Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections. - Author unknown.
Up until a couples of years ago I was in the habit of getting down on myself for every little mistake that I made. When you consider that I made several/day you’ll understand why this was a problem.
I tend to be clumsy, unfocused and big-time forgetful.
It all came to a head when my daughter and I went on vacation together. We had never done anything like this before, but I had just received an advance on a book I was writing and I had always wanted to go to LA. Knowing that this would be a good chance to bond with my daughter I seized the opportunity. We were excited to spend an entire week in the sun.
What I hadn’t anticipated was how intimidating the experience would be. We were far from home and not only was I responsible for myself, I was responsible for her safety as well.
I made mistakes at every turn, starting from the moment we got off the plane and found out that our hotel didn’t have the airport shuttle we were promised. Taxi cabs were a nightmare. We’d go shopping one place and find out that the cab wouldn’t drive us back to our hotel because it was out of their jurisdiction.
I thought I had it all worked out when I booked a tour guide to take us to Universal Studios. The bus driver pulled up into the parking lot, dropped us off and told us that he’d be back at 6pm to bring us back to our hotel.
Do you want to know what a goof I was? We spent most of the day outside the gates. Yep! I had no idea that there was an entire theme park to see! The park entrance was like a mall, with restaurants and shops, but after getting through that in about an hour, we sat on a bench wondering what all of the hoopla was about. Why would anyone pay to go there? Finally we discovered that the little ticket in our pockets gave us entrance into a theme park unlike anything we had ever seen before.
Unfortunately by the time we got in to the park it was late in the day and we only had about an hour left to see everything.
You Can Choose Your Mood
I was so near to tears I could barely enjoy the time we had left. All I wanted to do was tell myself what an idiot I was, and how I had ruined our entire trip. I stood there choking back tears as I looked down at my watch. Then something happened. I guess you could say that I was standing at a fork in the road. I could either choose to focus on my imperfections or I could grab a glass half-full of acceptance. I chose to accept myself as a wonderfully-weird work in progress and we enjoyed the rest of the day.
The next morning we walked down to the ocean. Although our hotel was close to the shore we had spent all of our time up on the Santa Monica Pier. Madison wanted to dip her toes in the ocean for the first time in her life and I wanted to walk barefoot on the beach. About three hundred feet from the shoreline, I stopped short, took a deep breath and cried, “Oh no!”
Madison turned to look at me wondering what it could possibly be.
“Maddy,” I said, “I goofed up. We don’t have to leave our hotel in an hour—our plane leaves California in an hour!”
Both of us turned around as quickly as we could and ran back to the hotel to pack. That feeling of failure washed over me again, just as it had the day before. How could I have made an error like this? What if we don’t catch our plane in time?!
And then, just as fear and doubt were about to set in, a sense of peace washed over me. Regardless of what was about to take place, we would not only be okay, we’d make the best of the day. And we did. The trip home was every bit as fun as our vacation was.
With that I'd love to close with Paul's two-fold perspective on perfectionism which calls us to forget the past and press on in faith!
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippans 3:12-14, NIV
Don't be so hard on yourself, mom--you're a wonderful work in progress!
You are loved by an almighty God,
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