LeadHER: The Desire To Be Perfect

Written By: Andrea Crisp

alexandre-chambon-174070.jpg

Hi, my name is Andrea, and I’m a perfectionist. 

This label has haunted me for years, and has been the source of self sabotage for as long as I can remember. 

I’m also a leader, a friend, a coach, and a daughter. But with everything I do — I strive for perfection. And, no I did not get the memo that there is no such thing as perfection. If that were true, I would have stopped trying to be perfect long ago. 

There is a battle that rages inside of me to ‘fix’ everything, and everyone around me. Nothing is sacred. If a problem is presented to me, then my first instinct is to find a solution. No matter what the cost. 

Heaven forbid I make a mistake. Let’s be real here… heaven forbid anyone make a mistake. 

When I was first asked to contribute to the Gather Women Blog, I wrestled with what I wanted to write. So, I wrote several drafts which promptly were deleted. In my quest to be real and authentic, all I really wanted to do was to paint myself in a positive light, to show you the best side of me. But, with every draft, I was more frustrated with the lack of transparency I was willing to reveal.

So here is the real me. The real struggle I face as a woman in leadership. 

As women in leadership, we all struggle. We have something that holds us back from pursuing our potential to the fullest. Mine is the desire to be perfect. Ok, there are also other things, but let’s not go there today. 

So, what is holding you back? 

It doesn’t matter what position you hold when it comes to falling victim to shortcomings. They are lurking beneath the surface, and we are constantly trying to keep them at bay. Today, I’m going to shine a light on mine, so that you can be encouraged to do the same. 

A few months ago, I stumbled on the Enneagram (a personality inventory) and began listening to a great podcast called “The Road Back To You”. To say that I was enlightened is an understatement. I took the personality inventory quiz which revealed exactly what I knew to be true of myself — I'm a ‘perfectionist’.

Yes, the ‘perfectionist’ is a personality type. Shocking, I know. 

But, it also took me down the path of self discovery towards a place of grace. For the first time I was able to see that my worst flaw is also my greatest strength. My desire to see things ‘perfected’ in my own life and in the life of others has been the catalyst to helping women reach their potential. 

I began to realize that although I may fight with the desire to be perfect, it also holds the keys to my own purpose. God has made me this way for a reason. I’m not cursed by being a ‘perfectionist’, I’m blessed to be able to see what is possible in life. 

There is grace that covers every part of my strength and weakness. God has given me a perspective on life through the lens of a ‘fixer’, and that is not a bad thing. In fact it’s a great thing. 

Maybe you have been struggling to overcome a weak area in your life, and feel like you keep bumping up against it at every turn. I’d like to encourage you to examine it from a different perspective. God did not make a mistake when He created you. He has created you uniquely to bring honour and glory to Him. When you see yourself from His perspective, you will start to see that His love is made perfect in you. And, that the very thing that once held you back, will ultimately magnify the greatness of God. 

If you are interested in taking the personality inventory that I mentioned, it can be found here — www.exploreyourtype.com/details 


Slide1.jpg

RelateHER: Rest In A Restless World

Written By: Dagmar Morgan

andrew-neel-218073.jpg
Genesis 2-3 says by the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day, He rested from all his work. God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because, on it, He rested from all the work of creating that he had done. (NIV)

God made the entire world and then, He took a break. You could argue that making the entire universe was a big job and so after He said “I’m punching out for a bit. I’m tired.” But remember our God is everlasting He doesn’t tire. So, it is worth thinking about the meaning of the word rest, as it is used in the Bible and how we use rest in our lives. It means much more than just stopping work.

When God rested, He was setting an example for us. He may not need the time out but we do. We are made in His image so He was showing us to take time to “be”. Our fast paced lives, unfortunately, do not give us rest.  Home, chores, the office, kids being off school, play dates, Uber driver duty, the gym, your husband, university courses, summer jobs…the list goes on. It makes me sweaty just typing it.

But when all of that is done we somehow manage to still not be off duty.  We are still tethered to the world and to performance through our devices. Whether it’s taking in other’s postings or orchestrating our own the searching, the planning, and the working do not end. There is no room for physical or spiritual rest in this modern landscape.

If we are always taking in information when is there time to reflect on what we have seen or learned or been through? God didn’t just stop work, the rest in Genesis also suggests He took time to delight in what He created. He looked at things every step of the way and said in Genesis 1:4  God saw that the light was good. He stopped, rested, reflected on what He had done and then continued His work on creation. Again, modelling for us the importance of this idea that as we create our life with God’s guidance we need time to reflect and connect with Him before we continue to build more. It is in the disconnect with the world that we connect with Him.

When we don’t take time to reflect or notice what we have created, we can get run down. Celebrating the small triumphs in life is important and taking time to look at what we have accomplished rather than rapidly moving onto the next goal is key. Look at the family you’ve made. Look how you’ve seen your kids through another school year. Look at the degree you finished. Look at every small goal you’ve accomplished. Maybe it wasn’t perfect but you made it. Even with all the ups and downs, all the imperfections. There is still something to celebrate.

The way He celebrated making us by deeming the seventh day holy.

We are called to do the same. To dial things back, give thanks for what we have even if we are not quite where we want to be. We can still rejoice in Him.

Turn down the volume of the world and turn up God.  Take a day off, read the Bible, go for a walk, stand in the grass in your bare feet, write a list of all things you’ve done this year and take a moment to realize you made it.  By stopping and unplugging for a moment you let God know you are following in His footprints, the same ones that created the world and then stopped to marvel at its beauty. Let’s do the same.

This August as the last breaths of summer swirl around us, I challenge you to really find time to REST.

Rest in Love.
Rest in Quiet.
Rest in Beauty.
Rest in HIM.


Slide1.jpg

HERstory: Magnify Rest

Written By: Taylor Madge

Hello, my name is Taylor Madge and I am addicted to serving.

If anyone asked me to serve in God’s house, I was in. I said yes to everything. I would love to say that it was only because I love Jesus and wanted to be a part of his vision for his church.

If I am being honest though, that is not the ONLY reason. I am not even 100% sure it is the majority of the reason I have worked as hard as I have.

Perhaps I should have said “Hello, my name is Taylor and I am addicted to approval and recognition from people.”

Oh how much my fingers want to go back and hit delete on that sentence.

I really want people to like me. And even more, I want people to see me as a “good” Christian. And even worse, I want to be involved because I am sometimes so afraid of being left out and left behind. And so I kept saying yes.

OOF. I really want to hit that delete key.

I have lived most of my Christian life constantly seeking the approval of people and recognition of my leaders and I have wanted so badly to feel like I was needed and had worth and value in the house. BECAUSE I seriously value the house of God. It has been my family, my fortress, my bible college and my sanity.

I have mistakenly thought that meant I need to do anything and everything anyone asked. Now, there are seasons for having a full schedule and serving full on in God’s house. There are seasons where he wants to stretch us and grow our capacity.

Which is why I have often balked at people when they said that I did too much. I knew God was leading me and growing me and I earnestly wanted (and still want) all that He has for me. However, I have realized that I had been leaving behind wisdom in favour of the approval and acceptance of others.

So, I have been stretched about as full as one can be stretched in terms of serving at church. And I also work full time, have two teen daughters (having their own crisis) and an amazingly grace filled and patient husband. I eventually found myself in a place where I have left very little room in my life for rest and margin, and I had fooled myself into thinking it was all good work so it was good.

And who knows, I may have kept going on that crazy train without derailing?  But then I experienced a huge loss in my life. My mom passed away suddenly in a car accident. Suddenly I genuinely needed some rest and some margin, but none existed. So I just kept going…….kept DOING. Kept working, and serving. On empty.

After about 8 months of that, my world started to really fall apart. Everything in my life started to pile up on me like the dirty laundry mountain in the corner of my room. God started to remove all the coping mechanisms I had built up in my life, that were not HIM, and it felt like there was NOTHING I could handle any longer. I didn’t want to even get out of bed.

One day it all came crashing down and there I was shaking and crying in my doctor’s office without any clue of what to do next or how to even move forward. She diagnosed me with depression and anxiety and gave me a note so I could take some time off work. It was both the hardest decision I have ever made and the best decision I have ever made. I don’t QUIT well. The people pleaser in me was horrified.

What would people think? How would it affect my career? What would it say about my faith? How would I be perceived if I couldn’t cope with life anymore? If I didn’t keep all these balls in the air, would anyone still like or respect me?

The first week I was home I laid in bed and cried a lot. I had never felt so out of control in my well controlled, planned life. I didn’t have any idea what to do. I had a meeting with some of my amazing church leaders and they lovingly gave me some space to step back and breathe. I spent the next three months learning again how to take sabbath rest. Something I had never really taken seriously or done well.

I had been neglecting my soul.

See, I had allowed the approval of people and the WORK of my hands to become more important than the rest and joy I found in Jesus.

I kept saying yes to doing. I kept saying yes to people. And in those yeses, I had inadvertently said no to rest in Jesus.

I had magnified my work and my relationships over my intimacy with Jesus. My priorities were out of whack! I had to relearn how to be in relationship with God first, before anything and everything else. Including serving in his house.

(Now don’t get me wrong. I still served in small ways. And I never stopped going to church. It is so important to be in community with other Jesus followers, especially in crisis!) However, I had really let it get away from me. I didn’t realize how far away I had drifted. After all, I was at church constantly, doing the work of God, serving people. How could that be so far away from where I was supposed to be? Because I had forgotten the value of the sabbath. Sabbath means “a day set aside for rest and worship”, and in Hebrew is written like this: שַׁבָּת

What does it look like to you? I see the word “NEW”. Rest makes us new.

The first time we see this word in the old test is in Genesis chapter 2:

2 On the seventh day—with the canvas of the cosmos completed—God paused from His labor and rested. 3 Thus God blessed day seven and made it special—an open time for pause and restoration, a sacred zone of Sabbath-keeping,because God rested from all the work He had done in creation that day.

Even GOD rested!!

See that word RESToration? GOD took time to rest. Perfectly good, perfection in divinity, still rested. He knows the value of restoration and renewal. I found this promise in  Isaiah 43:19 The Voice (VOICE)

19  Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; Waters will flow where there had been none.

I certainly felt like I was in the desert and I desperately needed something NEW!

The instruction in scripture was clear. God was the way through this mess.  Jesus spoke to me through the book of Matthew…..I felt his words resonate in my soul.

Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. - Matthew 11:28

I spent countless hours in scripture and prayer. It took weeks of immersing myself in the water of life that is the word of God. It took weeks of me talking to God and getting my heart and my mind back in order. The dehydrated state of my soul began to change. I began to feel filled and able to pour out again. Here I am now, 7 months later and I have never been so refreshed. I am back to work, have new direction in regard to serving in ministry, have found reconnection with my husband and my kids, and my friends are actually liking being around me again.

I have realized how valuable it is to fill my cup with the water of life- Christ, before I try and pour out of my life to others. That serving in my own strength and just “DOING” to make myself acceptable or valued is going to empty me of life every time.

There is nothing refreshing or refilling in that empty pursuit. All it does is drain my soul of the much-needed sustenance in order to SAY YES to the amazing things God DOES want me to do. He wants me to work hard. He wants me to serve hard. He wants me to give and love and do. But I have learned it must come from a place of resting and relying on HIM and not on myself.

And somehow, I am doing more now than ever. But with my rest time in place. With my priorities in order. With allowing Jesus to be the one to fill me up and accept me first so that I can in turn give out a huge measure of love and acceptance and service to others.

Because it all begins with Him.


Slide1.jpg