Grace, Not Perfection is Emily Ley's first book. I got this book for myself a couple of Christmas's ago when it was relatively new but hadn't read it until recently. To say it's a game changer is an understatement.
A couple of weeks ago I was having a conversation with my mom. While I don't remember our exact words, I shared that I didn't fully understand how much of a perfectionist I am until a sermon at church. Apparently, this was amusing to her because it had been evident for most of my life. When I asked for specific examples she didn't have any one thing to point out, nor did she see it as a negative trait. In fact, her words were actually encouraging saying that I know what I like.
And yes, I do know what I like. The problem lies in the fact that not everyone else agrees with my standard which causes a great deal of tension. And so as I read this book I had to start asking the tough questions. Questions like Is it really better for me to do it all and do it my way and run myself into the ground OR Is it better for me to accept help and accept that help graciously in the way it is given? Not easy questions to answer because there are those things that are cringe-worthy if they aren't done right, or at least what I would view as right.
But what about the things that aren't cringe-worthy? What about the things that matter that I'm actually not a perfectionist about? Am I willing to accept help with those? Am I willing to accept a standard of grace, not perfection in the way someone else lovingly helped instead of doing it all myself? If someone folds the towels differently, does the laundry in a different order, or creatively loads the dishwasher? (Scratch that last one, that is on my cringe-worthy list.)
Honestly, the jury is still out. Old habits die hard and it would appear that I have a terrible habit of resurrecting the flesh that Jesus is trying to crucify.
But this book! Not only did it help me to see a lot of these things in myself, but it's also helped me identify their roots and most importantly the harm it is doing in the relationships that matter most by remaining stubborn.
I can't recommend this book enough simply for the awareness it brings. Knowledge is God's grace given to help us make better choices in the way we show His love and become His hands and feet to those whom we live in close proximity.
FYI, I underlined a lot in this book. Truth bombs that I knew I needed to think about and pray through. And the one that probably blew my perspective wide open was this: If you run yourself ragged caring for everyone but yourself while expecting perfection from your hands, body, and mind, you're in for a rough collision with reality. True story.
Maybe it's time to step off the roller coaster and realize that the specific and special way God is using us isn't so much in doing grand things of epic proportions measured on a worldly scale, but in doing grand things of epic proportions measured in the way we impact the hearts of those we love the most. And this book helped me see a lot of that. My guess is that it will help you, too.
You can find more about Emily Ley here.
You can find Grace, Not Perfection wherever books are sold, including Target.