Have you ever heard of Burger King’s tagline?
“Have it your way.” That does sound appealing, doesn’t it? With burgers grilling and fries sizzling, it really does make you feel like a king!
And though that might be a great marketing strategy for a fast-food franchise, this type of thinking does much more harm than good when applied anywhere else in life.
For many of us, this way of thinking is where perfectionism stems from. We want it our way and we want it now!
From frustration to impatience when we aren’t in control, it is easy for us to shove God out of the picture by treating Him with contempt when our plans fall short.
Trusting the Lord with Humility: Easier Said Than Done!
Even if you are not a perfectionist, we all can agree on the level of frustration we feel when the very plans we were looking forward to fall through the roof. (Especially with all of the unforeseen and unfortunate events that occurred in 2020.)
In our new book, Giving Thanks for a Perfectly Imperfect Life by Michele Howe, Howe shares relatable Christ-centered stories and testimonies about herself and others when life hits the hard road. From losing family members to job loss, from health issues to break-ups, Michele teaches us through dedicated prayers and intricate wisdom on how to trust the Lord despite all circumstances.
Here’s an excerpt prayer from her book:
My Heart’s Cry to You, O Lord:
“Father, please help me to be wise enough to run straight to your word for wisdom, for understanding, and for the encouragement I so desperately need. I often discover that my emotions can easily rule my day if I allow them to supersede your eternal truth… Though I long for a perfect day, I realize there is no perfection on this side of heaven. Instead, I must find my hope and help in you and pray through whatever trials and struggles I am facing. Amen.”
While reading this prayer, I realized how much it utters a disposition of humility. The recognition of what we desperately need, and calling out the setbacks of our emotions is a crucial aspect to have as we ambulate the road of an imperfect life.
This prayer doesn’t complain or grumble about the current circumstances. It does not question God’s authority nor does it mope and sulk like most of us are inclined to do. It instead humbles itself to the lordship of our Father by recognizing the pain that life brings, yet claims the same essence as Jesus did on the cross, “Not my will, but yours will be done!”
Trusting in The One Who Holds It All
That is what I loved most about this book, it reflects the same posture of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant,” (Philippians 2:6-7 NIV).
Michele Howe helps us to come to terms with our feelings and emotions, but she ultimately reminds us on how to give God the glory despite every trial. She empathizes with all different struggles, yet at the end of every chapter she continuously encourages readers to lift their heads to the One who holds it all. From Take Away-Action Thoughts to prayers, she offers humble guidance on how to seek God in the most authentic and gentle way.
Moving from Regret to Thankfulness
In Chapter 17, “Our Regrets,” Michele Howe shares a story of her friend Meg and her daughter Brittany, who had many regrets as a mother by treating her family with contempt and irritation. As we are facing the current pandemic on our hands, we may also be reflecting on our past and facing much regret as well. Whether it be having a bad attitude towards our family members and loved ones, to not taking advantages of the opportunities in our lives, it is easy to be overcome with regret and guilt when these thoughts come to haunt us.
Michele Howe writes in her Take-away Action Thought:
“When I start to feel the regret of past mistakes that have negatively impacted those I love, I will turn my heart toward Jesus and begin thanking him for always making up the difference in my lack of patience and perspective with his grace, strength, and power. I will turn my sorrow into godly joy and be thankful for Jesus’ perfect sacrifice for me.”
Just as Michele Howe suggests, when life feels like we are swimming against the current, we need to remember to trust the Lord and He will make our paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6). We need to ask the Lord to help us move past the painful memories and keep our focus on Him alone. There is a time to weep and lament, but we can still receive joy through having thankfulness.
Giving Thanks for a Perfectly Imperfect Life is a breath of fresh air in an overly polluted world. While the world is telling us to gain control over our lives which further ignites our inner perfectionist, Giving Thanks for a Perfectly Imperfect Life invites us to slow down and meditate on God’s goodness. It walks us through the validity of our feelings of pain, hurt, guilt, and more, yet still praises God through it all. Through a myriad of topics, I highly recommend this book for anyone that is in need of hope and a clearer mind to tread life’s most difficult circumstances.
“From the introduction to the final chapter… this book encourages us to give ourselves and others grace for the imperfect and to press on toward excellence, led by the Lord God. What a great gift for yourself, as well as those you love who need encouragement to keep going!” -Robyn Besemann, author of Chained No More.
Michele Howe is the author of numerous books for women and families, including
Deliver Us (2020), Joyous Faith: The Key to Aging with Resilience (2019), Strength for All Seasons: A Prayer Devotional (2019), Navigating the Friendship Maze (2018), There’s a Reason They Call it GRANDparenting (2017), Caring for Our Aging Parents: Lessons in Love, Loss, and Letting Go (2016), Preparing, Adjusting, and Loving the Empty Nest: A Companion to Empty Nest, What’s Next? (2017), Empty Nest, What’s Next? Parenting Adult Children without Losing Your Mind (2015), Burdens Do a Body Good (2010), Still Going It Alone (2008), and Going It Alone (1999).
She has published over 3,000 articles, reviews, and curricula, and has been interviewed on Focus on the Family several times.
By Helen Young, Marketing and Social Media Assistant.