions I was teaching Sunday school I was doing all
the stuff and I could not feel God’s love for me at all anymore and it was
because all the stuff was part of my good-girl list and so she said I want
you to pray that God would break through that shell around their hearts and that
you would experience God’s love for you and so I came back to her several weeks
later and I said ray I’m listening to songs about God’s love I’m reading books
about God’s love I’m reading scriptures about God’s love I’m working so hard and
still can’t feel God’s love and she goes Amy did you just hear yourself you said
you’re working to feel God’s love she goes you can’t work to feel God’s love
you have to rest in God’s love and there’s a story in the book that is a
whole story about how God broke through that she’ll come on the months later God
took me to India and I was doing women’s conferences there and if you’ve if
you’ve never been to India just imagine the worst poverty that you’ve seen here
times 10 it’s a heartbreaking place to be and yet the church is so glorious
there so we were doing women’s conferences in these charts these
churches with both believers and women who were Hindus and Muslims and it was
just amazing well one of my friends Nanette who’s a really creative force
came up with this idea that she wanted to do a mock wedding and so we did these
mock weddings and what we did is we lined the women up they were the
bridesmaids until it was turn their turn to be the bride at the end of the aisle
and they were to walk down the aisle of their sisters and picture Jesus at the
end as their bridegroom the one who loves them the most well we have been
doing this for a while and it was really moving but there came a time when one of
the pastor’s wives went to this woman who was she looked probably about 90
years old she was teeny tiny woman curled up in this chair and she went she
said auntie it’s your turn and so this old shriveled woman went to the end of
the line and we took the veil that we had been using and put it on her head
and put the flowers in her hand and she started walking down the aisle picturing
Jesus at the end with tears streaming down her face well as she was doing this
the pastor’s wife leaned over to me and she said Amy that woman is dying and she
just met Jesus as Savior two weeks ago Wow and in that moment watching that
woman and knowing that she had spent her whole
if not doing one thing for Jesus because she didn’t know him and that she had
very little of life left to do anything for Jesus but she was completely loved
by him the shell around my heart broke off and I found myself on the floor
weeping and God broke through and I felt his love for me again you can’t earn it
that’s not the way no that’s what’s unique about Christian faith and I
couldn’t manufacture it right by trying to do all the stuff that I need to do
and was so pleasant about following Jesus is he wants us to do those things
that please him out of our love for him yes not out of a demand or a command or
robotic thing if you’re in that spot if you’re connecting right now man I hope
this is ministering to you because this is what we’re here for focus on the
family and having a great guest like Amy talk about that life experience and what
she’s gone through that’s the good girl syndrome Amy now you mentioned also the
never good enough girl so let’s touch on that is an example I mean she’s kind of
that example well it’s funny because when I wrote the book I thought that you
were either one or the other but my my childhood best friend Josie was part of
this whole process of writing the book and my watch and all that stuff in and
she said to me Amy I swing between the two and I realized I did too so the
never good enough list is the list of all the things that we’ve done that we
feel like we cannot earn God so the guiltless the guilt list the shameless
and sometimes what I’ve learned from talking to other women is we don’t even
earn that list that it’s handed to us the very people who are supposed to love
and nurture us are the people who tell us we’ll never be good enough
sometimes it’s culture that hands us to hands it to us that culture who says you
don’t have the right address or the right skin color or the right paycheck
and so that never good enough list can be generated a lot of different ways but
it’s both of the list the good girl list and the never good enough list they both
separate us from God because what we need is a Savior yeah
that’s so true Amy you have also a funny story in the
book about wanting to be that normal Christian family I love that title the
normal Christian family but what went wrong to have so many mentors in my life
and so I was really thrilled one day when one of the college girls at our
church came up to me and said Amy could I come over and spend time at your house
I need to see the normal Christian family now this brother and I showed up
at John and Dina’s house I wish but I said well I don’t promise the normal
Christian family but you can come and hang out well I said that but it was
still in my days of my worst perfectionism so I went into Christian
Kleber mode you know I wanted to present the perfect Christian women to this
young girl who was seeking me out and so I am really challenged in the kitchen so
I’ve did my best and I was making grilled cheese and there’s some chips
and a dill lady said you had to do your best with grilled cheese I’m just
loading onto your guilt list I know don’t write me about that I’m sorry yeah
my idea of a perfect meal is the one that I dial out and so I had gotten I
was getting lunch together and I had my Bible open you know I’ve been praying
about what to share with her well my three year old was not on board with
this whole plan and so he was just as we say in the south cutting rug and
misbehaving and so and he was not going to stop until I gave him my full
attention so I told her please excuse me for a minute and we went upstairs to I
gave him my full attention and I’m trying to be perfect and you are showing
me a brighter parenting I love it um but I came down the stairs with my crying
child on my head and all of a sudden I realized that
there was smoke grilled cheese on fire my grilled cheese was on fire and I
rushed back in the kitchen turn off the burner and I serious I felt so
humiliated my child was misbehaving my my lunch my meager lunch was ruined and
everything in me wanted to hand her $5.00 a particular McDonald’s and never
come back to my house again yes but in that moment you know God was doing a
work in me even then I’ve really heard that still small voice to my ear will
you love her enough and will you love me enough to open up your life words at all
and the amazing thing about that is that in that moment I’ve made lots of wrong
decisions but in that moment I made the right decision and I said hey so much
for the perfect Christian woman like let’s just go from here and I’m years
later when my friend who was her campus ministry person asked this girl what do
you want your life to look like she said I want my wife to look like Amy Carol’s
and you know I that really makes me teary every time I tell it because she
saw my life works at all so she didn’t see perfection she saw a woman who loves
Jesus who loves her family and that’s what she wanted to let me say you went
on from that day to create a list of 50 ways to leave your perfect which i think
is your attempt a great attempt to say here are the 50 ways that I was you know
imperfect and still AM yes absolutely it’s a really varied list some of the
things are really serious some scripture to memorize that will hopefully help you
but also there are some fun and silly things like wear mismatched socks have a
picnic on your living room floor oh no the best one to eat a Twinkie for
lunch but those are fun things in there I think the very first one go through an
entire day without any form of a list wing it wing you know how many women
just what are you serious but that’s the thing it’s a good thing to do this has
been helpful breaking up with perfect we all
have different prisms of what perfect looks like and you’ve done a wonderful
job getting people back down to the ground what is our relationship with God
what should it look like what is healthy what’s unhealthy Amy before we go I’m
mindful of that woman whose past is really the burden she’s carrying that
baggage how do you move or how do you suggest she moved from this bondage of
imperfection to a better view of imperfection well you know one day I was
sitting in my quiet time chair to talk into the Lord and kind of enumerate in
all the ways that I feel like I’m a mess and God in that moment I felt like
whispered in my ear and said I’m sorry that you are not happy with the way that
I made you but I am delighted with you and yes you can imagine that just
brought me to tears especially your listeners I want us you
to hear this and let let it soak in today that God is delighted with you
there is there’s a blanket on the back of my couch that’s one of the favorite
things in my house because my grandmother made it and Psalm 139 says
for you created my inmost being you knit me together in my mother’s womb and that
blanket was knitted by my grandmother when I think about the hours that she
spent over that she’s gone now so it’s a piece of her that I have left Jesus did
the same thing for each one of us he knit us together on purpose and he
delights in us just the way he made us he loves us perfect place to end Amy
Carol authored the book breaking up with perfect thank you for your imperfection
thank you for letting me express it here hey I’m John fuller and thanks for
watching get more info about focus over here and more from our guests over there
and be sure to subscribe to our channel as well you

8 thoughts on “Accepting Your Imperfect Life – Amy Carroll

  • This is awesome. I am realizing…if I keep comparing myself to people I can't measure up to…I may never win the affection of those adore the one I compare myself to…its bondage.
    The good girl….sis you nailed it.

  • I'm confused…don't husbands know the bed needs to be made? LOL. What did they do before they got married??

  • Wow. I think I am a perfection and critical of others bc of it….at 43yrs. Old and many counseling sessions…that seem useless bc I am still here. My good girl list….hmmm…no this, no that….don't do this, don't do that…yes, I do not really feel God's love and try working 4 it all time and still at this place of rejection. Mock wedding with Jesus waiting at the altar……interesting. No bff, No true mentors

  • Planning on using this book as a women's study this fall. I think the information is so important to the young women in our church. I heard Amy on Focus on the Family on my car radio and sent for the book.

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