About the Author

Mary is a writer and speaker who lives for good books, spicy queso, and television marathons – but lives because of God’s grace. She writes about giving up on perfect and finding truth in unexpected places at MaryCarver.com. Mary and her husband live in Kansas City with their two daughters.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Hi Mary, It is Ok for me if the truth my loved ones share with me lines up with God’s words.

    Am I perfect? No, Can I try a little harder next time? May be or Yes.

    “I am not who I am by how much I try to be perfect but entirely by God’s loving grace”.

    Thank you for this inspiring post. It got me thinking.
    God Blessings to you.


  2. Mary,
    I haven’t been on the computer for a couple of days because I was in an OCD anxiety/depression episode. When the OCD hits, the enemy is fast on its heels to kick me when I’m down. In this state it is really hard for the truth to sink in…my doubting mind is in overdrive.

    Fortunately, I have a couple wonderful friends who “get me” and they speak truth over me when it’s only the lies that I hear. One thing I need to cling to is that the lies are just feelings…they may seem very real, but if they don’t line up with the facts of scripture then they simply aren’t truth. When the OCD or just everyday insecurities creep up I have to weigh them against what does God’s truth say about me. Having friends that will speak God’s truth into my aching heart is a true gift. Thanks for your honest and sincere post…

  3. Lately there’s been a story on my mind, and so I smiled when your post reminded me of it once again. I was in about fourth grade, and it was summer. A friend and I were walking back from the school where we had just picked up our report cards. She was a grade ahead of me, and she was telling me about all the cool things I would learn the next year. But instead of excited, I started to get that quick-breathing anxiety. With worry, I asked her, “What if I can’t learn all that?” In her little kid voice she said, “Don’t worry about it! When it’s time, you’ll be able to learn it. You’ll be ready.” That simple statement has stuck with me my entire life through college, marriage, having babies, fighting childhood cancer. When it was time, I have learned one life lesson after another. God always knew when it was time. My friend probably doesn’t even remember that conversation; we never know how much our encouragement can mean to someone else.

    Jenni @ http://genuflected.com

  4. Dear Mary, What if the words you’re hearing from friends don’t line up with scripture? It’s been rampant in society, even Christian society, that we ‘should’ be eating organic and sugar is bad, among other things. I think this is a lie. It’s a lie that leads to waste and expense that prevents us from feeding the poor. Jesus said, it’s not what goes into the mouth that makes you unclean. So, when I’ve had health problems people around me have tried to encourage me to live by their diet. This doesn’t line up with Peter being told he could eat anything. At least for me it doesn’t. Other friends have told me not to trust the doctors. Christian friends telling me not to trust the doctors. But, Love always trusts. God is love, and He is in me. And I know God can use any doctor to do his will. Lately, my struggle with community, Christian community, has been finding friends that actually speak the truth.
    So yes, I admit, I often shrug off what they say because it doesn’t line up with what the Holy Spirit has been speaking to me.

  5. Greetings and Blessings..

    This post gave much to ponder. Insecurity has seemed to weave it’s weary threads within me as well, affecting thoughts and emotions..sigh..but I had blamed many insecurities on the fact that I felt deprived of “positive-input” in my life as a child and teen. There were so many “tragedies” going on in the family all the time- so my Mom really was hard pressed- and spent. Four kids- no father in the home..financial troubles, etc.

    Growing up feeling “slighted” can leave one feeling they have to work harder to gain approval and acknowledgment- and it seemed to me that others were always so much better and deserving than myself. (I still struggle in this area). I had never considered the effect of having parents speaking “positive” into their child’s life..I always thought “THAT” was what I had been missing..but to hear your story- it opened up a new door in my mind, that even having “THAT” is not the “cure-all” for becoming the secure woman God designed us to become.

    Hmm.. Reminder that things are NOT always what they seem to be.. I would have been jealous of someone like you- because you seemed to have had what I longed for; for what my mind was telling me “WAS” the answer.. I recall so many times I wish my mother would have had more time to even notice me or pay attention or acknowledge me- I wish she could have spoken positive about me or my future..some kind of encouragement from her own heart toward me. Yes, self-pity has tagged alongside the insecurity..another sigh..

    What the bottom line is..where is true security found..where is that beautiful place of acceptance gained..where can that firm foundation be found for our feet and hearts.. and that is why we are here sharing..because deep inside we know where it is found..maybe we just need reminders and encouragement along the way. What I wonder is: why cling so much to insecurity when it is terribly uncomfortable and confining–it is like a thief-stealing joy, peace, freedom and creativity..

    God help us on this journey to grow to cling to You and your Great Truth’s instead and please loose those threads that have us bound to insecurity..God You see the hearts, You know the places we have been, the roads walked, the influences throughout our lives.. and You know the longings to be free–Please remind us even this day how far reaching Your Love is, how encompassing- how reliable, how safe and personal.. In Jesus Great and Mighty Name.. Amen.. Blessings..

    • Sarah,
      Your story is SOOOO much like mine! Except the fact I did have a father in the home but he was “absent” emotionally. Both Mom and Dad had to work full time to care for 7 kids. Not much time left over to love , nurture and encourage. I was very responsible at the age of 10 (I was the eldest) and for many years was resentful. Now I AM free because I know for the first time since salvation that I am in the middle of God’s will. What a wonderful, joyous thing this is. Insecurity (had LOTS of that) can be vanquished by the love and grace of Jesus, our Lord and Savior.
      I thank Mary, too, for this post…I needed to take it in my heart.

    • Lisa, made an error in listing my post under “Sarah” It was meant for a comment under yours…

    • Lisa, thank you for sharing your heart and prayer. I definitely was blessed with parents who encouraged and supported me, but you’re absolutely right that our security only comes from the Lord (no matter what our families and friends tell us!).

  6. Mary,
    What if my best is good enough? What if it is not? It is a delicate and difficult balance for me to encourage myself and others to “do the best” that we can and yet at the same time remain deeply aware that I am/we are loved regardless of my/our performance. You are so “on point” with communicating about this internal struggle that we all have as women.
    To be honest, I usually error on the side of pressuring myself which, automatically and dramatically, reduces the quality of my performance. I tend not to perform very well at all when I feel like I am being judged; even when I am the judge.
    On the flip side, when I am free to give it “my best” and I remember that how well I perform will not change God’s love for me… When I remember that God is just glad that I am trusting Him and out there trying and “doing my best”… that is when I actually “do my best”.
    I like to picture God as my True Father who is extremely proud of His daughter and loves her if she is the smartest in the school, the best on the team, the finest on the stage, or not. I hear God saying, “See the girl in the front row with the red hair? That’s my daughter!!!” I see His eyes beam with delight at me and I know for sure that I am loved.
    Mary, I love that you point back to the scriptures that remind us that we are loved regardless of our performance…and even greater comfort…that we are loved in spite of our performance. This sure foundation of unconditional love and acceptance frees me to actually do my best!!! Life becomes more FUN!!! I become more alive and I shine brighter. I feel God’s love all around me and I dance freely for my Father. It’s my Father-daughter dance. One thing I know for sure, God delights to see His little girls dance.
    Dare to dance, Kristi

    • Kristi, I hear you. It is definitely a tough balance between those two perspectives. I want to be a good steward of what God has given me (both abilities and opportunities), but at the same time I want to remain mindful of the truth that nothing I do can make God love me more or less. It’s why I have to point myself back to scripture. On my own, I am just a tangle of crazy! 🙂

  7. I too was raised in a home where performance and doing equaled acceptance and love. To this day I base my worth on what I am able to accomplish, but now because of my type A personality and other factors, I have a chronic illness. God has shown me through my illness, that He loves me, for me, not what I can do. I still struggle with this, it’s as if my security lies in a to do list. I am tired of striving to be what others think I should be. I want to rest in the security of Gods love and promises. I guess that insecure child, still likes to make appearances, to be seen and loved for who she is and not what she does.

  8. Beautiful post, Mary. I missed last week’s, but I’m going to look for it. Do I have trouble believing truths friends speak to me? Oh yes . . . but not as much as I used to.

    Growing up with rejection from my peers at a young age left many scars and lies. When friends speak truth to those wounds in my life now, it’s so easy to think, “Yeah, but if they really knew me, they’d run the other way.” I’m learning that if I reject the truths friends speak to me, in a way, I’m rejecting what God says about me.

    This isn’t good. And this little truth this is helping me to embrace the words trusted friends share with me when I need to hear it.

    I so appreciate your vulnerability. Thank you for sharing!

    • I’m so glad this post spoke to you, Jeanne. Thank you for sharing your heart here. I’m encouraged to hear about your journey and how you’re learning to trust friends who speak Truth!

  9. Oh my WORD! I will GLADLY join in on this week’s prayer for these kinds of truth-speaking, encouraging friends. And I want to BE one of these friends, too.

    The insecurity I’m facing right now is very similar to the one you were describing. What if my “best” just isn’t very good? What if what I THOUGHT God was pushing me towards is completely wrong? What if I’m missing what God has for me because I’m too caught up in what I want to do and what I think is fun?
    It echoes over and over. And being in a new city, myself, it’s been worse than usual because I don’t have any close friends nearby, just yet. I’m in touch with good friends from a distance, but it’s much harder when you aren’t nearby or seeing each other regularly, so I’m eager to have this again and BE this again to someone.
    I really do struggle with my place in life, sometimes. Finding enough time to do it all and struggling with stretching myself too thin amongst things I think I’m supposed to be doing. Taking a leap into where I feel I’m being nudged isn’t easy. And I need to start with believing the truth about who I am and what God has for me – no matter what the task at hand may be, I cannot earn God’s love for me nor change his mind about me.

    Thank you for sharing and being so vulnerable!

    • Hope, thank you so much for sharing your heart with us! I pray that God will make His love and His will clear to you, that He will provide you with community to encourage you and courage to do those things He’s calling you to in this season!

    • Hope,

      Prayers for good Christian friends to come quickly! May God bless you with a clear vision for your life!!! Prayers for a great community of friends and believers that you can share with!

      Blessings 🙂

  10. I very much relate to this. I haved lived my whole life with insecurities doubt and fear. When friends or loved ones counsel me I immediately discount thier words. I know this is crazy but I continue to let my feelings and thoughts rule me. I am fighting the battle by praying and reciting scripture to renew my mind but it is overwhelming. This post has been an encouragement. Just to know other women have walked in my shoes and I am not alone. I want to see the light again. Thank you for sharing.

    • I’m so glad this post was an encouragement to you, Mary. I pray God will use His word and your community to continue speaking Truth and Light to you.

  11. I felt like you had somehow gotten access to some deep recesses of my heart and mind and written down what you found with some of those questions. I didn’t realise how much this has been bubbling in me of late until I read this. Thanks for the reminder. I need to make a greater investment in those friendships which have the potential to be those truth-tellers for me.

  12. Mary,

    Over the past few years I’ve had the I’m not good enough, smart enough attitude with my job. I feel like I’ve failed my husband because I left a safe job/career that I was comfortable with to try something new. Basically I’m not as good as most in my field (medical–CMA). I’ve come to understand that my hubby was right I don’t like my career choice and want to quit my job.

    Growing up I wasn’t always allowed to do stuff & show people that I had a brain. It is hard now when it “appears” I have failed to not believe the lies of the devil! I also have low self esteem–so that makes it much worse.

    I read the Bible daily and do Bible study with church so I have a store house of verses memorized. That helps some, but the devil can speak really loud at times!

    Blessings 🙂

    • Hey Beth,

      I’m so sorry to hear that you’re struggling with that. I can’t imagine trying to process that and figure out how to handle it. But God can. I know you know that! I’ll pray that He shows you the best path through your current situation, but also that He makes you absolutely certain of His love that doesn’t rely on anything you can ever do or not do. He loves you, period.

  13. Thank you for sharing and being transparent and honest. Both of my daughters are struggling these days. My older daughter is in her first year at college and away from home. She is struggling to find joy, peace, contentment in where God has placed her. She made the decision to choose a college away from home but often regrets it and wonders when she will love college like everyone else. She also has an auto immune condition which she is not managing very well, so it contributes to her stress. She is usually such a bubbly and outgoing personality.

    My younger daughter is a junior in high school and suffers from depression and anxiety, often debilitating her or causing her to spend many hours sleeping. She has always been introverted but loves opportunities to spend time with close friends. But it’s not enough these days to keep feelings of loss and disappointment away. We were not aware of the severity of her struggles until she ended up in the hospital this summer.

    I want to be encouraging and uplifting, pointing them to Christ when they confide in me or when I see them struggling. Most of the time, I just feel discouraged and overwhlemed. I try to read God’s word and be encouraged myself by His love for me. But I still feel that I must not have done the best I could have done for them as a mom. I stayed home with them, got involved in their school and activities, and even homeschooled them after elementary school…so how can they be suffering so much? Is it the life that I modeled to them of insecurity or criticism or not walking by faith, not trusting in God? Trying daily to not listen to Satan’s lies and believing in God’s words love, acceptance, and hope from His word and accepting encouragement from trusted friends.

  14. Hi Mary! I love this post. I used to tell my sons that they should do their best everyday, but that I knew that their best today and their best tomorrow may not always be the same. I always believed that about them, but have trouble applying it to myself. Scripture always helps, but I have to read it to know that!