Some may say that perfectionism is a good thing. Even when you claim to be a perfectionist, it's another way of saying "I'm better than you." That may seem harsh. But, I've struggled with perfectionism all my life. And, when I say struggled, I mean ... I desire perfection, but that perfection never seems to work out. So, I guess you could say, I'm half-perfectionist, half-apathetic (or maybe it's just laziness).
As I've gotten older, I have been intentional about not letting that perfectionist attitude control me. It's most about letting go of control. Perfectionism comes from a mindset of having to be in control at all times ... in control of our surroundings, in control of our situations, in control of others around us, in control of ourselves. Problem is when you try to take responsibility for all these things, it can drive you crazy.
I think people who are perfectionists don't come from a bad place of trying to control everything, but actually come from a good place of wanting to make sure everything is taken care of and done the "right" way (as we each see as "right").
Perfectionism also comes from a need for approval. (Gosh, I sound like a therapist. I am not licensed, y'all ... not at all ... just my observations and experiences from my many years on the earth.) Because no one wants to be seen as not good at stuff or as a failure. Everyone wants to feel accepted and approved of. It's only human. So, I would say perfectionism definitely comes out of a fear of failure.
When you become a Christian though, this perfectionism can get in the way. You cannot control God nor what He does. And, sometimes perfectionists can try to control what God does. Impossible.
When perfectionists feel out of control, they don't know what to do with themselves. When every "t" is not crossed, or "i" is not dotted, it could seem horrifying.
But, what I've learned is that people are very forgiving and accepting, even when we're not perfect or our situations and circumstances haven't turned out the way we expected or wanted them to turn out. In fact, they may be more apt to trust you if they do see you're not perfect. For me, the person who is kind of a mess and knows they don't have it all together are the best people to be with. Then, you don't have to worry about being "perfect" yourself in their presence.
My perfectionism has gone by the wayside long ago when I came to grips with the fact that I can't be all things to all people and the things that I do will be liked by some and hated by others. None of us can be all things to all people. Some will approve; some will disapprove. That's just the way it goes. It took me years to get over this. For the longest time, I would strive to please everyone. Number 1 ... not possible. Number 2 ... exhausting. I just couldn't do it anymore. I had to surrender it all to God. And, strive for His approval, not the approval of all those other people.
The perfectionist in me hasn't disappeared altogether. It still comes back, but it doesn't control me anymore. There are honestly some areas of my life where I just don't care ... it's just ... whatever. Don't sweat the small stuff, right?
However, I did have a horrifying dream the other night where I stood in front of thousands of people in my sweaty, nasty running clothes, no make-up, hair all over the place because I couldn't find my change of clothes nor a room to change into because they were all blocked off. Hmmm ... let's just say I'm feeling a little overwhelmed and have lots on my plate. That's the worst time where the perfectionist in me starts coming out and I get a little crazy. My brain starts reeling with details and to-dos. And that's the most important time to surrender. Give it up to God.
It all again comes back to trust. Trust. ... not always my strongest suit, but I'm learning and growing. As the years go by, I trust more. God has always proven Himself faithful to me when I let Him have control. And, the best part is ... He already approves of me.
“Let go of your concerns! Then you will know that I am God. I rule the nations. I rule the earth.” (Psalm 46:10 GW)
As I sat in the living room last night, trying to determine if I had anything to post about, Roxy Belle went through her daily routine of trying to get on the chair.
This is how it goes ...
She actually made it on the chair this time. Usually she doesn't.
She goes back and forth, back and forth. And, usually she ends up just heading over to lie on her blanket on the floor.
This is her thought process:
1. I really want to get on that chair.
2. I could jump on the chair.
3. I'm fatter than I've ever been.
4. This is going to take some thought.
5. Do I think I can actually do this?
6. Can I make it onto that chair?
7. I'm fatter than I used to be.
8. How can I jump onto that chair?
9. Maybe if I get a running start?
10. Wait, I don't run.
11. I'm fatter than I used to be.
12. I should give it a try.
13. Nah ... I'll never make it that high.
14. I should try anyway.
15. I definitely will NOT make it up there.
16. Oh, Roxy Belle ... just try.
17. One foot in front of the other ...
18. I can do it.
19. I'm fatter than I used to be.
20. I'm just gonna go for it!
I feel like this is a picture of my life.
There are a things that God calls me to do.
I contemplate if it's possible for me to do them. Will I jump or just go and lie on the floor too?
Then, I go through the same back and forth.
My thought process:
1. God, I do want you to use me.
2. Wait ... You want me to do what?
3. I mean ... I could try.
4. But, God are you sure?
5. Because there are other people WAY better who can do this.
6. I mean ... I will try.
7. I'm not as young as I used to be, Lord.
8. Are you sure You want ME to do this?
9. Maybe, I'm not hearing You correctly.
10. You can't expect me to do that.
11. I'm not as young as I used to be.
12. I'm tired.
13. Maybe, I misunderstood You.
14. Ok, well ... I'll try.
15. But, God, what if I can't do it?
16. I don't want to disappoint You or others.
17. I can't do this.
18. I'm scared.
19. Well, if You say so ...
20. Guess I'll just go for it.
Amazing revelation, I know!
Just like Roxy Belle finally gets her fat butt up on that chair, we should just go for it! When God calls us, He gives us everything we need to fulfill that calling. So, we don't have to worry and go through the "back-and-forth". He knows what He's doing.
Roxy Belle is a picture of all of us.
So, will I ... or will you ... jump up on that chair or do whatever God's calling you to do? Or will we give up and just lie down in the corner because we were afraid we couldn't make the jump? Afraid we will fall? Afraid we will hurt ourselves? Or even just too tired to try?
Good questions to ponder. Thanks, Lord for using Fatsy McRoxypants to show me this.
Actually, yesterday, God spoke to me in the good 'ol fashioned way and then showed me this visual at the end of the day.
The result: It's time for me to just own it. Stop doubting myself. Even more, stop doubting God. Stop worrying. Stop being afraid. Just jump. Not reluctantly. No back-and-forth. Jump with all your might.
I know this looks good on paper. And, once God shows us something, you'd think we'd just get it. But, it doesn't happen like that. It's a daily thing. The jumping ... there's always an opportunity to jump. And, with that, the "back-and-forth" will happen again or try to happen. But, when we know the truth, we also get the opportunity to change our response to God and to ourself. Yay, us!
Yesterday, during my morning drive, as I was praying and reflecting on my life, God brought something back to my remembrance.
It was the sweetest thing and such a great memory.
Over twenty years ago, God spoke to me. And, when I say "spoke", I don't mean like that deep, distinguished Morgan Freeman voice. It was a still, small voice. I heard it SO clearly. What He said changed my life. I listened to Him. I trusted His voice.
I was in Fort Worth, Texas, staying at the home of Dave Roever. I was there because Beau (my somewhat, non-official, "let's keep it on the DL" boy friend, not boyfriend) was playing bass on Dave's daughter's album project. He had invited me to come with him. Of course, I said yes. Sounded like fun.
Aw ... look ...
It was a beautiful Saturday morning and I had gone outside to take in the scenery and breathe in the fresh air. I was also having a little conversation with God.
I didn't know where this thing with Beau was going. I just knew I liked him, he liked me, and we had fun together. He made me laugh. And, if you know me, that's probably right up at the top of my list as requirements of people I befriend. He was sweet to boot and went out of his way to make me feel special.
That's what I knew.
But, I didn't know how long it would last. Was it the real thing? No clue.
I had dated other guys before Beau. The relationships before him were long, committed relationships. And, then, after two of those long relationships ended, I went through that "I'm going to just date around" phase and not get serious at all. That lasted a year or so and then I got into yet another serious two-year relationship, which also failed and left me hurt, along with all the others.
So, why would I want to jump into another relationship if it was just going to end up in more heartache? I didn't want to.
On the deck that day, I asked the Lord to tell me what to do. I even argued a bit with him about why Beau shouldn't be the one. He had some flaws, y'all. I mean ... I'm sure I had a few too ... I mean ... maybe one or two.
But, then God said this, "He's not like the others. He will treat you the way you deserve to be treated." Then, I argued a bit more, listing some other things that I thought might not work out for us as an actual couple. But, I knew at that moment, that if I wanted to make a change for the better and be with a man who God had set up for me, I needed to listen and follow toward what God wanted for me. At that moment, I knew that Beau would be the man I married.
Now, don't get me wrong, we've had hard moments in our marriage. But, because we both knew that God had ordained our marriage, we pressed through them. There have been hurtful words spoken, doors slammed, and tears shed. There have been times when I think Beau may have wanted to throw in the towel. Maybe there were times I did too.
But, again, we pressed through.
The good times WAY outnumber the bad. They really do.
And, God can heal any hurt and restore any broken relationship. I really, truly believe that.
I'm glad I listened to the voice of God that day. Actually, not just listened, but pursued what God thought was best for me.
It really had been a great ride and I'm looking forward to SO much more!
Here it is the eighth of January and I'm just getting around to my first post of 2015. Yay me! (There's that sarcasm I'm so loved for. I haven't lost that part of me yet despite my many attempts. Mama Belle ... proudly serving sarcasm since 2007. Ah ha ... I kill myself.)
I am proudly blogging this first post from my brand spankin' new computer. I have been computerless for about a month. Pretty hard to blog or do anything with no computer. This little MacBook Air is the most beautiful thing I've seen this year. I am definitely in love.
With that said, I have yet to talk about the new year and my resolutions. I am not a huge fan of resolutions. In the past, I didn't make many because I knew I would be disappointed when I failed at keeping them. But, as I grow older, I realize resolutions are a good thing. Even if they're not kept, it's always positive and motivating to make goals for yourself. I'm beyond excited about what lies ahead!
I have quite a bit of goals and surprisingly none of them involve losing weight. I think this may be the moment where I have just come to grips with what my weight is and am more accepting of the way I look. My feelings are this related to my weight/body/looks and the like: It is what it is. I will do what I can to help myself along pretty consistently, but I'm not going to kill myself or make myself miserable because of it. If I want a cookie, I'm going to eat a cookie. If I can't run or exercise on certain days, then no big deal. I'm not going to beat myself up over things like these like I have in the past. Life is too short, and it's just not worth the misery. As I get older, my looks have become less of an issue for me. I'll just attempt and try to do the best with what God's given me and be thankful and happy with what I have. Done. Moving on.
#1 - I really want to love people more.
Like really love them. Not just tolerate them. And, believe it or not, that can be very hard to do. But, I want to truly see each person the way God sees them. I've been praying for God to give me His eyes so that I can see each person the way He does and not the way I do. Because I'm flawed y'all ... really flawed.
#2 - I want to care less about trivial things or things I cannot control.
This is a big one for me and I've actually been working on this since last year. I'm one hundred times better than I was the year before at letting things just slide off my back. As Taylor Swift would say, to "shake it off." (My girls just died because I referenced that song yet again. I sing it loudly in the car. They do not approve.) But it's SO true. It's such a waste of energy and emotion to worry or fret over things like this.
#3 - I want to be more accepting of myself.
I just kinda covered this above when I spoke about weight and my looks. But, it goes deeper. I want to be accepting of who I am on the inside too. Trust me ... you can say all kinds of negative, nasty, ugly things about me and they would probably be an improvement over the things I say to and about myself. I am definitely my worst critic and extremely hard on myself. I want to be more thankful of how God made me and designed me. I want to be more thankful for the gifts God's given me and not put them down or compare them to others' gifts. Actually I want to take it a step further and embrace the gifts He's given me and simply use them to my full potential. I want to truly believe that God thinks I'm good enough and His opinion is the only one that matters ... not someone else's or even my own.
#4 - I want to organize and simplify my life.
This is going to happen with some of the changes in my job situation. But, I so need this desperately in my life. I need a fresh start. I am already in the process of decluttering and getting ready to sell our home. I also need this related to our day-to-day home life ... the kids' activities, the grocery shopping, menu planning, chores, and the dreaded laundry. My life is screaming loudly for this goal to be accomplished.
#5 - I want to be more available to my children.
Again, my job changes are going to help a lot with this. My youngest especially needs more of my attention when it comes to her schoolwork and keeping herself organized. The last year I have felt like I just simply have not been able to be around as often and even be aware of all that's going on at school. It's pretty much sucked. I struggled with that all last year and was positive I had won the "Worst Mom" award. Now, my kids are going to absolutely loathe having me around so much and all up in their business. Yay! La Petite Belle already says, "I'm too addicted to her." And, K Belle has similar sentiments, but has gotten a lot more appreciative since her surgery a few weeks ago. She realized how awesome her mom is! Score! She's graduating so that's a whole other issue I'm going to have to be dealing with ... not just the plans of graduation, but the emotional roller coaster I will be on.
#6 - I want my ministry goals to line up with God's ministry goals.
I'm excited that this year I will be able to devote more time to leading our women's ministry. Sometimes people who are in ministry miss it and make ministry about their own image or the image of their ministry. It's easy to do. Everyone wants to look good. Successful ministries are a desire of all ministers. But, I want to make sure that it is not my focus. Of course, I want success for the ministry. But, I want success in the way God would want it ... women are changed and in that change, affect change in others and their community.
#7 - I want to blog more.
Yep. I said it. I do feel like the last year that I haven't even had time to have one coherent thought, much less an entire blog post. I would like that to change because of my love for blogging and wanting to keep a consistent record of my life for my children. We shall see.
As I read over these goals to Beau, he questioned why he wasn't included in any of these goals. He said, "What about me?" My reply: "Because you already have it too good."
This year has been full of changes, challenges, blessings, and lessons learned.
I could write for ages and spill my guts all over this page, but I don't want to bore you with the details.
Suffice it to say, it will be a year I will never forget:
It was the year where I doubted God's calling on my life.
It was the year where I felt unimportant.
It was the year where I just hung on to God's promises for dear life because it was all I had.
It was the year I felt stupid.
It was the year I didn't care about a whole lot.
It was the year I cried ... a lot, more than any year before.
It was the year I had to do a lot of self-talk and counsel myself through many things.
It was the year my appreciation for my husband grew by leaps and bounds.
It was the year I found out who my real friends were.
It was the year where I was tired.
It was the year where something had to give.
It was the year I found out what I am really made of and what I am not.
Tough stuff. And, a tough year. But, a great one at the same time.
God has been so good and faithful, despite my doubts, concerns, or stupidity.
I'm glad that His goodness is not dependent on anything I do. He's just good! He can't help it. This was something I had to remind myself of throughout the year. It was one of the only truths I knew.
And, now we enter into 2015 in a different light and a brand new outlook.
Life's changing for me:
I will be dropping my hours to part-time at work, which will allow me to devote more time to all that God has placed in my hand ... especially women's ministry and my family. We will be selling our home and moving, which will be a huge blessing for us financially. And, K Belle is graduating from high school, and La Petite Belle will be going into high school.
So much change. And, so many new things on the horizon.
I'm excited. But, also anxious. And, a little nervous (a.k.a., scared ... we Christians don't like to use that word because it makes us look like we don't trust God ... but guys ... lighten up, we're human and fear is an emotion God created in us so we can trust Him ... whoa! I'm preaching a sermon right there! (stick a pin in that)).
We are trusting God for provision and guidance. If His Word is true, then His promises are true, and He is trustworthy. So, we are taking that step of faith to trust Him ALONE.
We don't know what all God has planned. We don't know what will even be happening month-to-month. That's where the "nervous" (a.k.a., scared) part comes in ... it's when we don't have it figured out and must trust that God does. Because honestly, we don't AT ALL. I don't. It's out of my hands and control.
So ... there it is ... we'll just trust.
But, more than trust ... trust with enthusiasm ... trust with excitement ... trust expecting great things.
He's an honest man. Really honest. I'm talking brutally honest.
That's why, when I see him standing up with a microphone in hand, not knowing what he's going to say puts fear and panic inside me. Check out my face when he surprised me with an unexpected toast. Smiling, but terrified on the inside ... heart palpitations, bringing on perspiration and a flushed face. Because whew! That brutal honesty can be scary!
Sometimes I am the one who helps him to not be so brutally honest. It's hard to make an honest person not be honest. I encourage him to take all that honesty and just keep quiet about it.
He has proven himself to me all these years to be trustworthy. Now ... let's be honest ... each of us has had our moments of distrust, especially in the early years of our marriage. There were some challenging moments, but we pressed through them and came out stronger on the other side.
What has become very apparent to me in the last few years is that there is one area where I don't believe him at all. And, it's not because he's not being honest, it's because I have issues. Issues that most of us have.
Look at this statistic: 4% of the women (up from 2% in 2004) would consider themselves beautiful. That's quite a percentage there. 4%!
I think we all struggle with this: Believing we're beautiful. Using the word "beautiful" to describe ourselves is an even harder thing to do.
I know that I'm number one in my husband's eyes. But, when he tells me I'm beautiful or I'm pretty ... and then there's the even more extreme "most beautiful woman", I wince.
Why do I wince?
I know now. It's because I don't believe him.
Of course I'm not the most beautiful woman. I'm not blind. I see women all over the place who are way more beautiful than me. I'm surrounded by them.
Why should I even worry about beauty to begin with, right? Doesn't the Bible speak against vanity?
You know that Scripture, "Charm is deceitful, beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised"?
It encourages us not to be concerned with beauty. It's vain.
But, that's harder said than done. Beauty is all around us. And, logically if our husbands are attracted to beauty, we would automatically be concerned with it and desire to be beautiful for them. Makes sense to me.
Husbands love beauty. Wives desire to be beauty.
So ... I'm not sure if that Scripture is directed toward men who seek only after physical beauty, or for women not to purely seek after physical beauty and make it their focus. Maybe a little bit of both.
But, let's be honest ... we DO seek after physical beauty. It's just human nature.
No, it shouldn't be our primary focus. God knows a beautiful face attached to an ugly heart is NOT beauty.
So ... now that I've cleared that up ... I realize I WANT to believe him. I really do. I want to be comfortable and we should each be comfortable with hearing that word. But, just the word "beautiful" itself creates an insecurity that rises up inside me and screams, "you can't live up to that word." The word carries a lot of weight.
And, there are more days when I don't feel beautiful than when I do.
I am older.
I have wrinkles.
I have a crazy, lazy eye.
I'm always a few pounds overweight. Sometimes more than a few.
I have too many stretch marks to count.
I have thin, frizzy, graying hair.
My once firm body has taken to gravity and doesn't hold up like it should.
Heck, my toenails keep falling off. (I know ... I just went too far.)
Beautiful, right? Wrong. At least not in my eyes.
But, he says I'm beautiful.
He sees me as beautiful. And, that's the part I don't understand.
Because the problem is I don't always see myself as beautiful. And, that's why I don't believe him.
So .. here's the deal ... Beauty is not just physical. True beauty encompasses everything about us ... our heart, our character, who we are. And, when we like that part about us, we're pretty much okay with the other part.
I feel beautiful when my heart is right. I feel beautiful when my life is right. I feel beautiful when I believe all the things my God says about me.
So, when my husband looks at me, despite the flaws that I see every day, he says I'm beautiful. He doesn't see all the things I see. Well, I guess he does because he can't be that blind. But, those things don't matter to him because beauty for a man isn't only physical. Sure, it starts out that way. But, over time a woman who has her heart right and shows true character, strength, and integrity, actually becomes more beautiful to her husband.
When he looks at me now, he doesn't see the flaws, he sees the beauty.
He doesn't see the wrinkles. He sees lines created by many years of laughter and emotion.
He doesn't see the stretch marks and the extra pounds. He sees a body that carried and birthed his two daughters.
He doesn't see that lazy eye. He sees the same eyes he once gazed into for hours so long ago, dreaming of our future together.
He doesn't see me as old. He sees me as stronger, wiser, and more beautiful than before.
That's the part we all have to get! They don't see us the way we see us. And, we need to start looking at ourselves through their eyes. Our husbands are simply a reflection of a God who sees us as even more. If they can look past our flawed selves and see beauty, imagine what our loving Father sees.
So, now I will choose to believe. I will no longer wince. It's gonna take some practice, but we'll all get there if we just start to believe.
And, this man of mine ... he's a keeper.
Thanks for reminding me of my beauty and who I am, sweet man. I love you.
You know how the Fresh Prince arrives in Bel Air and kisses his former life good-bye in one quick sitcom opening song? That's the story of my life right now ... except I'm a white middle-aged woman (wait ... whuuuuut? Did I just refer to myself as "middle-aged"? Definitely inaccurate.) ... not moving to Bel Air ... and no catchy songs are being played in the background that is my life. But, I could bust a move and do possibly do some decent rappin' if I had to. I kid you not. Try me.
God has been busy at work in my life lately. He may actually be working a little overtime.
Over a year ago, my life changed as I was obedient to do what Beau and I believe God wanted us to do. There were doubts. Many doubts.
Did we do the right thing? Did we really hear God's affirmative yes?
I'm positive now that we did.
I'm positive because I've seen the results of hard obedience. Sometimes obeying what God wants you to do is not easy. And, sometimes it doesn't even seem like the right thing or make sense to you. But, if you obey, God works everything out.
Sometimes the "working out" part seems like forever. And, you wonder is it really going to work out at all. But, you press on and you wait. And, if you're a 40-something-year-old woman or one of those sappy, sentimental men .... you will cry ... a lot.
It's in those moments of despair and giving up that you can be real with God.
If there's one thing I've learned about myself recently, it's that I cannot be fake with God, much less anybody else. This can tend to be a problem with people, but works out perfectly with God.
It means I can tell him things like, "God, I'm broken. God, I'm upset. God, I'm angry. God, I don't understand what you're doing and I'm about to just give up. YET ... You are good. You love me. I will trust You. And, I thank You."
Yeah. You can do that stuff with God.
He knows your heart, so why be fake with Him? Be real, but reverent.
There have been times and probably will still be times where I think God has forgotten about me. But, then I recall all the things He's done and continues to do for me. I recall Scripture and His promises to me.
There have been times where I thought I might lose my mind or need a counselor immediately. Yeah, that's probably still going to happen too. But, after I breathe ... and I mean, literally BREATHE, God reminds me again that He's in control NO MATTER WHAT.
No matter what happens and no matter what I can't control, He's got it and He's not forgotten about me.
Things may turn out not the way I thought they would or want them to, but just like I trusted Him over a year ago with an obedient act, I can still trust Him now.
And, as I trust, He proves Himself to me over and over.
In the past year, Beau and I have gotten rid of about $9000 worth of debt. Done with. That's a good feeling. Not only did we do that, but were able to pay for our two-week dream vacation to Italy. We all got cars ... not new ... just new to us. Beau got his dream car and his dream upright bass (which he's wanted for over 20 years).
Yeah, all that happened in a year.
So ... now ...
God has orchestrated something else awesome for not only our family, but also for Him.
You see, my parents, have felt the call to be missionaries. Yep. At an age when most people would be thinking about and looking forward to retirement, they're being obedient to His call on their lives. Pretty awesome.
We've known about this for a while and have been waiting on all the details to be determined. And, now they are.
Within the next three months, we will be selling our home and everything in it and moving into my parents' house hopefully by this summer.
Talk about a whirlwind.
This is great for us financially, but SO great for the kingdom of God. They're going to be doing some incredible things and God's love will be shared to so many through this bold move. God really did work this out for ALL of our good.
Our next few months will be filled with work. All those things we had planned to get to some day will be happening ASAP. We're hoping to have our house on the market by March 1st.
It's a great house. We love it and the girls are a little sad about leaving it. So many memories here. But, there are so many more good things about moving and new memories to be made.
We don't know all God has in store, but we know altogether it will be continue to be worked out for our good and His.
Let me just take this moment to say that we believe all this occurred because, not only our obedience with steps we had to take in our lives, but also our obedience in giving.
We have pretty much always been faithful tithers. It was difficult when we were younger and totally living off of so little, but there was just one day where we decided we had to trust God and take Him at His Word. Either His Word is true or it isn't.
It is. I promise.
But, it wasn't the tithing that God was calling us to. It was the giving ... giving beyond our tithe ... giving when we thought we couldn't. Trusting ... yeah, that again. It always comes back to trust.
God really started to prompt us to give in different areas ... to give in ways that would be a sacrifice for us.
I could share all the different instances where God prompted us to give, and the blessings that occurred afterward. But, I'm not going to. Just know ... He means what He says. We don't give for the blessings. We give our of our love for Him. We give out of our obedience to Him. Whether He blesses us or not, we give. But, because we know who He is and what He says, we know blessings will follow.
So ... we're in this transition phase.
Life is changing for us ... we're selling our home, we're selling out stuff, we're moving our family, K Belle is graduating high school, and La Petite Belle is soon to enter high school.
Some big changes.
I know God's got us. And, I know His plans for us are good no matter what changes He brings. I'm sure there will be many more to come. So, we trust.