Thanks, but no thanks. Saying NO can free us up for the best things in life. Every Tuesday this month, I’m teaming up with my amazing friend Dusty Hegge at Throwing Pinecones to bring you this absolutely necessary series just as the world is preparing to get all crazy with Black Friday nonsense and holiday hoopla. If you tend to want to do it all, then you will want to stick with us. We’re going to encourage you to say Yes to what gives you life and give you a free pass to say No to all the rest.
“Trust God and work.” In Latin, this reads: Deo Fisus Labora. This is my alma mater’s motto, and it messes with my mind. It looks nice etched on a stained-glass window, but I read those words and, in an instant, I lose my contentment completely.
As a chronic people pleaser and overachiever-extraordinaire, the academic environment of college fueled my need to succeed. Good grades and awards led me to believe my worth was what I could offer the world. It seemed like I couldn’t fail at anything.
Then I became a mom.
I failed at preventing my colicky baby from crying 24-7, dinner was always late, and I once attached the retriever’s dog leash to the stroller (thank you, 3-point harness!) I failed a lot, and it was hard. I tried to trust God in the sleeplessness, but I did what I’d always done: I worked harder at reading with my baby and pureeing batches of organic carrots and pears. I treated my delight-filled human like a research paper. I was supermom, and we were desperately unhappy.
I felt inadequate because culture told me I could do it all.
Don’t worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong.
For like grass, they soon fade away. Like spring flowers, they soon wither...
When we try to be like everyone else, we lose the “you” in our uniqueness.
Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.
When we stop delighting in life, we lose the presence of God.
Commit everything you do to the LORD . Trust him, and he will help you. (Psalm 37:1-2,4-5)
When we trust in ourselves, we lose the power of God.
This series is hard for me to write, (maybe that’s why I suggested it). I’m terrible at realizing my limits because I think I can do it all.
Yes, mothering requires epic quantities of faith and getting my hands dirty, just like marriage, a job, or anything really. But this one thing I know: Life is a drag when you miss it because you’re too busy trying to win at it.
I’m learning to: Trust God to do good with my imperfection. Tweet This
My flea-infested house, my son who wears his clothes backwards, and my inability to say what I feel in the moment: all this mess helps me depend on God because I don’t have it all together. I feel more real than I ever have before.
It’s funny how learning to let go of my superwoman complex frees me to do what I love with gratitude and vision. A few months ago I had a good dose of realism: I stopped homeschooling my kids so I could try writing. I had to admit I couldn’t do both in this season (which was a tear-fraught journey!) Yes, I’m free to pursue a lifelong dream. But my job before and after hammering a keyboard at my little office window is taking care of my family every day. I’m learning to dream about tomorrow, and have faith God will use my best work for His glory today.
Back between college and a corporate job, I lost my joy. I startedon a track of trusting my achievements more than I trusted God. I found myself unable to cope with failure. This was directly related to my inability to just to be here in a moment.
Maybe it was when we started homeschooling that I began to live day by day instead of success to success. Children teach slow, small miracles, ones that speak in the glee of sledding down a white snowy hill, and I whisper “thank you, God.” My kids taught me to delight in today by stopping to say thank you.
The most satisfied women I know are the ones who find a way to stay present. They find peace in their current situation by embracing the imbalance. They use it to help them say no to the competition (the perfectionist culture): to say thanks for the challenge, but no thanks, I’ll trust God first, do my darndest to do what He’s called me to, and then sit back and enjoy the beautiful people and life He’s given me.
Deo Fisus Labora. Frui Momento. Trust God and work, and go ahead (I give you permission): enjoy the moment.
How does saying no to PERFECT help you say THANKS for what you already have? Tweet This