A Breakup That Will Actually Bring You Joy

Author Amy Carroll’s new book gives hope and encouragement to those struggling with the need to be perfect. Women often find themselves in unhealthy relationships. However, there’s one relationship that they often don’t realize is so harmful to their lives: the relationship with perfect. Amy Carroll, speaker for Proverbs 31 Ministries, recognized her struggle with the desire for perfectionism and is seeking to help other women break free and live in authenticity. In her new book, Breaking Up with Perfect, Carroll hopes to inspire her readers so that they can have deeper relationships and more joy in their lives. She’s discovered just how key stepping away from pursuing perfect is in her own life.

“I had gotten to a point where I could not feel God’s love for me,” she said. “I was so tired from trying to work to feel His love. He’s been deepening my love for Him as I let go of my own perfection and resting in the work He’s doing in me. That perfection work is gentle, it’s full of grace, and it it’s overflowing with love.”

In Breaking Up with Perfect, Carroll says there are two types of women who struggle with perfectionism: those with the “Good Girl List,” who think they have to earn approval and love from everyone and ultimately come to the conclusion of, “I must work to be perfect so God will love me.” Then, there are those with the “Never Good Enough List,” who believe they can never attain enough approval and conclude that, “I’m not perfect, so God will never love me.” While the desire to be perfect may begin in a good place, Carroll said it becomes warped in the fallen nature of individuals.

“I think our Creator made us with this understanding of who He is—it’s perfection in the most beautiful way,” she said. “The problem is that we start to make the wrong assumptions. The Good Girl tries to work harder, while the Never Good Enough Girl says, ‘I never can, but I’m going to die trying.’”

Carroll knows what it’s like to have a Good Girl List, and her need for constantly seeking perfection for herself even led to expectations of perfect in those around her. This hindered many of her relationships—a reality that she said God revealed to her before starting to change her heart in ways she hadn’t imagined.

“In that process of breaking up with perfect, a lot of it was letting go of my idea of what perfect was—those pictures of what I thought in my head that perfect looked like,” Carroll said. “When you get rid of those pictures of perfection, that’s when grace comes in. Authenticity is the antidote of isolation, and this allowed me to be more authentic.”

Breaking Up with Perfect provides its readers with a “Lie of Perfection” followed by a “Truth of God’s Love” at the beginning of each chapter. It’s not about embracing perfection but, rather, redefining perfect by allowing Jesus to do perfect work within. Carroll has even come up with a word for it: Himperfection.

“It’s the word that describes God’s perfect work in us,” she said. “It combines God’s power and our weakness, and that’s a place of rest. I’ve wrestled against that for so long because I didn’t want to be weak. But when I rested in it, that’s when God started to do His work.”