Tuesday, August 27, 2013

When average is perfectly enough.....

I used to be one of those strange teenagers who enjoyed school! Don't get me wrong, I never loved exams and projects, but I did enjoy seeing my hard work pay off. I came up with all sorts of creative ways to quiz myself at home and always jumped at the extra credit assignments.
School was my focus and I worked hard to be excellent at it! My stomach would get sick when I received anything less than a B (a C was definitely failing). I received a sense of purpose and identity from being on the honor roll or selected for a music award.

I still tend to be an "all or nothing" perfectionist. If I don't think I can be great at something, I don't usually even give it much effort or thought.

On the other hand, I enjoy trying new things. When I get inspired to organize better, cook healthier, or exercise more, I jump in with both feet! Being average just isn't good enough. I feel like a failure when I'm not excelling at everything I'm doing!

And that, my friends, is a problem that God has been revealing to me lately. Because I am a human, I am hopelessly flawed. Nothing I attempt will ever be completely perfect. It's foolish to place that expectation on myself. Scripture says, after all, that there are none who are righteous-free from guilt or sin (Rom 3:10).
I recently wrote a list of the general responsibilities I have in my life at this point. I'm sure this list would be a similar length (or longer) for most of you.


 I've been attempting a juggling act of perfection with these 25+ areas.....

On the days I'm a top-rate nutritionist, I'm a horrible housekeeper.

When I'm making amazing shopping trips with my CVS bucks, I'm neglecting my little home-based business.

 I can spend time tweaking chords on a new arrangement I'm working on, but don't expect to see a blog post from me that week.

In other words, something always has to be lower on the priority list. At some point, an average result has to be enough. 

Keeping up this juggling act only drains me and prohibits me from truly flourishing in the areas that matter most.

With prayer, some input from my husband, and another few sheets of paper, I created another list. This time it was divided into priority groups.

A -
These are the things that mean the most to me in the big picture of life. 25 years from now, I will regret not spending most of my energy, prayer, and time on these things. It was hard, but I limited it to only five items. I could spend all of my waking hours on this list alone!
B
My theme verse for this list (which is also my longest) is Colossians 3:23....
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord....
These are the things that I have already committed to for this year or are normal parts of life (cooking/cleaning). I want to do my best and work "heartily," but am learning to be content with average results. After all, it's our average (or less than average) that glorifies the power of Christ the most! 
C-
My final priority list consists of things that need to be removed from my responsibilities at this point. In some, I need to step back from a leadership position. Some of them need to be cut from my life completely. The beauty of life seasons, though, is that years down the road the things on this list may be a perfect fit for my priorities, life, and ministry! 

Your brain may not work this way, but in writing out my priorities I was able to visualize what needs my attention the most. The second and third lists are pretty fluid. They may change from year to year, but List A contains the foundation of my faith and family.

I'm so thankful to be learning that my identity as a woman of God isn't wrapped up in the areas I've mastered, perfected, and excelled. I can enjoy areas of both growth and weakness in the classroom of life as they teach me more of Him. 
Because of what Christ accomplished for me already through his death and resurrection, my average is perfectly enough!

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2 comments:

The Domestic Fringe said...

I love this post. It's true for me too. When I excel in one area, there are ten other areas falling by the wayside. I need to be constantly rearranging my priorities.

The other day, my husband came home and opened the refrigerator. He said, "There's never anything in here!" I knew meal planning/grocery shopping needed to move closer to the top of my priority list.
~FringeGirl

andrea said...

Boy do I relate to this post! I am an "all or nothing" person as well. Thanks for the encouragement as well as reminder that I can not be perfect no matter how I try.