There is a lot of pressure sometimes to do things right and fix things in your life or others lives around you. We task ourselves with perfection and set high standards for everything in our lives from diet, exercise, to work, family…you name it. I am finding that I am incredibly guilty of this.
Tyler and I recently moved home and are feeling the pressure. But, through a series of unfortunate events, things (diet, exercise, jobs etc.) aren’t going so “smoothly” at least according to what I had pictured in my mind. The past two weeks have given me ample time for some serious reflection on this topic and I have providentially come across some very helpful tidbits. I wanted to share with you 3 thought patterns that I have identified in my life that aren’t helpful. Here’s what I am learning…
1. Expecting Perfection All the Time.
Now, if you were to ask me to describe my expectations to you, I would not confess this expectation. But, I am realizing this is a standard that I have for myself. I expect perfect meal plans, perfectly crossed off “to-do” lists, perfect dinners, perfect days of work, perfect blog posts, perfect friendships, perfect family relationships, perfectly clean house, everyone whom I love perfectly doing what I think is best for them…
Problem 1: What if what I think is perfect, isn’t perfect?
Problem 2: What if mistakes and imperfections make life worth living and make moments precious?
I am finding I must watch the standards I set for myself. I need to take small moments when I am feeling disappointed, overwhelmed etc. to evaluate my standards and what I am measuring myself against.
For example, we started working out at a Cross
Fit gym a few months ago and I LOVE it. When we walked into the gym, I had to watch myself with each workout not to judge myself against others. I would get upset at myself because I couldn’t do a push up or carry as much weight. Then, I remembered my body is different from everyone else’s as are my experiences. My goals changed to focusing on form and a few months later (I am by no means great, but…) I can lift heavier weights and I know how to perform a squat. Through identifying these standards I set for myself, I was able to enjoy the journey and enjoy each workout. Additionally, I learned to give myself grace. Grace for the days when I was sucking eggs on the run or could barely lift the bar. Those days of grace helped me push on the other days when I felt great.
Celebrate mistakes and growing pains, how else can you learn from them? Laugh and examine them. Give them time to be a mistake before you get mad and make plans for the next time to be different. And don’t let them unhinge you, expect imperfections…and choose to see with joy that they make life beautiful. (P.S. I don’t think pursing excellence is wrong by any means.)
2. Believing that You are in Control of Everything/One
Hello, Control. You are a dear old friend, or shall I say acquaintance, who barges in uninvited to all my brain parties and whom I often idolize. What made you so great anyway? You are such an illusion. The unknown, the fragility of life, makes it beautiful. You offer this green grass from your fence line that is so tempting, but merely a mirage.
Hello, Gratitude. You are so kind. I should invite you over more often. You are gracious to everyone you meet and no matter what the situation is you always find something to be grateful for, something to learn from. It is always sunny where you live because even rain and storms just make things grow. Nothing changes your attitude because you are beyond circumstances. You write your own forecast through how you approach life. You are in control.
3. Telling Yourself to “Stop IT!”
I saw this poignant clip and have to share it with you. It is a hilarious sketch of how our minds battle.
Isn’t it amazing how we use fear tactics to motivate and when those don’t work, we try to use the fear of our fears to make ourselves change. Fear doesn’t motivate us to effective lifestyle change. More often than not, fear immobilizes and paralyzes. It doesn’t help us become the greatest version of ourselves that we desire to be. But what does? How do we tell ourselves to stop saying “Stop it”?
How do we move from fear to something that gives us life? The answer cannot be within us. It can only be LOVE. Love casts out fear as the scriptures say. Love moves the world, while fear places us in darkness where we cannot move. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love has the power to change us, to change the world.
As I grow more and more, I see that the only claim I can make is that Christ’s love truly conquers all. As you come to know Love, your identity is redefined by it (Him). The daily circumstances in your life do not define you and this affords us the grace in the moments when we try to “STOP IT”. It gives us the grace to change.