Chasing Perfection

Some days just kick my butt. Do you know what I’m talking about? The days that seem to tackle you to the ground and you’re left looking to the sky wondering how it even happened. I had a day like that recently. It was yesterday. I still can’t even tell you what was wrong with yesterday other than all of it. Except, that’s not right. There was nothing wrong with yesterday other than me and my expectations. I don’t even know what I was expecting but it wasn’t happening. I kept getting frustrated and everybody wanted something from me and I just couldn’t win. I would sit down to do something and my dog would let me know he wanted to go outside. I would let him outside and he would start barking incessantly, which would annoy my husband. I would let the dog back in for him to whine to go back outside. My son also wanted things during all of this and I’m pretty sure the cat had something to say about all this racket going on. My head sure didn’t appreciate it and I quickly got a headache.

I just wanted to sit down and work on some writing. Tuesdays are blog post days. I have some projects I wanted to do. I also have an article I need to start writing. I just felt like no matter what I did, it was wrong. I don’t enjoy being wrong or feeling like I’m wrong and that didn’t sit well with me. The worst part about this feeling is that it didn’t feel right. I couldn’t figure out why I felt like I was wrong and I couldn’t shake it even though I knew there was no logical reason for me to be wrong.

I walked upstairs to get something from my bedroom, where my husband was working and he asked me what was wrong. I just told him I was grumpy and irritated. It was just a fact. I couldn’t change it. I didn’t know what to do because all I had done all day was sit in my wrongness no matter how hard I had tried to fix it, I still messed up. All my attempted fixing just made me grumpier.

We’ve all heard the quote, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.” Chasing perfection is my insanity. I know I will never achieve it. I know I will never reach it. Most days, I don’t chase it anymore. Most days, I’m healed of this desire to chase perfect. I have stopped the chase. Most days, I’m good. I’m content in my imperfection. Some days though, I’ll fall back into that chase like meeting an old friend. I can usually catch myself when I fall back in, and quickly run back out reminding myself that there is no way I will ever reach perfection. I need my grace and I need it in truckloads. I will never reach perfect this side of heaven.

Yesterday though, it took me too long to realize I fell back into old ways. It took too long to realize I was chasing an ideal I will never match up to. Yesterday just felt like a hot mess day and everything was just a roller coaster.

But then I had a moment. A tiny moment where I remembered that I am loved, despite how I felt. Despite all the “wrong”, I was doing that day. I had grace. I just needed to breathe. So I took that moment, and I breathed. In and out. It felt good. I’m a child of God. I took another breath. My heart stopped racing a little bit. A few moments later and I felt better. I felt peace. I didn’t feel wrong.

Proverbs 16:9 tells us ”In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” Some days I wake up and just go into my day thinking I have everything under control and that my plans will be exactly what needs to happen. God sometimes has different plans. I think I feel like I am fighting the world when my plans go against God’s plan. This isn’t the first time this has happened and I’ve come to the same conclusion after a moment of being still and breathing. I’m going to start trying to open my heart to God’s plan in my days instead of shoving my schedule in God’s face like a child who says, “but what about this and this” because God knows. God knows what needs to be done and what my deadlines are. God’s plans are still better than my own, even when I don’t understand.

For example, if I didn’t have yesterday happen to me. This blog post would have been about something completely different. However, I think this is better. I’m done chasing perfection, I’ve done it for so long though that it is pretty easy to pick back up. What is something you’ve stopped doing that you still find yourself doing sometimes?

The Comparison Game

 

There is a game we as people like to play. I call it, The Comparison Game. We always look at others and wonder why we don’t have what ”they” have. Whether it is the awesome new phone they have or the promotion they just got or maybe the house they just bought.

For me, they can be anybody. It can be the stranger at the mall that I will never see again. It could be my best friend. It could be my co-workers. It could be my boss. I’ve been comparing myself to everybody else for as long as I can remember. Mainly because I’ve always wondered why the “bad” stuff always happened to me. When my mom was diagnosed as terminal, everybody else had a healthy mom. When my parents were going through their divorce and screaming at each other in the middle of the neighborhood, everybody’s else parents kept their fights inside the house. I always wondered why life hated me. I used to make a really awful joke in high school that my life was God’s soap opera. Something for him to laugh at. The things that came up in my life I couldn’t make up if I wanted to.

I played the comparison game because I wished for an easier life. I played the comparison game because I wanted to know what I was doing wrong that I kept getting all the junk thrown at me. Why can’t I just have something be simple? Why can’t something just be easy for me? Why does everything have to be complicated?

I look at my best friends and they have it easy. What are they doing right? What can I copy so that things will be easy for me? What can I mimic that will make things easier for me? Oh, this comparison game could go for rounds and rounds because when it comes to me and my best friends, there are a lot of differences. I’m also different in body type and I’m louder and more obnoxious and all sorts of personality traits different. Outside of how I think their lives are easier.

Now, these are my best friends. So I am assuming I know most of their struggles. The truth is, I don’t. I don’t know every single struggle they go through. I know some, but not all. I know I don’t call them up for every single thing I struggle with. If I did we’d be on the phone every night because I feel like I am driving that struggle bus.

The comparison game doesn’t work. We are not meant to live the same life as someone else. My calling is not the same calling as my best friend. Her impact on the world will not be the same impact I will have. If I am comparing my life to my best friend’s life, I’m trying to figure out why my life doesn’t look like something it was never meant to look like. It’s like trying to figure out why an apple doesn’t look like an orange. They were never meant to be the same thing. My best friend was put in my life to support me, do life with me and be in my village/tribe/whatever you want to call it these days. Just like I’m supposed to support her. I’m not supposed to compare my life to hers and wonder why we don’t have identical looking lives. We’re not meant too. God didn’t make it that way. Her gifts, talents and abilities are not going to look like mine and her life isn’t going to produce the same as mine will.

We both have the same goal though. We both want to hear “my good and faithful servant” when we get back home. What we should be comparing is whether or not we are both using our talents, gifts and abilities to serve God.

If we need to be comparing anything we should be comparing whether or not our goals line up with what God is calling us to be doing. Instead of looking horizontal-out into the world, we should be looking vertical-between us and God.

Waiting & Patience

 

There are some things I am very good at. I’m good at grabbing everybody’s attention when someone needs everybody in the room to stop talking at the same time. I’m good at putting melted butter on popcorn. I’m really good at not keeping a bunch of junk in my house. I’m good at organizing. Everything in my house has a spot it belongs in and it makes everything right in my world.

There are also things I am not good at. I’m not good at math. I am not good at exercising. I always question whether or not I am using the machine the right way or if my form is right. Also, I can’t cycle. I tried that crazy class and it is not something I am good at. I’m also not good at waiting.

Waiting is probably the worst concept ever invented. It wasn’t actually invented. It just comes with life. You have to wait for things because you can’t speed up time. I’ve lived in a city my entire life. A city where nothing ever closes and I have access to basically anything I need within 10 miles. Short car rides were the only thing I knew unless I was going out of the state. One time, I went to visit family who lived in a small town. They were a small town population wise but land size, they were huge and it took 15-20 minutes to get anywhere. I fell asleep on almost every car ride. My aunt was concerned about me getting my driver’s license. In my city, I was already used to getting things quickly that I could barely stand a longer car ride. Now, with technology and delivery services, I don’t even have to leave my house to get what I need and I can have it within an hour or two. The things I can’t get same day, there is Amazon Prime with two-day delivery. We are not a culture of waiters.

The beauty of things we are not good at is that we can work on them to become good at them. God will take what you aren’t good at and give you situations where you have the opportunity to grow there. I say opportunity because sometimes, I don’t always take it. Sometimes, I’ve had to learn a lesson two or three times before I really caught on to my learning opportunity. I’m not talking about gifts or talents here. I am not musically inclined at all. I cannot sing on key and I cannot play an instrument. I don’t think I’m supposed to be good at these things and I don’t think any amount of practice will make me better. (I’ve tried.) If it’s a characteristic Christ embodied though, you bet your bottom you’re going to get opportunities to grow in it. We’re called to be Christ-like and show His love to the world. God’s love is many things, patience is probably at the top of the list.

I know it’s at the top of the list because 1 Corinthians 13:4, the love paragraph, starts with “Love is patient.”

Waiting and patience go hand in hand. They are twin brothers if you really think about it. If you don’t like waiting, you are probably not very patient. I’m not. I have a few areas in my life where my patience knows no bounds. Those areas I attribute to Jesus because outside of the specifics of those areas, I have next to zero patience. It’s really a good growth opportunity for me.  If I want to be a better example of God and His love, I need to learn to be patient. I need to have patience outside of those few areas in my life.

God put me exactly in that situation. I’m in a season right now where I am waiting. I am (hopefully) patiently waiting on answered prayers. I’m waiting on a miracle. I’m waiting on answers. I’m waiting for guidance. I’m waiting on next steps. It’s a whole bunch of waiting. I probably haven’t been the most patient about it either. As I said earlier, I’m not the greatest waiter. Nothing in my life has ever taken this long, we’ve always had the answer or the miracle a lot sooner than what I’m dealing with now.

I’m thankful for God’s word for me to lean on when I feel hopeless and like the waiting will never end. I’m thankful that even though I don’t see it, I know that He is working for my good. God isn’t holding the best back from me. Even though I am waiting and while this might not be in the timeframe I would want, God’s timing is better than my own. It’s a fact that I know that I am constantly forgetting. He sees the whole picture while I only see the tiny little bit of today in front of me. The one thing I won’t forget is that God has never failed me. He has always provided, comforted and guided me when I needed it. He has told me numerous times in many ways that I am in a season of waiting and patience. I just lean on God more on the days I get frustrated. Lean on God in your times of struggle, he is there to hold your hand through it, my friends. Just trust Him. It’s so simple yet so difficult. I get so wrapped up in my head and my fears. Which is why I go back to the facts that I know: God is good. God has never abandoned me. God has always guided me through my trials and my lessons, even when I was being stubborn. God forgave me. God saved me.

Hang on to what you know to be true of the Lord and the enemy cannot bring you down. Hang on to the truth, God is there. God loves you. Write it down somewhere if you have it. I make lists of facts in my journal when I am going through it and it feels like my brain is going too fast. I stick to the facts. I lean on the facts of God and remember that he is bigger than my trails and my lack of patience.