Our Life...

Our Life...
...summed up in one photo.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

About a Garden and a Recovering Perfectionist

Yep, it's about me. Surprised?  Nah, didn't think you would be if you know me at all. I'm a perfectionist.  It's still strange to hear myself admit that. Up until a few years ago I really didn't think that lable fit me. I figured if I was a perfectionist, things in my house would be more perfect and so would I.  Yeah, I realize that's all part of the problem. :)  I know some people can actually use their perfectionism for good rather than evil, :>) but mine usually lands me smack dab in the middle of a state of paralysis.
Sunflowers from the Garden - 2011
Anyway, on to the case in point: The garden.

When the hubster first mentioned it, I really bulked at the idea of doing one. But the more we talked about it, there really wasn't a good reason not to do it.  The yard has a nice big plot already marked out for a garden. Chris was willing to do the tilling. The seeds were cheap.  We are trying to eat healthier. We could save some money. And besides, at the time I was homeschooling, so we could count it as science. (Yes, I'm kidding. Well...no, actually I'm not.)

The only thing holding me back was this darn perfectionism and the subsequent excuses.  How in the world would I keep up with the weeds?  I don't know anything about gardening.  I don't really want to or have time to read about gardening. And on...and on...and on....

God has been gently dealing with this perfectionism stuff in my life for a while now. He's much kinder than I am about it, thankfully. I usually want myself to just "get over it". I know that it can paralyze me in many areas of my life. It makes me not want to attempt things at times if I know I can't do them perfectly.  Which is such a joke, because we aren't going to do things perfectly, because we aren't perfect.  But, I suppose if this was a rational issue, I would have reasoned it out long ago. 

As I continue in this "recovery" from perfectionism, I think it comes down to knowing that "just being" is enough. What I do or say or don't do or don't say; doesn't define who I am. My value is in God's love for me and learning AND believing what He says about me. And thankfully, no where in my bible does it say that if I have a garden full of weeds or a messy house or some extra weight to get rid of, that I am less than HIS. Or that He loves me any more or less because of anything I do or don't do.

Yes, of course, there is value to tending to the weeds in the garden, keeping my house liveable and being a healthy weight. But I can't wait until I get those things all lined up to start living. The living is now. Right in the midst of the weeds, a less than organized house and my full-figuredness.
Carson Enjoying a Carrot
So, we did a garden last year (2010).  It was pretty exciting when we had lettuce and spinach by the end of May.  And then in June 2010, I had surgery on my toe. No bending, no squatting or anything that would put pressure on my toes. The weeds went nuts.  And amazingly, I didn't. (some may argue that's because I already was, but nevertheless...)

We enjoyed the garden for what it was. The kids loved to help pull the veggies out when they were ready. They were more willing to try things they normally would not.  It was wonderful and little by little I realized that it was ok to just do it and not expect perfection. It was ok that there were weeds in the garden. It was even ok that by the end of summer there were more weeds than "real plants".  We enjoyed what grew, which was so much more than I expected.  And maybe...just maybe, that was part of the bigger lesson. Learning to enjoy the blessings God has given me and relax in the middle of my wonderful, but imperfect life.

 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.   
I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Luggage and a Toddler

I'm "cheating" a little today and using a story I wrote a few years ago. I revised it a bit to share earlier this week and thought I would share it here too.

I had just returned from an amazing week-end retreat, I put my bags by the bottom of the steps to be taken upstairs on the next trip.  One of the bags was a small rectangular rolling bag.  My son, Hudson who was almost 19 months at the time, decided he was going to try to pull it around the house.  The bag was HEAVY, still filled with the evidence of my failed attempt at packing light for the 2 day trip J...and almost as big as he was!   As he tried to drag it, it nearly knocked him down before I intervened and put it away, so he didn’t hurt himself. As I was taking it upstairs, I thought it was so silly this little boy would think he could drag around such a heavy load. 

The next morning, I brought the empty bag back downstairs to go into a storage closet.  Apparently I had forgotten that Hudson was so drawn to it.  So, of course, he went right to it and started to try to pull it around.  Although it was lighter, it was still too big and awkward for this little guy.  He would fall, cry and then get right back up and try to drag it along behind him with a new sense of determination.  He bumped into the wall and came running to me to kiss his head...and then he went right back to try to pull it again, as if forgetting what had just happened.  I watched as he tried to figure out a way to drag it around - forward, backward, even bending down and trying to pick it up and not even use the wheels. If his brother or sister came near to help he would do his best toddler "NOOO!!!"  "MIIIIINE!!!!!" And not let them help him.  My well meaning daughter, always wanting to be the helper, even got close to him and tried to explain the best way to carry it - but of course he didn't listen. Or if he was listening, he didn’t understand how to follow her directions.  Finally, exhausted with his attempts he sat down for a while, but still held on tightly to the handle.
Immediately, the following verses came to mind: 

Matthew 11:28-30
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Psalm 55:22
Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.

My son is not unlike his mother.  Trying to bear burdens that exhaust, frustrate, and irritate her - things she’s not equipped to carry alone.  Running to God often, asking Him to make me feel better, but too often not willing to let go and accept His generous offer to, "Come".  "I can do it Lord...I need to do it...these are my burdens to take care of". And so I return to try to figure out a new way to balance it all – when the answer is simply, “Come”.  Or at times my pride has caused me to think, I’ve made a mess of things, I can’t just ask for forgiveness, I’ve got to fix it.”  And still the call is , “Come”.

The word used for weary in that verse refers to those who have become weary through heavy struggling or toil, while the word for burdened is more the passive side, those who are overloaded-have had huge burdens placed on them. So, it really doesn’t matter why we’re worn out. Whether it’s from our own doing or the things that have been piled on us…the invitation is the same – a gentle, “come”.

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me;
listen, that you may live.

6 Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

Isaiah 55:1-3, 6-7 (NIV)