The Shoes I Couldn’t Fill

Repost from  – Tuesday, March 22, 2016

IMG_4975The exhilaration of home educating my kids had dissipated. My husband and I were doing full-time ministry on a part-time schedule. The bottom level of our townhouse was being renovated to add a needed bedroom and the 911 attack was fresh in my mind. My outlook on life was grey.

As far as homeschooling, my kids weren’t the problem and teaching wasn’t the issue. My mentality was my problem. The noose of perfectionism was stealing my vitality.

When had I adopted the picture of the multi-tasking, never sleeping, Betty Crocker housewife? I loved everything that I did. Music, ministry, teaching and even learning how to frame walls tapped into my childhood fantasy of being a carpenter. But doing anything is hard when you are trying to live up to a self-imposed image.

My merciless inner overlord wanted to cry out, “I am woman, hear me roar!” Instead, most days all I could muster was a feeble yelp.

Perfectionism withdrawal took a few years. Self-condemnation had to be rooted out as did pride and concern for the opinions of others. I learned that my school day could be flexible. The kids didn’t have to follow a public school schedule. I could give them a two hour break in the afternoon and finish up in the evening or on a Saturday. As far as always being available to pray with someone in need, I had to learn to say, “I can’t meet you this week” with no guilt.

Having a Mary Kay face each day became a distant memory. Good bye “quick” beauty regimen; eyeliner and mascara could suffice. I still cooked each day, but cooking fed my creative mind. As far as the post-911 soberness in the American air, my future was in God’s hands and no terrorist could steal it.

Our days became more relaxed as I resisted those deceiving perfectionist demons. So what if I sat on the floor playing blocks with my three year old while rehearsing spelling words with my first grader as my elementary school kids read or did matmilkh? So what if a cup of milk spilled on the floor in the middle of a history lesson?

I breathed easier once the noose of perfectionism was gone.

No matter what type of labor makes up your day, make sure that you are not trying to live up to a standard that makes you driven, harsh, worried, or stressed out. I know that there are professional environments that are “dog-eat-dog”, but ask yourself, is the pressure worth your health and joy?

We all need to ask ourselves, “What are we trying to prove and to whom?”  As long as we are doing whatever the Lord had put on our agenda, then we can rest that he will help us and guide us and make up for any way that we fall short.

Lord, help us cast our cares on you. Remind us daily that your yoke is easy and your burden is light. Show us burdens that we’ve mistakenly picked up. Make us creative and innovative people, that can realize when we need to do something differently so that our wheels won’t keep spinning. Help us remember that the only shoes we need to fill are our own. Thank you Lord for your constant care. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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