Perfection (or Not)

Perfection (or Not)

Follow Susan
Susan York Meyers is the author of several children’s books, including the picture book, Grrr…Night! for which she won the Creative Women of Oklahoma Award. If you enjoy Susan’s humor, check out Two Little Old Ladies: It’s all in the Attitude, a humorous inspirational book combining both fiction and devotionals. Susan lives with her hubby and Kira, the dog that thinks she’s people. You can find out more about Susan and her books at susanameyers.com. Sign up for her newsletter which comes out four times a year.
Susan
Follow Susan
Latest posts by Susan (see all)

Proverbs 31 scares me. The Virtuous Woman’s kitchen floor was always perfectly clean, no sticky messes for visitors’ sandals to stick to. She never ran by the bakery fifteen minutes before school for “homemade” cookies because her child forgot to tell her she was homeroom mother that week. And I assure you the Virtuous Woman never said to her husband, “Whoops, I forgot to go to the market. Can you bring a lamb home to roast?” I’d be afraid to let that paragon of virtue into my home. If there’s a checklist for perfection, there are no checks in my boxes. Seriously.

Take cooking. As a newlywed, I’d drag myself out of bed and make a full breakfast for my man. Remember this was over thirty years ago, when wives still did things like that. After a week, he confessed he didn’t like breakfast but ate it so my feelings wouldn’t be hurt. Well, I didn’t need to be told twice. I threw in the spatula and went back to bed. I didn’t make breakfast again until my son came along.

My sewing skills didn’t earn any medals either. Again, hark back to the olden days when schools still taught Home Ec. Knowing how to sew was a top priority for women. However, even my supportive, loving mother couldn’t figure out how to wear the apron I created.

And then there’s cleaning. If God is in the “big upstairs” wearing a white glove, ready to sweep it across the top of my shelves, I might as well give up now.

Fortunately, the lady in Proverbs isn’t a real woman. She’s a combination of virtues for which to strive. And that’s good news for people like me, who find “adequate” a sometimes daunting task. Even though I know God doesn’t expect me to be perfect, there are still nights I snuggle under the covers waiting for sleeping bliss, but instead my mind says, “Let me remind you how you screwed up today.”

It doesn’t help that it seems like everyone but me has their act together.

Is there some domestic secret? Why does everyone else seem to breeze through being a wife and mother, while I barely manage to limp along?

I remember one Sunday morning, between class and worship service, I caught up with a friend and fellow mother of a two-year-old.

She taught as a college professor.

Her house always looked perfect.

All the treats at her son’s birthday party were hand-crafted.

Maybe, just maybe, she could give me some tips on being perfect. Or at least help me achieve average a little more often.

“Sometimes, it just gets overwhelming,” I ventured to say as my son wiggled in my arms.

She laughed. “I know exactly what you mean. This morning my husband had to grab a pair of socks out of the dirty clothes.”

I managed to shut my mouth so it didn’t look like I was angling for someone to drop a worm in it. “The dirty clothes?”

“Yes. That’s just the way it goes some mornings, isn’t it?”

her-secret-wasnt-perfection-it-was-confidence

She helped me that day. Her secret wasn’t perfection. It was confidence in the fact that she didn’t have to be perfect.

So what if the cake isn’t homemade? It’s bought with love.

So what if I read a bedtime story instead of cleaning? I’ll just tell everyone the dust bunnies are pets.

So what if I’m sometimes slow at getting the laundry done? If it doesn’t smell, no one knows the difference.

No one is perfect. We tend to cut everyone else some slack while holding ourselves up to impossible standards we can never meet. So, my challenge for myself is to start treating myself like I’m my best friend. When I look in the mirror every morning, I give my best friend a compliment. When I screw up, I cut my best friend some slack.

God loves me imperfections and all.

As for the Virtuous Woman, although there are days I like to imagine her cowering beside the washer, eating chocolate and hiding from her kids, I still strive to emulate her. I’ve just learned to give myself a break when I fail.

I am a woman formed by God’s hands, shaped by His love, and saved by His sacrifice.

And that’s perfect enough for me!

ephesians-2-8-9

perfection-socialperfection-pinterest

Resting in His Perfect Peace

Resting in His Perfect Peace

The waters, they rise and they fall, their rhythm is melodic. I am at peace. I can see goodness in the sparkle of sun which glints across waters pristine. I feel comfort in its steady and predictable movement. Hope arises in these moments. I float in the security of carefree waters.

But what then, when the waters began to abandon their state of rhythm? The peace, is it there when the cacophonous overtakes the harmoniousness of the waters? When waters are dark and grey, do I still know that which is good? When my boat is rocked dangerously by waters rough and sudden, do I feel the same warm feeling of assurance? Can hope be sustained in the tumultuous moments? When my boat is tossed by waves dangerous and violent, will my world and all that I know be overcome and sink into waters deep?

You rule the raging sea; when its waves surge, You still them. Psalm 89:9 (HCSB)

The Ruler of All. He is the One who can silence the waters. He is the One who remains sovereign through all moments of life. He is the One in whom I trust; He is the One in whom my soul is anchored. 

I can rest in His sovereignty. When I am floating on waters safe and sure, I can bask in His goodness. When I am tossed about by the roaring waves, I can cling to His authority. Trust, it is there in the stillness and it is there in the storm. To know His sovereignty in all situations is to be filled with peace that is of perfection. It moves beyond understanding–it is not fear, but comfort. It is not worry, but confidence. It is not doubt, but certainty.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26-3 (ESV)

The seas of your life will rage. When they do, is your hope anchored to the One who can still them? Are you being held by steadfast arms through the waters which mean to drown and destroy? Can you find comfort in knowing that whatever the circumstance, you are His and He is yours?

“So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine.” – Oceans (Hillsong United)

He is there and He is waiting. There is no storm too big, there is no wave too high, and no waters too deep. His rescue knows no boundaries and His healing knows no limits. The grace and comfort He holds out to give you is everlasting; it is waiting for you to accept.

What storms of life are you going through right now? How have you found comfort by resting in His sovereignty? How has He carried you through the storm? 

Battling Anxiety During Pregnancy

Battling Anxiety During Pregnancy

Hello. I grew up traveling the world as a military brat. I ultimately felt God's pull to Oklahoma Christian University where I met my husband. We now have 3 beautiful children and have settled in Mustang, Oklahoma.I am a homeschooling mom and with 3 kiddos it is a full time job! I am daily encouraged by God's great patience and grace in my life. In my free time I enjoy reading and crafting.

Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time.  There are all kinds of things that can bring on that sweaty hands, all-consuming angst that just leaves you feeling weary.  For me, pregnancy seems to be a vessel that my anxiety rides on.  I have had varying degrees of anxiety during my four pregnancies.  My first seemed fraught with anxiety that my baby wouldn’t be okay, or that he would somehow be hurt by something I did.  During my second pregnancy, my anxiety got so bad that I actually struggled with postpartum depression for nearly a year before the fog lifted enough that I realized something was wrong.  Each time the feelings seemed to creep up on me and had the potential to leave me feeling less than in control.

As I’m nearing the end of my fourth pregnancy, I’m finding the same things that triggered my anxiety in my second pregnancy are beginning to trigger anxiety during this one.  My triggers are: bickering between my children, aloneness for too many hours in the day, not having a plan or knowing the schedule for an upcoming event, prolonged loud noises, and my biggest one–the neighborhood kids.

Yes, you read that right.  I live right next to an elementary school.  I am surrounded by school-aged children.  I hear them constantly.  They don’t bother me when they are at school.  The sounds of them playing and yelling during recess cause me no alarm.  Their chattering as they walk to school in the morning doesn’t phase me.  Sure we’ve had a ding-dong-ditcher a time or two in the morning, but generally mornings aren’t an issue.  No it’s after school that my anxiety really peaks.

They’re walking home and I hear them.  I hear them swearing, screaming profanities in front of my house.  I hear them playing and horsing around.  I hear them running up onto my carport and sometimes ringing my doorbell and running away as fast as they can.  I hear them after the crossing guard has closed the gate and gone home.  I hear them running, riding bikes and scooters, and yelling to each other from across the street.  And I see them.  I see them riding and running through the four-way stop that only half of the neighborhood observes, without even looking.  I see them going back and forth in front of my house throwing garbage and sticks at one another.  I see them hanging on the gate and swinging it as hard as they can trying to break the lock and chain on it; yanking and kicking the signs on the gate trying to rip them off.  I see them, I hear them, and they disturb me.

I worry that they’ll try to get in my backyard and steal my children’s toys again.  I worry that they’ll climb the trees outside my fence and throw things at my windows again.  I worry that they’ll damage one of my vehicles or get hurt on my property or teach my children a word that I’d rather they not know.  I worry that they’ll be hit by a careless driver as they play in the middle of the street.  I worry that they’ll break out in a fight that I am helpless to stop.  I worry.  And so the days go.  As my pregnancy progresses it usually gets worse.  I wake up in the morning dreading the afternoon.  I find myself agonizing over the squeaking sound of the gate opening in the afternoon, signaling school’s release.  I find myself worrying incessantly about them, and my children, and my house, and me.

And then when the baby comes, in that period when life should be sunshine and roses and snuggles and soft baby smells, I worry.  They disturb me.  I get mad that they’re so incredibly loud right outside my house when my sweet, peaceful baby is resting.  I get worried that they’ll come to the door or window and look in while I’m breastfeeding and bonding with my baby.  And when I let all of that worry and anxiety envelop me, I get lost in it.  And then I yell at MY children.  I get frustrated and upset at every unhappy sound or too loud noise or extra question they ask.  It is nothing more than Satan finding a foothold in my life.  It’s happened once postpartum and I will not let it happen again.

As I feel this all-too-familiar anxiety creep over me, I am beginning with a plan this time.  I will not allow these feelings to control me.  I will not allow a cloud of depression to steal away my memories of my baby’s first weeks.  I will not allow Satan into my home and my emotions.

Matthew 6:34: Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.

This verse always makes me chuckle!  Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Isn’t that so true?  Why would we waste a moment worrying about the events of another day when there is more than enough worry for today?

Phillipians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

This verse gives me a road map for exactly what I need to do.  I need to stop being anxious, bring my worries to the Lord through prayer, and I will be filled with the peace of God that will guard my heart and mind.  How encouraging!  And how simple!

I recently listened to a sermon in which the speaker was commenting on the fact that we often rely on prayer as a last resort.  We say, “Well we’ve tried everything else, now it’s up to God” or “All we can do now is pray.”  This really struck a chord with me.  How often do I waste time worrying and fretting over something and finally I’ll resort to prayer? Why didn’t I seek the comfort only the Lord can bring in the beginning?  This is definitely something that I plan to work on.

Do you ever experience increased anxiety during certain times of your life? 

How do you cope with the anxiety you feel?

Pin It on Pinterest