Beating Back “Perfect”: Books for the Journey

I realized as I was editing and posting this “Beating Back ‘Perfect'” series (one, two, and three) many of my thoughts for the series have been impacted not only by a desire to show more grace to other mamas, but also by numerous books I’ve read that have encouraged me to rest in God’s grace instead of my efforts and anxiety.

So here they are :)

Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life by Emily P. Freeman

I read this a couple years ago so I’ve probably forgotten a bunch (I should actually probably read it again), but it showed me my “good girl” tendencies. At that point I knew that I used to be a perfectionist about things, but was convinced my room was too messy and my schoolwork too haphazard to qualify me for that title. Grace for the Good Girl helped me realize my tendency to care about what people thought about me (my life, spirituality, relationships, grades etc.) and to portray myself as perfect. it gave me some beginnings of the wisdom about how to deal with it and began to reveal to me the value of not putting on a front.

We connect better through our stories of failure than and admitting we can’t do it all than we do through our manicured fingernails.

Or lack thereof…:)

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown, PhD.

Brené Brown is a shame researcher and in this book she explores and defines an idea she calls “wholehearted Living”. She discovered this idea quite by accident and it took her years (and therapy) to sort through it in her own life and research. This books is full of that research, actual stories from people she interviewed in the process, and her own journey to living wholeheartedly instead of perfectly.

“Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done andhow much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”

Somehow I got through this book thinking “oh, I don’t know if this actually applies to me or inspires me” …but within a week of finishing it I had written these three posts and felt much better for it. It would seem I managed to internalize a lot even though I was apparently in denial and still convinced I could be perfect if I tried hard enough!

Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed by Glennon Doyle Melton

This. This book.

Is utterly hilarious.

Glennon writes about her life in its unedited glory. She is insightful, grace-giving, and space-making. We connect through our stories and she shares the stories we can all relate to. Not necessarily the stories of success (those are there), but the truths in the middle. The places where we all fail and get back up again. This is a book for parents, for moms, for people who have lived in families, and mostly just for people who know there is more to the story than that postcard-perfect Christmas picture or that perky Facebook one-liner.

Where we climb out of our suit of armor and show who we actually are.


The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out by Brennan Manning

I’ve shared about this book before here in these other posts :) so I won’t go into too much detail. It is a book written specifically to display the perfect grace our God displays to us even when we know we are lacking and less than perfect.

“To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God’s grace means.”

The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd-Jones (link goes to kindle edition)

This is a fun kids bible with colorful pictures and a wonderful emphasis on God’s “Never Stopping, Never Giving up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.” Ranger really likes this book and sometimes sits through a whole story at a time. Sometimes two. We gradually read through it in about 5 months and I plan on just repeating it again and again so he learns the stories. It’s good for me and him.



As I was looking through the books I’ve recently read for this post, I realized there were a lot of books I would like to share with you at some point. Books have always helped me, impacted my life, inspired me, and caused me to think, so I decided to share a list of 5-10 books every couple weeks for your enjoyment and encouragement. I hope you like it :)

Consider this the first post in my series: Books for the Journey

(This post contains affiliated links)

9 thoughts on “Beating Back “Perfect”: Books for the Journey

  1. Wow, I wanted to read all three. Immediately. I have been approached about giving some words of wisdom to women with regard to homemaking, parenting, being “wifely” etc. I’ll bet those books would be great to minister to the heart of affirmation-seeking, harried, over-zealous-for-perfection type of woman. I wonder will I have time to read them?


  2. Two of the books on this list are faves of mine too. Ragamuffin Gospel helped change my life years ago, and I love Brene Brown’s message. Also, the Jesus storybook bible is my favorite kids bible.


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