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About the Writer:
Joanne Sampl

With grown step-children, college age sons and a self-employed husband, Joanne offers her time to God and to others. Her interest in writing and communications brought her back to college as an adult and through several reinventions of her own business and ministries. With time on her hands, she writes about God and life.



Congratulations! You're a Normal Woman!

By Joanne Sampl

I was recently at a client’s office taking photographs of the staff for their website. Although I am not professionally trained in photography, I have learned a few tips and tricks to helping my subjects pose comfortably for the camera. One of the first things I do is listen to what each person says about how they feel about being photographed. This day was no different.

“I never like any photos of me,” the one woman warned me.

“I didn’t have any warning, so my hair is not right,” another woman let me know.

“Which jacket should I put on?”

“My eyes close when the camera flashes.”

“I’m always the one taking pictures so I don’t have to be in them.”

The complaints were multiple.

As the last woman took her place before the camera, and I restated my typical adjustments for posing, her lists were just as long as the other women I photographed. I blurted out my clearest observation to her. The rest of the office broke out in laughter.

“Congratulations! You’re a normal woman.”

There are very few, if any, women I know who love to have their photograph taken. It’s almost as bad as asking each woman to stand on the scale in front of a news camera. Taking a photograph of a woman brings out every hint of perfectionism she has, but most importantly, it brings out every whisper of criticism she’s every heard.

I wonder what God thinks when we criticize our appearance, His Creation.

One of the books I’ve been reading lately has a great title: “Grab a Broom, Lord…There’s Dust Everywhere!” It’s written by a clever author, Karon Phillips Goodman, and the tagline for the book is, “The Imperfect Woman’s Guide to God’s Grace.” Great title. Great book. Important lessons.

Some of the principles she brings out are very memorable. Here’s just a quick list of principles from the first 2 chapters:

  1. The Lord stands ready to help us with our imperfections because He understands them so well. He created us imperfect. Our imperfections don’t have to stop us from enjoying the amazing life He’s given us and from doing what we were born to do. He’s got them covered.
  2. He’s not surprised by our imperfections. In fact, it’s not perfection from us that God expects, but trust and growth and discipleship – asking for His unique help.
  3. God wants us to depend on Him not impress Him with our lack of need.
  4. Weak doesn’t equal worthless to God. He’s not bothered with what we are lacking because we don’t have to be perfect to do our work for Him, only committed and willing.

Second Corinthians 3:5 says: “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.”

The author asks some great questions to at the end of each chapter in a section she calls, “Looking through the dust…” Maybe it's time you answer them, too.

  • So, in what areas of your life do you obsess about being perfect? How do you feel when you can’t be perfect?
  • Can you say, “Don’t be so hard on yourself,” to others far more easily than to yourself? What’s the difference?
  • Do others recognize your need for perfection? How do you explain it to them? To God?
  • What work have you neglected or postponed because you felt too imperfect to do it? What would be a better step in your journey with God?

“Lord, in Your grace, please help me past this obsession with my perfections, and help me accept them instead and show them to You. Amen.”

The book is colorful, easy to read, and quite insightful. Of course, I did notice that the author’s photograph wasn’t on the back cover, so she is still also a normal woman just like us!



Copyright © November 10, 2006 – Joanne Sampl. All rights reserved.


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