Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Guest Blogger: Life Coach, Author, Reformed Perfectionist: Joan Webb!
I love all my friends, but it is amazing how many of them -- who I could happily spend hours of conversation with -- are either writers, therapists or life coaches. Inevitably all three come with deeply human, relatable stories. Also, most tend to be excellent listeners, as eager to share, as they are curious to listen and learn something new from you. In short, delightful company.
One such person in my life is Joan Webb. When I first met the vivacious Joan, and listened as she openly and honestly shared her struggles to stop doing it all, and do it perfectly, I was all ears. Then she shared some of her written thoughts and stories -- about how she put a stop to overcaring, overfixing, overworking and well, over-everythinging. I found that not only could I not put her manuscript down, but that the more I read, the more relaxed and free I felt.
Today it is my pleasure to be a "whistle stop" on Joan's blog tour for her newest devotional book for any woman who struggles with trying to do it all perfectly, and falling short every day. (Or every hour!) The book is called It’s a Wonderful (Imperfect) Life: Devotional Readings for Women Who Strive Too Hard to Make it Just Right (Regal, 2009). Below is a sample devotion. It sure spoke to my over-striving heart this morning, and I hope it also soothes yours.
God is more powerful than man is. -Ecclesiastes 6:10, NCV
I sat in the auditorium next to the guests I’d invited to join me for this special event. While engrossed in the beautiful music, it dawned on me: Joan, you’re enjoying this concert for the sheer pleasure of it, without being preoccupied with your guests' thoughts, feelings or reactions. I smiled then and I’m smiling now as I remember.
For years an overzealous sense of responsibility overshadowed my personal enjoyment. When I invited another person to attend a church service, concert or even a luncheon, I felt duty-bound to see that she enjoyed the time and gained new insight. Now I realize that I’m not responsible for someone else’s perceptions, attitudes or knowledge.
Through my years of life coaching and speaking, I’ve noticed an epidemic of over-helping. Those of us who want to join God in his work sometimes live by a false premise that we must fix what’s broken, heal what hurts, and right what’s wrong (in our opinion.) This over-active sense of responsibility can lead us to believe we’re more powerful than we really are. It’s exhausting.
God is the Almighty One, and he wants to release us from this unnecessary responsibility. He is the one in charge of the world, not us. When we give him our shoulds, musts, and ough- tos, we begin to live in genuine freedom. What uncomplicated delight!
Lord, I'm not responsible for anyone else's life fulfillment.
Only my own.
Making It Personal: Jot down an unreasonable I should or I must that has worn you out and threatened to keep you from experiencing your own satisfaction or pleasure.
If you'd like to join Joan's blog train tour and receive more samples of Joan's devos this month, the next stop will be at http://www.skyesofblue.blogspot.com/ tomorrow! Or check out all the stops at http://www.joancwebbblog.com/imperfect-blog-tour/.
Here's to a day of letting go and relaxing into our wonderful, imperfect lives!