Messages From Above

It happens so frequently and often without warning.  It crushes doubts and sweeps away fears.  And though it occurs on a near regular basis, it shocks me everytime; like a child playing peek-a-boo, laughing gleefully at each instance of the peeker coming out from his hiding spot.

Messages from above.

I have a tendancy to overanalyse life and therefore I overstress. I put so much weight on things going “just-so” that when they don’t go that way, I feel like my life is crumbling in a heap around me.

Perfectionism is what they call it.  I call it a day in the life of Bree.

I wish I could tell you what event caused this necessity to be in control of making sure that every detail is carried through with pinpoint accuracy.  I wish I could tell you that I had an inkling of how it all began so you could sit me down and help me snap out of it.

I wish it I could look back and say that it hasn’t shaped the path of my life.

But recently I’ve been hearing story after countless story telling me that I’m not alone.  There are other perfectionists out there. There are other habitual planners and detail critiquers.  I’m not just a party of one.

And the messages from above that I’ve been receiving is this…

As a sign language interpreter for my local church, I have the opportunity to review the sermon notes before it is presented at the weekend services.  It allows me to reflect on the message and prepare the delivery of it in a different language with more accuracy.  The perfectionist in me cheers!

And so as I read a recent message from one of the pastors on staff, the wind was let out of my sails.  Not because I knew the content before the congregation, but because it pierced its way through the blockade that my perfectionism has established over the years, keeping out external forces.

The sermon focused on the message from Daniel 2 and 3.  It’s a familiar story, about the friends of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who were cast into a fiery furnace by the evil king, Nebuchadnezzar (try fingerspelling those, whew!) because they would not bow down and worship him and the 90 foot idol he had created, even after they had done what he had asked in interpreting his dreams.

But Pastor Tim didn’t stop with this story, he took it a step further and called us out, saying that sometimes we’re like the evil king, not being satisfied with what we have and asking for more proof, more evidence, and more of what our heart desires before we allow the will of God to reign in our lives.

“We’ve got a plan for our life.  In fact, we’ve got a great big plan, like a 90 foot idol of a plan, and we say, “God, if you will just give me the gold that I need, then I can get it built.”  

We think, “Come on God, it’s not hard.  If you give me the husband that I want, the wife that I want, the children that I want, the job that I want, the money that I want, the house that I want.  If you just give me the gold that I need to build the idol of ‘my life’, well then maybe I will trust you.”

You see it’s all about us.

We need to pray that God would humble us, like he humbled Nebuchadnezzar so that we can finally see that it’s not about us.  It’s about the Living God and the glory of His name.

My heart is far from being cured from the disease of perfectionism. No doubt I will struggle with relinquishing control for years to come.  So just as much as I am writing this message to share with you, I am writing it for my future self to revisit.

It’s a reminder of what is possible through the power of God.  If He could change the heart of an evil king in the days of old, He surely can change my perfection-seeking ways to that of His own.

Are you a perfectionist?  How do you overcome the power struggle of trying to control your fate?

20 comments

  1. Just had to say I love the part where you say “Try finger spelling those!” HAHA! Never thought of that!

    1. Haha, I know, right? Luckily once you finger spell the names you can create a “sign name” (kind of like a nickname in sign language) to refer to the person going forward. Otherwise, I think I would have simply given up! Thanks for stopping by, Tiff! Hugs!

  2. I think it is amazing that you are a sign language interpreter! When I did my student teaching we had to introduce another language to our class. Everyone was doing Spanish but I chose Sign Language. We learned days of the week, weather words and simple phrases to use in our first grade class.

    1. Thanks for visiting, Robbie! Good for you for thinking outside of the box and taking on the challenge of learning some sign. It’s definitely a fun language to learn and very rewarding as a ministry. Thanks for taking the time to read and share your thoughts! Have a great week!

  3. Thank you for sharing with us on Inspire Me Monday this week. And thank you for reminding/challenging us to spend a little less time planning and a little more time living. Great post!

    1. Thank you for the opportunity, Sarah! I am blessed to know you have been inspired by this post. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I hope to see you back again soon! Be blessed.

  4. This certainly spoke to me in many ways. My form of perfectionism is on myself more than anything. I know perfection isn’t possible but somehow I keep wanting to beat myself up when I don’t do things right. My entire focus is doing right by God and I can get easily discouraged when I make mistakes along the way. Your post has helped me see things a little differently. It’s definitely something I’m putting on my list to work on. 🙂

    1. What a blessing that you got something out of this post, Rachel! It is really easy to beat ourselves up over life when it doesn’t go our way. I do it too. It’s not an easy habit to break, but I’m focusing on one thing at a time, which is that when I find myself in the midst of that negative self-talk, to stop and take a deep breath and ask God to remove those thoughts and to fill me with His spirit. It’s going to take some practice, but it’s always a place to start again.

  5. Loved your post. I do not struggle with needing things to be PERFECT. But I do struggle with living in the present because I am an avid PLANNER. ahhhhhhh… just another opportunity to learn to trust God and give up my need to control my life. Thanks for your post.
    Love your name by the way. My daughter’s name is Bree Anna.

    1. Denise, I LOVE your daughter’s name! Hehe! My given name is actually Brianne, but I like the spelling of Bree better! 😉 I sometimes think there needs to be a group PA (planner’s annonymous) where we learn how to live a life without obsessive planning! I’m happy to know you’ve been blessed by this post and I’ll be praying for you as you continue to hand over trust to the big guy! Blessings!

  6. I’m a recovering good girl and definitely have been a perfectionist. I heard just this morning that perfectionism can be the enemy and I think that really can be true, when I so focused on making things perfect that I’m no longer satisfied with my best – or thinking about how that’s all He’s asking for. So glad to find you from Holley’s!

    1. “Recovering good girl”, what does that mean exactly, Kaitlyn? It’s hard to remember that just giving your best effort is all that God is asking. He is perfect in our place and through Him all things are possible for us. I’m glad you found your way here as well and I hope that you’ll return soon! Be blessed!

  7. Hi Bree!
    I’m not a perfectionist but I do battle with fear. Recently, I had set my sights on a house but long story short it didn’t work out. Not only was it a super cute house but it would be so close to where my mother lived so it was perfect for me. But that didn’t go through and I found myself having an internal struggle. Sometimes I feel like a little girl stomping her feet asking when is it going to be my turn (I’m in my 30s lol) but yesterday, I captured my emotions and spoke life over my soul by saying I’m going to trust God. Every good and perfect gift comes from His hand so if it’s not meant to be now then maybe it will come in the future.
    I think we all struggle with the need for control and how it manifests is different. But God is still calling us to trust Him at the end of the day and as believers, we’ve given Him the reins. We need His grace daily to surrender our will to His!
    By the way, I used to be a sign interpreter at my church too! 🙂 miss those days. At least you got the notes, we signed as we heard the message being preached :/ lol

    1. Oh, Liv, I completely understand! It’s so hard when things fall through that WE think would be perfect for us, but that’s because we only see a snapshot of life and God has the entire puzzle put together. Trusting that what He sees is better than what we see is tough, but I’m sure in time you’ll be able to look back and see how He has provided something even better than you could imagine.
      And oh yay, another terp! I used to interpret on the fly too, but finally suckered them into providing their notes, since they had to prepare them ahead of time, it only made sense that I’d get a copy too! What made you give it up?

  8. Oh, I’ve always wanted to learn sign language, and totally admire those that know how!
    I’m totally a perfectionist, have you read Kevin Leman’s The Birth Order book? I found it quite insightful for my perfectionist ways. I love when you said: “Instead of bumbling along finding heartbreak in each broken dream, maybe we should ask God to humble our hearts to His will.” So often I find myself telling God how I want things done and not being willing to listen to what HE wants me to be doing.

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Chantel. I’m blessed to know that you enjoyed the post and that it was a good reminder for you to listen to what He has in store for you! Also thanks for the suggestion of Kevin Leman’s book. I’ll have to take a look at it, sounds interesting! Blessings!

  9. I love that you are writing messages for your future self to revisit! Thank you for sharing the message with us, too, now. Blessings!

    1. Haha, Janet, thanks! I’m just glad to know that my ramblings to my future self are ones that can inspire others as well! I hope that you are blessed today as you walk alongside Him.

  10. “Looking for more proof and more evidence.” That sure hit me. I’ll be thinking on it for a while. I’m challenged by the thought of planning less and living more. My sister got me a piece of art that says, “Live in the moment and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering.”

    1. Pamela, I love the quote you shared. I need that reminder daily – to live in the moment and enjoy ever breath and what blessings that come with it. I’m blessed to know that this post has inspired and convicted you. Praying that you will find peace in letting go and letting God!

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