Wednesday, May 15, 2013

"Confessions of a Raging Perfectionist: learning to be free" by Amanda Jenkins (Tyndale Book Review)

From the moment I received this book in the mail, I was hooked!  As a (former/current/future) woman who deals with the bondage of self-imposed perfectionism, each word spoke to the deepest part of my soul, the part of me that I thought that nobody else understands, the part of me that I try to forget and ignore.

There is a secret part of me that is afraid of looking like I do not have it together - - - the part of me that needs God's strength and power to overcome my pride and fears - the part that longs for the stability of "perfectionism" to rule and keep my life in line.

After reading this book, I have been able to learn that Amanda knows those fears and has also looked through the bars of her own self-inflicted prison of perfectionistic thinking: thoughts about being a people pleaser, of trying to impress others, of not losing control over our lives.

The amazing thing is that we are not meant to be perfect; our imperfections are places where Grace can make it's home and do a work in our lives for God's Glory.  I was so touched to read of her experiences and learn of the Hope that comes from God's Truth - His Word - that she includes in each reflection.

I really enjoyed this book.  I am grateful that Amanda's blog posts were collected and put together for me to discover and enjoy reading again and again.  I have read the book once, but this time I mean to read it again, with a highlighter, and really devour it.


I welcome you to read the first chapter for yourself, free, at this link:  First Chapter


Amanda has also been so gracious and has given an author interview to Tyndale Publishing.

I am including it in it's entirety below.  (Found here)

About the Author . . . 

Amanda Jenkins attended Northwestern Bible College 
and graduated with a degree in biblical studies and communications. She has 
worked in sales and marketing for a number of Christian retailers, as well as 
in visual communications and advertising. For the past 14 years she has 
taught Bible studies for women of all ages and is passionate about 
communicating truth in a culturally relevant and humorous way. She lives just 
outside of Chicago with her husband, Dallas, and their four young children, 
including their newly adopted son.

1. What is your hope for this book, Confessions of a Raging Perfectionist?

That my transparency would get readers one step closer to freedom from their own impossible 
goals; that it would open their eyes to the strangleholds we sometimes don’t even see, but 
shape the way we think and spend our time; that it would get us laughing at the stuff we hide; 
that when brought into the open, things like vanity, materialism and desire for recognition 
would lose their power/hold on our minds and hearts.

2. In your book, you talk about your addiction to perfection. What were the signs that this was 
an issue for you?

Little things. For a long time, I didn’t let my husband see me without makeup. I got really 
upset/frazzled when people dropped by unexpectedly. I got easily embarrassed when I messed 
up, and I wouldn’t admit to struggling. And I thought I had life pretty together—that I actually 
didn’t struggle/mess up/sin as much as other people did. 

3. You talk about God speaking into your life, waking you up to the true cost of your addiction to 
perfection. Can you tell me about that?

Praying and listening to God have changed my life because they’ve changed the way I think. But 
in the beginning, it just good old-fashioned conviction. He’d been in my ear for a while, pointing 
out when I was being ruled by perfectionism—more accurately, by my insecurity and fear of 
being outed for NOT being perfect. After an embarrassing moment, He said to me very clearly, 
“You can fight the process, but this is happening. You’re taking off the mask. I suggest you get on 

4. Tell me about the journey of letting go of subtle yet destructive idols of perfectionism and 
replacing them with God’s truth. What did that look like for you? 

Simply put, I talk about my sin and the things I’m struggling with, to God and to others. It’s 
amazing how many opportunities there are in a day to be honest. And it’s amazing how being 
honest diminishes the power certain strangleholds have.

5. What advice might you give someone in your same situation so that God can release her from 
her obsession and accept the true freedom that comes through the love of Christ? 

Get specific with God first. Ask Him to show you not just what the strangleholds in your life are,
but all the ways they’re manifesting. Perfectionism was a stranglehold that was showing itself in 
all kinds of destructive ways in my life. And God dealt with them one by one, and being honest 
with and accountable to others was a part of that process for me. 

6. When did you realize that you had to share this story? What message do you hope will 
resonate with your readers?

As I started to share a little of my own struggles, I quickly realized I wasn’t the only one 
drowning; that my issues were common, and that being open and honest diminished their hold 
on my heart.

7. What encouragement would you provide to those who feel overwhelmed by their own 
perfectionist expectations? 

God doesn’t allow His kids to stay trapped when they don’t want to be. He baby-steps us, one
vice/chapter at a time. 

8. In your book, you talk about the “tragic irony” for Christian women of basing our self-worth 
on what we can and cannot get accomplished. Can you talk about that a bit?

The whole point of being rescued from our sin by Jesus is that we didn’t earn it. But then 
somewhere along the way, we start trying to deserve it—which means we’re prideful when 
we’re doing “well” (meeting our own expectations) and insecure when we’re not. The tragic 
irony is that we lose sight of the grace that saved us in the first place, for ourselves and 
everyone else. 

9. Is this something that is an ongoing struggle, or do you feel as if your perfectionist days are 
behind you?

I’m experiencing freedom I’ve never known before, but my perfectionism continues to rear its 
head. My standards for myself are still too high, but I’m aware of them and their 
destructiveness. I’m allowing God total access, and I’m working hard to surrender to the 
changes He’s making in my heart/mind. I’d say that God has my perfectionism on the run.

10. What is the best advice or encouragement that you have received?

Start talking and keep talking. Satan wants us to be quiet—to hide our sin from ourselves and 
everyone else. But sin gets bigger and more powerful in the dark, which is why God wants us to 
live in the light. So we need to talk. We need the encouragement and accountability that comes 
in numbers. And we need to share the stories of how God is rescuing us. Again

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Tyndale Blog Network