I'm finally sitting down to write because I just can't hold this in. Will these words change your life? Maybe not. But I can't shake the feeling that this post needs to be written. Someone else may need to hear this. Or maybe it's just supposed to be there as a concrete reminder for myself. Either way.....
I am a perfectionist. I don't think I've ever fully owned that title. Such negativeness is bestowed when you use it I never would want to be labeled that way. But yet there it is. I was raised to work hard and do my best at everything. I work in healthcare and long ago realized that every decision I make literally effects the lives of people's loved ones. There's no room for error - so perfection is the standard. One of the Bible verses I used as a weekly devotional when I used to teach online courses was "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men (Colossians 3:23 NASB)". And it became so tightly knit into who am I and what I do. Years ago I thought frequently on how my work ethic impacted those around me, that I no longer consciously think of it. My day to day is permeated by the desire to do everything the best. With nothing but excellence.
But that means anything but perfection falls short.
I truly think I was given the gift of planning. My husband will say over and over again how I think through so many steps in the future, trying to determine all the things that could have an impact on our decision in order to craft the most effective plan. But without meaning to, any attempt at scheduling or executing a task that isn't done my way, could have been done better. Plain & simple - it isn't good enough. Gives new meaning to the old adage 'my way or the highway'.
And that means hard conversations with my husband when the dishwasher wasn't run and how I feel compelled to stay up an hour later to empty it before bed. Or being upset with myself that I didn't remember to grab the coupon for Michael's on my way out the door, so now it's an extra trip back to the house with a crying baby or spending more than necessary. And I beat myself up and load on cinderblocks of guilt.
But guess what. Grace. It's the solution.
I wrote back here that my word & focus for the year was 'grace'. I knew I was taking on too much. Too many days I would spend feeling like I was drowning in my to-do list. I was always behind and falling further by the minute. And I knew I needed to grant myself grace in each day knowing that I did my best, without sacrificing chances to make memories with my family because of my high expectations. But honestly - it's been a struggle.
Since I wrote that post, God has placed that word so clearly in my path on a regular basis. In a random blog post I ran across on Twitter. As the theme for a sermon before my nephews baby dedication. In a book I picked up as a relaxing read. So many more times.......it's not coincidence.
I wish I could snag the Delorean and head back and redo the last two weeks. I didn't mean to over schedule our family this month. I needed to plan better to prepare for Vintage Lynchburg this weekend as we work so hard to build my husband's hobby into something more. I didn't plan to be looking for a new childcare plan semi-urgently. I didn't mean to put off major assignments for a course I'm completing. We had company in town. A trip in the next weeks to finish planning. Figuring out how to fly with a baby. God knew my to-do list would be numbered in the 50's in the midst of it all. And no matter how overwhelmed I feel.....it's up to me to dwell back on the one thing that can calm my heart & mind in all of it. GRACE.
I'm so thankful He keeps putting reminders in my path as stumbling blocks. I need to fall, be broken, and then remember that there is only One who is perfection. No matter how hard I try or how many lists I make, I can never meet that standard. And I need to stop trying. It doesn't mean I flippantly stop caring. But I've got to be intentional about remembering what my calling really is - to glorify my God, be a good wife, love my child, do my best at work, & in the everyday things - all without forgetting to show the same grace I give to others to myself on the hard & long days.
It comes down to this. He loves me so much, He let His son die for me to grant me grace for my sins, mistakes, and shortcomings. So if you see me sweating bullets over my to-do list, or holding back a mini-meltdown in the Target check-out, will you remind me about grace? I'll return the favor. See He knows me well enough to know that I will try & fail, but that's the best part. He'll put someone or something in my way to remind me over & over again. And love me all the same.