Friday, June 26, 2015

you really don't need to be perfect

Like many people, Sandra McCollom didn't quite understand that we can only do some much. Like many people she was never satisfied with what she was doing, was always trying to do more, and do it all better. She wanted to be perfect. And perhaps as it is for many of us, wanted is quite strong enough:it was like she needed to be perfect. I Tried Until I Almost Died: From Anxiety and Frustration to Rest & Relaxation  (Waterbrook Press, 2015) is her story of finding grace and realizing that she could never be 'good enough' to earn God's love, it's a gift, and it's freely given. You don't have to be perfect to receive God's grace, nor, once you've accepted that precious gift, you don’t have to be perfect to continue enjoying it.
Part I is aptly titled "Breaking Free" and involves helping the reader understand that those needs we have to be 'good enough' or even perfect, do nothing but incarcerate us in a prison of our own making. The prison may not have bars, but the psychological bars and chains are just as effective in keeping us locked up in a place that prevents us from becoming all that God wants us to be, and from enjoying the life He has planned for us.
Part II is a powerful reminder that no, we're not good enough, but don't despair, Jesus loves us just the way we are, but there are still things we can do that please God. Above all is the strong message that all the things that we might think we "have to" do are nowhere near as important in God's eyes, as they are in our own eyes.
Grace is what really matters, God’s Grace, and McCollom explains how the grace filled life frees us from those self-imposed prisons, and lets us have life, and have it abundantly.
 Although this is a personal story, I never felt like I was able to connect with the author, with her despair, or with her joy.  I might, in a pastoral role, give a copy of this book to someone who is overly concerned with being perfect, being good enough, and doing enough. This book might be helpful, at the appropriate time, for someone leaving a 'works-based' religion. I would caution however, that for someone trying to break out of the prison that McCollum describes, reading this book part 2 of this book might just lead that person to exchange one set of chains for another.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my review.  The opinions expressed are my own.


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