Just So

February 23, 2009 | 13 comments

The teacher’s words were a beacon of warning clear back in the sixth grade. She wrote them on the autobiography I had written as part of a class assignment.

“You are a wonderful student, Jennifer, and you have perfectionist qualities, but be careful of perfectionism. It can be a dangerous thing,” she wrote.

I had worked hard for that A+. I didn’t want an A-, or even an A. I wanted the “+.”

I worked hours and hours on my autobiography, carefully clipping out pictures and news clippings. I wrote a detailed story on what I expected my future to hold. I wrote that I, Jennifer Dukes, would become a writer, a book author, a psychologist. I would marry a handsome man and have twins — one girl and one boy. I would live to be 105 years old.

The teacher wrote: “You sure have your future all spec’d out. But remember: There are many tomorrows, and you never know what each day will hold.”

Fast-forward 25 years. Meet Jennifer Dukes Lee, Chronic Perfectionist.

When will I learn my sixth-grade lesson?

***

The ugly face of perfectionism struck home repeatedly last week: in my Bible study, my actions, my reactions, and even here at GDWJ.

During my study of Esther last week, Beth Moore encouraged us to pinpoint our deepest fears. I’ve determined that I’m not scared of many things, but the fear I do have could cripple me if I let it. This fear is so selfish and prideful, that it’s painful to even admit.

My fear: not getting things “just so.” In life, I want the A+. And if I can’t make an “A”, I don’t want to try at all.

“Be careful of perfectionism,” my teacher’s words ring in my ears. “It can be a dangerous thing.”

When will I learn the sixth-grade lesson?

***

The lesson hit home again this morning, when I saw that the “followers” on my blog had suddenly been cut by one-third. I immediately began the internal, irrational questioning, wagging an accusing finger for “not getting something right” and “turning readers away.”

Rational thought quickly calmed the initial panic. In all probability, the problem is most likely due to a Blogger error. But what if that wasn’t the case? What if all my “followers” suddenly disappeared? Would I be OK with just an Audience of One, the Only One who really matters?

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. — Galatians 1:10


Father God, Help me to live and breathe for You alone. Let my efforts in my life — at home, in ministry, here at GDWJ — bring glory to You alone. I pray now the words of my friend, when she humbly says, “Lord, I will fall flat on my face if it brings You glory. Even if I look like a fool in the process.” Father, let Your will for my life be more important than my “A.” Help me seek Your approval, and Yours alone. In Jesus’ name …

by | February 23, 2009 | 13 comments

13 Comments

  1. Darlene

    hmmmmm. you need to come over to my post for today. weird…

    And by the way, While I have already figured out that you are not perfect (like everyone else!!), I have definitely figured out that you are a precious, smart, great-writing, deep, lovely, child of the King Himself.

    so blessed to follow your blog.
    Darlene

    Reply
  2. Darlene

    forgot to say, thank you for reminding all of us of our true Audience.

    of One.

    Reply
  3. Kristi Lloyd

    Jennifer – Although I do not myself have a blog site – I am at GDWJ follower! I look forward to reading each new entry – you are such a beautiful person (and I mean that inside/out)
    Kristi L.

    Reply
  4. God's Not Finished With Us Yet...

    I agree Kristi, Jennifer your posts are always hearfelt and amazing…..they always teach me in various ways.

    BTW….go to my site where I posted about Blogger Follower Issues and see if it works for you….
    Hugs,
    Me! 😀

    Reply
  5. mom2six

    Apparently I develped follower issues. But thanks to Sarah at God’s Not Finished With Us Yet I hope I have correct that. I enjoy your blog. You are honest and real and point others to Jesus. That is a beautiful thing to read!
    In Jesus, Nancy

    Reply
  6. Hope42Day

    Oh…have had these feelings…not so much at home but always at work! And it so hard to kick them out of the way! I struggle when making mistakes. And ironically, my work environment is stressful at all!!! Thank you for the gentle reminders and the most important one of all-God. I loved your prayer as well.

    Reply
  7. Carol

    Hey, I lost some followers today too, and it bothered me a bit….but as you said, and Bill Cofey said…..it really is all about glorifying God, not about how many followers. I DO loving following you, though and find it a wonderful connection you and I have, if in this busy world, I can read about you, about Him, with you in this way, I think He would approve. Love you, Carol

    Reply
  8. God's Not Finished With Us Yet...

    I agree with that Carol; it’s about bringing glory to Christ not the number of followers we collect, however, there is a lot of blessings others can get by clicking on some of those followers. For instance there were several followers I wouldn’t have met if I didn’t see their photo on someone else’s list. That’s why I have above my following list ‘Please pick one of their images and be blessed by their sites’. We all want to glorify God, but we can meet new friends of His by also building Godly friendships, which we meet through other’s blogs. It’s a blessing for me at least to go to a blog, and sometimes click a random image to visit their site and be so blessed from it. That’s how I view it. The following list shouldn’t be viewed as a ‘count’ but as a means to meet, build, encourage and love more blogs that desire to love Jesus just as we do. And we can minister to them at the same time, which is awesome.

    Reply
  9. Jennifer

    Thank you all for stopping by! Sounds like this was a Blogger-wide problem, but I believe it has been a “good” problem — as it has caused some of us to examine why we do what we do. And that’s always a positive thing.
    I enjoy each of your blogs as well. We’ll see you soon!

    Reply
  10. lynnrush

    What a great reminder. Audience of One is really all we should care about, right?

    So difficut…..

    Reply
  11. isumom

    Although I am far from a perfectionist, I am raising one! I don’t think this is because we as parents are pushing her to be the best, but because she has two older siblings who are high-achievers and she longs to keep up. It is a tough thing to watch, even though she is achieving her goals it still hurts as a parent to see her expect so much of herself. Do you feel the pain of so called “failure”?

    You are the third child Jennifer…is that the “syndrome” they get? I guess I am the third child too and it didn’t get me 🙂 Anyway, I am happy to read your blog, be it perfect or not, you are a fantastic writer and it means so much to me to get to know you better now that we are adults.

    Striving to reach the stars is not a “fault” it is just a way to make you reach a little higher towards God. Not a bad thing! Let yourself fail and fall once in awhile…He will be there to catch you and prop you back up.

    Reply
  12. Chris Godfredsen

    Wow, how I can relate to this. I look so forward to sharing with you face to face some of my weekend, how God was with me in each and every thing that took place, and how He doesn’t really need us to achieve anything, but rather lets us in on what He is doing.

    I have been inabsentia from the blogosphere for some time with all that was going on in my world, and clicked in for the first time today to see that I, too, had lost followers. Had all the same thoughts, as you and had come to the same conclusion – may anything and everything I do be ALL about Jesus!

    I love to receive comments, but moreso love to be used by God in His redemptive work on this planet, in our lives.

    Enough rambling…I love GDWJ and your worshipful heart!

    Reply
  13. Chris Godfredsen

    Wow, how I can relate to this. I look so forward to sharing with you face to face some of my weekend, how God was with me in each and every thing that took place, and how He doesn’t really need us to achieve anything, but rather lets us in on what He is doing.

    I have been inabsentia from the blogosphere for some time with all that was going on in my world, and clicked in for the first time today to see that I, too, had lost followers. Had all the same thoughts, as you and had come to the same conclusion – may anything and everything I do be ALL about Jesus!

    I love to receive comments, but moreso love to be used by God in His redemptive work on this planet, in our lives.

    Enough rambling…I love GDWJ and your worshipful heart!

    Reply

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