Letting Go Of Your Grip Of Perfection -- By: Kimberly Campbell
JBMW 17:2 (Fall 2012) p. 54
Letting Go Of Your Grip Of Perfection
A Review of Amy Spiegel, Letting Go of Perfect: Women, Expectations, and Authenticity (Nashville: B&H, 2012)
Wife, Mother, Freelance Writer
Durham, North Carolina
Walk into a bookstore, and in the Christian women’s section you’ll find books for virtually every type of woman: singles, mothers, mothers to multiples, young, college-age, aging, new wives, wives without children, widows, and the list goes on. Seldom do I find a book that very intentionally applies to all women, but Amy Spiegel’s Letting Go of Perfect is that book. She seeks to help women leave behind the standard in their mind of the “prefect Christian woman”—a standard usually derived more from society than from God’s own standards for our roles as women, wives, and mothers. Spiegel is a very relational author. She shares her life with her readers and makes herself an open book. She writes not only about her success stories and moments of applause, but also about her failures, anxieties, and fears.
Chapters 1, 3, and 4 deal with our reactions and commitments to what comes our way in life. Chapter 1 discusses marriage, God’s timing, and especially whom we marry. Many women have an ideal “Mr. Darcy” in mind, and Spiegel encourages her readers to investigate what God has in mind for our marriage. Chapter 3 looks at a woman’s life with children: “The experience of becoming a parent enlightened me a great deal on the subject of suffering and the role it plays in our lives” (36). Parenting seldom goes along our time schedule even if we have mastered the art of “babywise.” In chapter 4 Spiegel addresses the chaos and monotony of a woman’s daily schedule. “I was willing to forego the pleasures of this world,” she writes, “for the sake of lesson planning and sleep schedules” (49). If we could pencil our imaginary timeline of how life-events should occur, what would it look like, and how would it correspond to reality? Spiegel encourages women not to make an idol of the perfect schedule but to plan responsibly and live each day as it comes. While the author’s life looks very different than mine, Jer 29:11 applies to us both: God plans our lives, and his plans are best.
Chapter 2, aptly titled “Vanity’s Flair,” talks about our pursuit of perfection in our appearances. This particular chapter spoke volumes to me because I’m pregnant, and pregnancy guarantees a less-than-worldly-perfect body. “The struggle to keep our heads above water and avoid drowning in a sea of either self-loathing or self-worship is constant” (23). This may just be the toughest area of perfectionism for most women in a society filled ...
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