Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I have this really bad habit. I'm not even sure it's a habit. Maybe more of a character flaw. I'm not sure.
Whatever it is, I battle with it a lot. Like I'll recognize it in a certain situation and then I change my behavior or thinking and keep right on trucking.
But sometimes I don't recognize it and it keeps me from trucking all together.

For example. I went shopping for a friend the other day. I wanted to get her something special and thoughtful. I picked up a few things only to second guess that they were THE perfect choice, and put them back. I ended up not getting her anything at all. Because I couldn't find THE perfect gift.

Sometimes when I set out to run 3 miles, I'm only able to do 2.5. Whether it's because I'm just plain exhausted, or because I set out too late in the day before the sun went down. If I don't finish the full 3, I feel like I failed. Or I'm dissapointed in myself. Dwelling on the fact that I didn't do the 3 instead of recognizing that I did 2.5. Which is 2.5 more than I was doing a month ago.

When I talk about these shortcoming or write them out, they sound so completely ridiculous. Which is why I realize how important it is for me process through things. Because when I keep them all jumbled up in my head, they sort of stay there. All irrational and ridiculous...and controlling.

You didn't find just the right gift, so don't get her one at all.
You didn't run your full 3 miles, so you failed.
You can't get up extra extra early to read and pray, so don't do it all. 
You didn't start that 365 day devotional on January 1st, so it's too late now.

See? Ridiculous.

I've been waiting/trying/hoping/planning/ to get into the right routine, or to be able to get myself out of bed early, so that I could get back on track with reading and prayer time in the morning. But sometimes I wake up after Bella {Um. most of the time. The girl gets up with the birds.} And then the day goes on and I think well, I didn't get up again this morning. Maybe tomorrow?

It's an endless cycle of guilt and failed attempts.

I was thinking the other day while running. About how some people tell me they just aren't a runner. And I thought to myself. Well neither am I, technically. I think anyone can be a "runner" if they want to be. Running is a big ol exercise in will. It's a mental challenge as much as it is a physical one. And I thought to myself--when you really want something, you can make it happen.

Then it hit me. What am I making a priority in my life? What does my heart want, and what's keeping me from doing them?

Believing perfection is the only way, and if it's not done perfectly then it shouldn't be done at all. So not true. And I know that. So why do I continue living as if I don't? If I really want that time back, then I can make it happen.

This morning, I woke up after Bella. Again. No I didn't rise when it was dark like the Proverbs 31 woman. I would like to, But reality is, I didn't. I didn't have complete silence except for some Jesus Culture on Pandora. I didn't have the perfect set up with the right amount of work space for my devotional book, Bible, laptop, and notebook.

Instead, I sat outside, balancing them all between my lap and the small patio table. In between conversations with Bella on why the grass grows and if it ever stops and if her nails stop growing when she's sleeping and why do we have twinkle lights on our patio when it's not Christmas and reading books about Bob the tomato and Larry the cucumber.  Was it perfect and ideal? No! But gosh darnet I just don't care anymore. I can't care anymore.

And you know what? God's word and truth spoke to my heart just the same as it would, had everything been "just right." We search all day for the answers to our questions and prayers. We cry out to God to speak to us and reveal and redeem and answer and speak. When all the while, we have His very spoken word in the palms of our hand. Sitting on our night stands, or under a stack of books. Unopened. Because we can't find the right time. That book holds every answer we are searching for. His voice, loud and clear. Written in black and white. It's all there.

How many things are we holding off on because we are waiting on just the right time? I realize that this will always be a lesson I need to fine tune and refine and tweak in my heart and life. It's not like this is a big revelation and my life will now be forever changed and you all are here to witness the glory of it all.

No. It's me, saying hey--nothing will ever be perfect. I realize that. I'm working, daily on letting go of this idea of perfection. I'm giving myself grace to let the dishes sit while I get some reading in, and in the middle of conversations about 4 leaf clovers and spiders. I'm giving myself grace to start a 365 day devotional in the middle of the year. I'm letting my weird anal side, skip to the middle of the book, and I'm going to be ok with that even if I cringed a little doing it.

Maybe one day I'll get up earlier than my morning girl. Maybe one day I'll be able to write and read and light my candle and listen to worship music and it'll all be just right. But today wasn't that day. And tomorrow might not be either. But I'm feeling like maybe thats ok after all.
I don't have a way to wrap this post up perfectly and I can't think of a good "title" for it either. I don't even know if it makes sense because it's just me processing my thoughts. Whatev.. I'm going to hit "publish" anyway....even if I cringe doing it.

And I'm hoping maybe that by sharing these ridiculous parts of my inner most thoughts and processes, that maybe your realizing some of your own....and maybe you'll let go of them too?


  1. I really needed to hear this today! It is exactly how I have been feeling lately. I cant tell you how many times I have just not gotten a friend a gift because it wasn't perfect or I wondered what they would think of me if I gave them what was on my heart! I over think way too much even to the point of just feeling like a failure because I didn't accomplish what I wanted to that day. Thank you so much for sharing your heart!!

  2. amen. perfection is over rated anyway. ha.ha! but seriously when we dwell on what wasn't our joy is taken.
    thanks for this today.

  3. I'm glad you hit publish. This is EXACTLY what I needed. I love your heart. I love your honesty. I love that you can lay it all out. We are not perfect. We are human. WE can't do it all. But, at least an attempt to do what it is we want has to stand for something. So 2.5 instead of 3- YOU GO GIRL, devo on the porch- check, check. publish without proofing...check, check, check.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this.

    Love your heart!


  4. My friend, I am in the exact same boat. No, seriously, I can relate on every level. Thanks for saying it's ok. I may just spend my time with the Lord right now in the afternoon instead of the morning even though it feels so wrong. love, love you.

  5. Thanks for sharing! I SO do this... all the time! Same thing with getting up early to read my Bible, I do it with trying to eat healthy - if I eat one bad thing, then I feel like it's all ruined that day and I just forget the healthy part.

    I really needed to read this today and know I am not the only one out there that has this way of thinking!


  6. Hey friend. Thanks for sharing. I've battled all of these same kinds Of thoughts and have experienced that paralysis. Its so lame when you think about it! But one major lesson I've learned is that there is an accuser who stands before the throne of god accusing me day and night. (rev 12:10). He has spoken shame over me for way way too long. I've come to find perfectionism for me has roots in lies about myself. The more I claim freedom in Jesus and take captive lies about myself, the easier it has become to live with my flaws and imperfect everything. Gifts, meals I prepare, children, spiritual life...all of it. Love you and your vulnerable heart that seeks that same freedom!!

  7. Oh my goodness, you are not the only one!! This post was just what I needed to read... thanks for hitting publish, you might be cringing but most of us don't even notice the "flaws" but we heard the encouraging message loud and clear :)

  8. Had a similar moment at Target and my co-worker pointed it out to me...I didn't realize I was so worried about everything being perfect until I stood in the aisle at Target for 5 minutes (literally) trying to decide whether I should use flat s'more marshmallows or regular puffy marshmallows for a s'more goodies bags we were making. She ever so nicely pointed out that some decisions require that much thought...but marshmallows is not one of them. So I've been trying to remind myself of that too... Some decisions are just not life altering and not everything has to be perfect. :-)

  9. Thank you for posting this.

  10. Thank you, thank you, thank you! As a new Mommy, I reeeeally needed to hear this, thanks for the reminder :)

  11. Had a similar moment at Target and my co-worker pointed it out to me...I didn't realize I was so worried about everything being perfect until I stood in the aisle at Target for 5 minutes (literally) trying to decide whether I should use flat s'more marshmallows or regular puffy marshmallows for a s'more goodies bags we were making. She ever so nicely pointed out that some decisions require that much thought...but marshmallows is not one of them. So I've been trying to remind myself of that too... Some decisions are just not life altering and not everything has to be perfect. :-)

  12. Thanks for sharing this Laura, I read the other day in The Resolution for Women about perfectionism and how it leaves us constantly feeling guilty and shameful about everything because we feel like we can't do anything 100%. The truth is though that we were never asked by our Father to do everything! Just the things that He has placed before us for this season in life. It was a real wake-up call for me.

  13. Amazing, so many times I feel the exact same way (can't even tell you how many times I haven't gotten a gift because I couldn't find the perfect one!). I have to start embracing imperfection! Thank you. :)

  14. Thank you do much for such a great post. Really brings to reality the fact that we don't have to be perfect and can embrace imperfection. Love it!!

  15. This is EXACTLY how I feel! It's like you pulled this post straight out of my brain! Thank you so much for showing us it's okay to give ourselves grace too :) I think I will go do my devotional now (even though I'm off track by a week and a half!)

  16. Amen! I feel like I live in a cycle of failed attempts as well. Satan wants that over us. God wants victory over this area for you and every other woman that feels this way. Praying for victory.God bless you for sharing this.

  17. oh girl, I feel you on all three. the gifts, the running, the quiet times. all of it. a friend once told me: "Aly, you can't let perfection be the enemy". in other words, just bc it's not your idea of perfect doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. have your quiet time at night, with your kids, in the car.... wherever and whenever you can. if you get behind in your chronological one year bible? start up where you leave off! use a bookmark instead of worrying about the date in the corner, right?

    I totally totally get you girl :) I don't know why it's so hard but it is. I've been doing the same thing this year though, giving up on some ideal picture of what it all looks like. life is messy and unorganized and everyday throws a new curveball. Jesus just wants us to come, whenever and wherever, and drink.

  18. oh, I also read somewhere today: "perfection is the enemy of completion" or something like that :)

  19. Thank you for posting this. I can completely relate to this. As I think of all I have to do throughout the day, I do so with this concept of perfection. And when I don't meet these self-imposed standards, I feel like a failure. And then the fear of failure paralyzes me, even with little every day things. Thank you for sharing and letting me know I'm not the only one who struggles with this. I realize that I can rest in my imperfections because I serve a perfect God.

  20. I just plain really like you. You are a lovely soul. Beautifully said.

  21. In the past year I've really resolved to not leave anything until tomorrow. I'm lucky that a certain someone in my life taught me to think this way.

    I think your progression in focusing less on perfection is so wonderful.

    I'm Georgina and I'm your newest follower :)

  22. I catch myself doing a that same thing quite often when considering what to pick up as a special treat for my husband at the grocery. I look for THE gift, then cannot make myself certain I've made a good decision, and finally decide it's just an extra expense for something I'm not SURE he'll love, and put it back. Glad to know I'm not alone. God is working on us!

  23. You have clearly touched on something that we all struggle with, but couldn't find the words.

    Thank you for giving us all the words that our own hearts are feeling.

    Just another mama, trying the best I can :)


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