Picture Perfect: When Life Doesn't Line Up

New Growth


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About: Picture Perfect.

As a culture, we have a love-hate relationship with perfectionism. We reward perfectionists for their insistence on setting high standards and their tireless efforts to achieve them. But psychologists link perfectionism with a host of problematic behaviors ranging from eating disorders to risk aversion to workaholism. Perfectionism is a crushing burden that can leave us angry, anxious, and paralyzed. 

Is the solution just to “lighten up”? In Picture Perfect, counselor and author Amy Baker challenges the popular notion that perfectionists need to lower their standards. After carefully examining Scripture and drawing from 25 years of counseling experience, Baker concludes, “The problem is not that our standards are too high and we just need to lighten up. The problem is that God’s instruction to be perfect in Matthew 5:48 doesn’t lead us to see how desperately we need him and drive us to our perfect Savior.”

Helping readers to dig beneath the frustration of perfectionism, Baker exposes what drives our perfectionism and shows how Christ’s perfection changes our motives, beliefs, desires, fears, anxieties, and goals. Readers will discover that only God’s grace can transform the aching “not enough” of perfectionism into the overflowing abundance of faith.


I have found in my own counseling ministry that perfectionism is a major problem that dominates the lives of too many Christians. It robs them of their joy in Christ and makes them difficult to live around. Dr. Amy Baker has poured into this critical work great wisdom that comes from years of her own personal counseling ministry. Her approach to this destructive problem is refreshingly insightful because she takes the sufficiency of God’s Word seriously. Not only does this enable her to unscramble the real problem biblically, but it also enables her to prescribe practical answers with scriptural insight.

-John D. Street, Chair of the MABC Graduate Program, The Master’s College; president, the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC)

I’ve been a pastor and counselor for over twenty-five years now and this is a book I’ll be handing out! Christians sing about amazing grace, but too often still live by the law of their own hard work and perfectionistic striving. Amy’s done a great job tackling an issue that flies right in the face of the gospel and God’s grace but seldom gets addressed head-on or with the insights that Amy brings to this subject. She exposes not only the hub of the perfectionistic heart, but so many of the related sinful "spokes’" that are connected to this one heart issue—guilt, fear, pride, anxiety, and heightened sensitivity to criticism. And she diagnoses and explains it all so well with practical examples and clear, biblical teaching. Amy doesn’t just point out the danger; she shows you where and how to get free and rest in God’s grace. This book brings you back to the only perfect person—our Savior, Jesus Christ.

-Brad Bigney, MDiv, Pastor, Grace Fellowship in Florence, KY; ACBC certified counselor; author of Gospel Treason: Betraying the Gospel with Hidden Idols


About the Author

Author Amy Baker, Ph.D., is Ministry Resource Director at Faith Church in Lafayette, Indiana. A counselor certified with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC, formerly NANC), Amy is also a Biblical Counseling Coalition council board member; instructor and counselor at Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries; and Vision of Hope residential treatment center board member. She and her husband Jeff have two children. 

Amy explains how her passion for gospel-centered biblical counseling and discipleship leads her to write: “Writing is my faltering attempt to share with others the God who has rescued me and become my rock and strong tower,” she says. “As I grow in my understanding of how magnificent God is and taste his love and grace, I don’t want anyone else to miss out on this.”