Should You Try Harder?
by Steph Beth Nickel
I’ve never written a book review for Janet’s blog. But today I’d like to share one I wrote for HopeStreamRadio.
Before I purchased the e-version of You Don’t Have to Try Harder by Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory, I debated whether I needed one more book. I have hundreds, if not thousands, of physical and ebooks awaiting my attention, more than I’ll likely ever read. However, this was a purchase well worth making.
Below is my invitation for you to read this book along with me. You see … I just got started.
You Don’t Have to Try So Hard is the newest book by Kathi Lip and Cheri Gregory. And it looks like it’s going to be perfect … well, not perfect exactly, but we’ll get to that.
I read the introduction this morning and can’t wait to dig in.
Kathi Lipp opens the book like this: “No one would ever label me a perfectionist. You can’t eat off my floor. (Well, you could, but I wouldn’t suggest it.)”
I can relate already.
Further into the intro, Kathi gives three insightful examples of what she calls “the bully of perfectionism.”
“I will pick up the check … because I feel that I’ve taken up the other person’s time.”
“I will run out the night before an event and spend too much on clothes so that I appear to fit in.”
“I spend ten times more time worrying about how other people feel … than being concerned about my own health in these relationships.”
Do you see yourself in any of these statements?
She ends by saying, “Perfectionism isn’t Christian. It’s just crazy.”
Although Cheri Gregory’s mother apologized to her daughter’s husband when she saw the state of their home, Cheri’s perfectionism surfaced in other ways.
She was …
“A student who argued for the extra point when she got 99 percent …”
“A teacher who skipped family gatherings because she couldn’t face her students until her lesson plans were just right.”
“A wife who tried to overhaul her husband so she could finally have a happy marriage.”
When she realized it wasn’t simply a matter of trying harder, she went to the other extreme.
She became …
“An employee who didn’t speak up during staff meetings so her input couldn’t get shot down.”
“A friend who let a call from a BFF in crisis go to voice mail because she felt too inadequate to answer.”
“A pastor’s wife who skipped church because her own family drama had left her too drained to put on her game face for the day.”
Both authors realized the “try harder” motto simply didn’t work.
They came to this conclusion: “There is no nice, polite way to do this. There’s no easy way to leave the life that’s been expected of us and to start living the brave, not-so-neatly-tied-up life God is calling us to.”
If you’re ready to learn how to live the life God is calling you to and abandon the idea that you can do so simply by making more of an effort, by trying harder, then you may want to add You Don’t Have to Try So Hard to your To Be Read pile of books.
Chapters include …
Meet the Bullies of Try-Harder Living, Take Your First Brave Steps, Perfect is for Pinterest, Give Yourself a Time Out, No More Last Minute, Enough Really is Enough, and others.
The authors have several lofty goals for this book, ones many—if not most—of us are in the process of learning.
Kathi and Cheri invite us to …
“Exchange outdated views of who [we] ‘should be’ for a clear vision of who [we] are in Christ.”
“Take control of that too long to-do list …”
“Stop striving to maintain an image and live with more freedom …”
“Overcome the tyranny of ‘more’ and live radically with the abundance of ‘enough.’”
“Stop trying to earn others’ approval and learn to rest in God’s lavish, unconditional love.”
Does any of this sound good to you?
Yeah, me too!
So, today I invite you to pick up your own copy of You Don’t Have to Try So Hard and learn how to overcome the bully of perfectionism—whether we can eat off your floor or not.
Stephanie (Steph Beth) Nickel is an award-winning co-author, a freelance editor and writer, a labour doula, and a former personal trainer. She also loves to speak, teach, and take slice-of-life photos. She would love to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter.