Life on repeat

7 Oct

Does anyone else feel like they learn the same lessons over and over and over again? But at the same time, they never actually learn them?

That’s the way I’m feeling. Amazingly, instead of being discouraged, I’m actually encouraged that God is still around, still being patient and reteaching me something I thought I had mastered six months or a year ago.

The last couple of years have revealed two important things about me:

1) I am a perfectionist to the core.

2) I am a pessimist.

It’s not really that surprising that those two things go hand in hand, since things have to be perfect for a perfectionist to be happy. And how often are things perfect?

My point exactly.

I completed Morning #2 of writing (2 for 2!) today and have already encountered a challenge: how to make my “life on repeat” or cyclical problems interesting to readers and not bore them into screaming, “She’s still struggling with that?!?!? I can’t take this anymore!” while they throw my book across the room (or delete it off their Kindle, which would be very less dramatic).

So it is with some risk that I repeat these words from previous blog posts, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take because I seriously am struggling with the same thing again: expecting to be perfect and despairing when I’m not. The reminder is beneficial to me, and I hope, to you.

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From No such thing as perfect 8/24/09

My life will never be perfect. I will never feel like I’m on top of the world and am doing good at this whole Christian thing–at least, I shouldn’t feel that way and I definitely shouldn’t make it my aim to stay there.

Instead of letting my failures and insufficiency cripple me, I should let them humble me and lead me to the cross. Lead me to the One who is sufficient, so I don’t have to be. Lead me to the One who is perfect in my place. Lead me to the place where I can lay my burdens down and remember that “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Feeling like a failure doesn’t have to be a bad thing!! In fact, it can be one of the greatest blessings…because it reminds me that I am nothing without Christ.

Like Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I can be content with a messy house, piles of laundry and dirty dishes, a long and old TO-DO list, nails that need repainting, eyebrows that need plucking, plants that need watering, cars that need cleaning, books that haven’t been read, lessons that haven’t been learned, and pounds that haven’t been lost. I can be content with everything that makes my life a mess. I can be content with “my” schedule being “derailed” and God’s schedule being followed. I can be content with not being able to see how God is using me, knowing that surely He is doing whatever He pleases with my chaotic, unpredictable, so-not-a-routine kind of life.

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From Imperfect is good enough 12/9/10

{Holiday season is just around the corner!}

I need to let go of this idea that everything has to be perfect. My Christmas decorations can have a quirky doesn’t-quite-go-together kind of feel. I can do the exercises at the gym that I know how to do instead of following the newest “Bikini Body in 28 Days!” routine that involves twisting, pulling, jumping, and screaming (that might just be my version). I can read a few pages of a book before falling asleep at night. I can let the dishes pile up in the sink and do them tomorrow.

At the core of all of this is a belief that God is the one who has everything under control. He is the one who makes it all happen, not me. It is also believing that these things I have decided that I “have to do” don’t add or subtract anything to His love for me. He loves me the most He ever will right now, because He loves me with the same love with which He loves His Son, Jesus. Did you know that it actually says that in the Bible? John 17:23 says …”that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” That’s amazing.

It is Christ’s perfection that frees us to be imperfect, to be human, to not have it all together. That doesn’t mean we don’t try to do our best. It means we don’t get discouraged by failure or depressed by overwhelming odds. But we should walk through this victorious, knowing that “steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.” How I need so desperately to believe that truth in this season of my life! It is so easy to let these slight and momentary afflictions take my eyes off God and His sovereign goodness. But I mustn’t. I must keep looking to Him, trusting in Him, resting in Him. “I lift my eyes to the hills; where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.”

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My last (planned) race of the season is this Sunday! I am excited to not have any more races (which means more free weekends) and I’m also excited to start another training plan (which is good because I’m in for the long haul now). And then, drumroll please… only one more weekend with something planned (elk hunting) and it’s free weekends from then on! Woohoo!

Better yet, we might get out of going back to Minnesota for Thanksgiving and Christmas (although we might go early December instead for Matthew’s Eagle scout ceremony). I mean, love going back to see family but it is exhausting. It takes me weeks to recover from those trips. So I will only be slightly sad if we don’t go back. Plus, I really enjoyed celebrating Christmas just me and Travis last year. Right now, anything relaxing sounds like heaven.

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3 Responses to “Life on repeat”

  1. B. in the Know October 9, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

    Yes – I totally know that life on repeat cycle. In fact, far too well. It honestly gets so frustrating, but at the same time I am thankful that it is not up to me to save myself, but rather my savior has even taken care of even my bad cycle.
    Much love,
    B

  2. Lisa October 9, 2011 at 8:19 pm #

    Great post! I know I struggle w/ the same things repeatedly, and it’s important to just keep realizing it and giving it up to God. I enjoyed a look into your past year’s posts.

    Oh, and I agree with this quote 100%… “Anything relaxing sounds like heaven.” Amen!

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  1. Living in the moment, trusting, thanking. « - February 21, 2012

    [...] is something that still stuns me: I’m a pessimist. All my life, I had been confused by the question, “Is the glass half empty or half [...]

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