Ditching the Pursuit of Perfection

** Post includes 2 book girls’ devotional giveaway

 pursuit of perfection

Initially….

Years ago, when I was a young single girl (don’t even try to figure out how long ago this was!), I kept my tiny apartment in mint condition. Every article of clothing hung gracefully on the hanger and all articles faced the same direction. Each item had a place and occupied that place routinely. One *might* say things were perfect.

Then…

Then I got married and though I worked full-time, things were still kept in order. Dishes were washed…papers were filed…I kept things neat and tidy and more.

A Bit Later…

When I had my first child, I noticed it was a tad more demanding to keep things as “perfect” as I used to, but continually cleaned and fussed over my home, doing my best to keep everything perfectly in order. I have a confession to make: I didn’t go to bed unless the toilet paper was hanging properly in the bathroom. That’s how serious it was. I stressed myself, very unnecessarily so, to keep everything absolutely clean, neat, and beautiful- to a fault.

Eventually…

Eventually I found myself in a hard place; I had made it such a habit of keeping up with things that I failed to keep up with people. I learned the hard way that:

Pursuing perfection is not a place in your home; it’s a space in your heart.

You see, when I look at myself in those early years, I see things in order, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all, except the priority I placed on having things in order consumed my heart. And when I take a peek back at that time of my life focused on the pursuit of perfection, I regret the emphasis I placed on having things perfectly in order.

Over the Years…

Over the years, God did a work in my heart that he continues to do to this day. While I still LOVE having things in order, if you came to my house, you would see that some of it is NOT in order. Learning to ditch the pursuit of perfection in my surroundings has been quite the battle for me.Below you will find the 4 lessons I’ve learned in the process.

4 Lessons I Learned in Ditching the Pursuit of Perfection

1. Routines are wonderful and order is a necessary part of life; but routines should not dictate every moment of the day.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

2. Relationships should always supersede routines.

 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.Phil. 2:3-4

3. Pursuing a heart perfect towards God will enable choosing appropriate priorities in life.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

4. God sees me as perfect through the blood of Jesus and he is continually perfecting my heart.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Phil. 1:6

Teaching My Children to Pursue the Right Kind of Perfection

Last week I had a conversation with the kids about why it’s okay if we pile the dishes up in the sink one night and play a board game instead of making sure every.single.dish is washed and put away before we go to bed. Now mind you, I love waking up to a clean kitchen. Love it! But, if I have to choose between making sure every.single.dish is dried and put away and having time to play a game with the kids, then a few dishes can wait.

Using the season of spring break to infuse our relationships was more important than a  few dirty dishes and I want my kids to remember seizing the moment of making memories.

Brave Girls Books Giveaway

I’m so thrilled to introduce these two 90 day devotionals for girls that will impress the lesson of pursuing the right kind of perfection straight on their hearts!


Brave Girls: Better Than Perfect: A 90-Day Devotional

This 90 day devotional for girls encourages the understand that though life may look like a bunch of messy puzzle pieces at times, God sees the bigger picture. He is the one who creates beautiful art from fragments. The truths covered in this devotional are timeless!


Brave Girls: Faithful Friends: A 90-Day Devotional

What does the Bible say about friends, both choosing and keeping? To have a friend, you have to be a friend! Pretty simple, but oh, so important, especially for ages 7-11.

The Brave Girls engaging devotionals nurture self-esteem and relationship skills- two of the traits that can prevent us from the pursuit of perfection without balance.

I’m excited to be giving away one copy of these two books to one winner. Giveaway closes at 12:00 am 4/2. Just leave a comment answering the question:

What thought have you discovered to encourage you or your child to be the best you can be without chasing perfection?

Rachel

 

 

Disclosure: Books provided by publisher; all opinions are my own. Post includes affiliate links; site may be compensated if purchase is made. See full disclosure policy here.

Counting Your Blessings At Christmas & Children’s Book Giveaway

a star for me

Typically Thanksgiving is the season we count our blessings, but this sweet new book, A Star for Me, teaches us to continue counting our blessings through the Christmas season. This beautiful large board book (8×10) is accompanied by a sparkling gold star ornament. As you read through the book, you can move the star ornament up the tree until you reach the top. You can read the entire story in one sitting or a few pages at a time through the Advent season.

Oliver, the youngest camel in the caravan, learns to travel and notice the blessings along the journey. Ollie notices that sometimes the things we fail to remember to be thankful for are often the simplest things in life. Designed for ages 4-8. A Star for Me will encourage your child to remember God’s blessings and focus on the greatest blessing of the season, the birth of Jesus. This book is a great one for the family to read together!

Easy to read, rhyming words make this book a pleasure to read and listen to. The problems Olive encounters are easy to relate to and hold a simple humor element that children love. I personally felt that this sweet book opened up conversation about continuing to give thanks, especially at Christmas.

I thought you would enjoy seeing a preview of this sweet book!

 

Who wants to win a copy of this wonderful new Christmas book that is sure to become a Christmas bedtime favorite? I thought you would! Just follow the Rafflecopter.

For more information, check out A Star for Me right here.

It looks like I will have the 2015 Bible reading challenge ready to go at the first of next week! Woohoo!

Have a great weekend!

Rachel

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Disclosure: Product provided by Publisher; all opinions are my own.Site may be compensated if purchase is made. See full disclosure policy here.

 

6 Favorite Christmas Children’s Books

** Post includes children’s book giveaway!favorite things title

I cannot believe how quickly time is flying! Last week was an abnormal week for me from a schedule standpoint and it’s been all I could do to keep up with our family advent on a daily basis. This year we are enjoying Ann Voskamp’s beautiful new Advent book, Unwrapping the Greatest Christmas.There have been years that I simply read a different short Christmas book each night or on days with less of a schedule, we would read a few here or there throughout the day. So much depends on the ages and stages of your family as to what works best for you. For that reason, choice is a wonderful thing. Today I just wanted to share a few of my favorite Christmas children’s books. Ready? In no particular order, here we go.


1. One Wintry Night

This beautiful book captures the attention of the reader with beautiful artistry and progressive dialogue. Intended for grades 4-7, I feel this book can be enjoyed as a read-aloud for children reading a chapter at a time. Some younger children may have a harder time listening for longer periods of time and for them, I would read half a chapter at a time. Beautiful book!


2. Itsy Bitsy Christmas: You’re Never Too Little for His Love

In his usual style of beauty, Max Lucado describes a wonderful tale of two mice who’ve heard that the King is coming to visit their small town. Upon searching high and low in their pursuit of seeing the glorious King, they almost miss His visit. Designed for ages 4-7, the emphasis of the book is

“You’ve never too little for His love!”


3. The Parable Series: The Pine Tree Parable

This book is so appropriate for all ages and another way to emphasize the meaning of giving. My trustworthy assistant, Tristina, wrote a review for this book when she was in second grade. You can find it here.


4. A Christmas Prayer
This book is a great one to snuggle up with! In the tradition of “A Night Night Prayer”, a precious little child wanders through the house on a snowy Christmas night offering a prayer of thanks and blessing. The child finishes with thanks to God for the greatest Gift of all. This book is designed for ages 0-2, but I think stretches on to age 5 quite well.


5. 12 Stories of Christmas

I just discovered this new release and I REALLY want it! I love stories that have a wide appeal to all ages because of our large family. This book looks like just the thing! Isn’t that a beautiful cover? The author, Rob Morgan, is the pastor of The Donelson Fellowship in Nashville, Tennessee, where he has served for more than thirty years. Rob writes only one short fiction story each year—an original work he shares with his church on Christmas Eve. The stories in this book are those beautiful stories– and I REALLY want to read this beautiful book with my family.


6. God Bless Our Christmas

God Bless Our Christmas is a beautiful rhyming book of animals enjoying the blessings of Christmas. The beautiful crisp colors in this book’s illustrations are the perfect complement to its wintry feel. With words that roll easily from the tongue, children love to listen to the short phrases. While this book is perfectly designed for 1-4 years, the settings within the book could easily be discussed and compared among older children. For example, as the animals discuss decorating cookies, the conversation might center around shapes, colors, or your family’s cookie experiences thus far in the holiday season.

Speaking of God blessing us….

Because I believe it is so important to emphasize giving thanks at all times of the year,today I’m offering a free printable to help your family remember God’s blessings at Christmas. Here’s a peek at the Favorite Things page and you can click on the graphic or HERE to download and print.

favorite things

Today I’m giving away one copy of God Bless Our Christmas- woohoo! Just follow the Rafflecopter and I’ll see you tomorrow.

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Disclosure: Product provided by Publisher; all opinions are my own.Site may be compensated if purchase is made. See full disclosure policy here.