Saturday, November 10, 2012


There is so much I want to write.

But, I want it to be....perfect.  That is one of my hardest struggles.  The idea that in order to do something, I need to do it perfectly (or at least work really hard to have it appear that way).

Lately I read two of Anne Lamott's books, Some Assembly Required and Operating Instructions.  Both are fabulous, by the way.  One is about her experience as a grandmother and the other is about her experience as a mother.  She is my favorite author and there is just so much wisdom in what she writes.  But above all else, when I read her words, I feel okay.  It's like she has a way of describing exactly how life is (how imperfect it all really is) and being fine with that; not even fine, rejoicing in that.  She seems to be able to rejoice in her imperfections!  That is what I'm working towards.

I wasn't always this way.  I'm not sure when it started.  But at some point in my adult life, I realized that I really liked control.  I felt better when I felt in control.  It calmed my anxiety and made me feel safe.  Control is really such an illusion and is almost always about something else (fear mostly) but I've made myself believe that if I'm on top of everything, then nothing will go wrong.

I have to say that feeling that way is exhausting.  That's it.  I've gotten to the point in the last 4 months to simply realize that I'm exausted by the overwhelming need to have it all together.  I'm notcicing that this timeline coincides with having Mason.  Maybe having 3 kids is what God needed to show me that I don't have it all under my control.  But that really, He is in charge.  In one of the Lamott books she talks about those car seats that have a little steering wheel so the kid can think they are in charge of driving the car.  She says that while the child is working so hard to drive, the real driver looks in the back seat entertained by that determintation.  She likened that to us being the kid and God being the real driver.  I LOVE that.  How true!

The thought to write about perfection came to me this week when I went with my kids to a playdate at someones house I'd never been to.  When we walked in, her home was immaculate.  She had candles burning (so it smelled really nice), pillows placed just right, floor vacummed.  She is a person with a lot of energy so she began talking....and talking....and talking.  Some people do nervous talk.  They are uncomfortable so they fill the space with words.  My husband can be that way.  I'm learning to be more of a listener.  I've always been known as a talker (ie; report cards from childhood labeled me a "social butterfly.") But now I find that I want to be more of a listener.  So, I listened.  And she talked (somewhat frenetically) about laundry day on Tuesday, money she spends on her kids clothes, the size of her small home, etc.  But, as I listened I noticed that she basically talked about perfection.  About her need to have the dishes completely done, laundry put away, house mopped in order to feel okay.  And I TOTALLY GOT IT.

That has been me.  For quite some time. I have stressed about the stuff that doesn't matter.  I have been overly consumed with having my home be just right.  I have freaked out before having people over because the kids are eating crackers like chimpmunks in a room I just vacummed.  I get it.  I have totally been a Martha when I need to just be a Mary (see Luke 10:38-42).  Mary was in the moment, concentrating on her guest and serving.  She was not worried about the appearance of things.  Martha was missing the whole thing because she was cleaning!  That is such a good parable for me.

I don't want to miss this.  To miss this crazy time of having a 6 year old, 4 year old, and 4 month old. I want to enjoy the moments, all of them. Even the ones that involve crumbs.  I also want to let go.  Let go of the appearance of things, of me, of everything.  Don't get me wrong.  I still want to look nice, but I don't want all emphasis to be on the outside stuff.  I've been working so hard on my inside stuff for years now.  I think all that work is finally producing some fruit.  I think I'm beginning to be okay with myself.  Which, by the way, is really, really difficult.

I'm glad that I've shared this this morning.  My home has been quite quiet.  The girls are away with Gabe and it's just Mason, me and the dogs.  It's given me the time to blog and to reflect.  I know I'm not perfect.  None of us are.  And I want that to be okay.  But, since I am human, I'm pretty sure I will vacuum again today :)


Laura said...

ahhhh this is so me too! Yesterday as I was cleaning (yet again!) and I was thinking how this is a full time job and why can't I just let things go every now and then, relax and enjoy myself and my girls without stressing where Lucy is eating or how many toys she's taking out of her room. What's funny is that WE only see our imperfections. I would never go to someone else's house and look to see if their base boards are clean or their top shelves dusted. But I stress over all the things in my house that need to be clean down to the littlest detail. And for what? The kids don't care and for the most part Jason doesn't care either (as he leaves crumbs everywhere! ha!) I'm hosting Thanksgiving this year and after I kill myself with cleaning/decorating/cooking the days preceding and up to 1pm on Thursday I'm going greet our guests and not even think about stressing over anything else but enjoying our time together. :)

SARAH said...

Yes, Laura! Only WE see it. No one else even cares :) We are busy driving ourselves nuts over something that really doesn't matter. I knew you would get this! Proud of you for hosting Thanksgiving. I'm sure it will be a lot of work but hopefully you can find a way to just let things be and enjoy the people. Miss ya!!

Rosana V. said...

hahaha! this was SOOOO what we were talking about the other day. cleaning and organizing is such a strangely relaxing thing for does make me feel in control when life (in general) is always unpredictable. i did leave the toy room a mess the other night, though, and just went to bed. i wanted to experiment with that uncomfortableness of leaving things out of order. ;)