It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect

It’s been too long, and I have absolutely missed writing and sharing with you.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I posted a blog…maybe a month ago?  Sheesh!  Too much time has elapsed.  The truth is, I have been writing here and there, and in some cases, I would get to “The Moral of the Story” and decide that I wasn’t going to post.  In my head, the blog wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t getting to my point fast enough, or maybe my point wasn’t strong enough.  Over the last few years I’ve established a format for my writing:  I share my story, make it relative so you are included, then I end by sharing something positive.  I try to help us find the bright side so that we are empowered, strengthened, and encouraged.  Lately, I haven’t felt like I could accomplish that, so I haven’t shared anything at all.  I wanted my blogs to be polished and as close to my version of perfect as possible, and even now I feel like all of my recently saved drafts have missed that mark.

Let me add, for those who don’t know, I tend to be a perfectionist, and I am very critical of myself and my work.

If I am accepting that this blog doesn’t have to be perfect, then it at least has to be honest.  Here goes…

The way that I feel about my blogs is a metaphor for how I feel about my life…that I have in some way missed the mark.

I turned 31 last Friday, and enjoyed THE best birthday weekend that I can recall in my 31 years of life.  I had no issues celebrating my proverbial turning of the page to a new chapter.  What I did have a hard time celebrating were the “words” written on the pages of my 30th chapter.  Looking from a broad scope, year 30 was good to me.  I completed cosmetology school, I redefined my friendships and am now blessed to have one of the healthiest friendships I’ve ever had, my credit score increased by 80 points or so,  I was introduced to the possibility of being a homeowner, I served on a staff development council for my school division, I embraced womanism, I rediscovered who I was and learned to choose me, I became a bit selfish, and I found God in a new way.  30 was lit!  30 was so good to me that I almost didn’t want to turn 31, but I didn’t want to die either, so there’s that…  Anyway, with the good comes the bad so that we will have balance.  I have had some health challenges that put me a little too close to checking out than I would have liked, I watched some close relationships dissolve like a sugar cube in a hot cup of tea, I found myself feeling indifferent towards my job, areas of work that once brought me joy were stressing me out, and too often I felt behind, stuck, and unproductive.  I reached a point recently where I was so stressed out that I could barely sleep through the night and would cry in random places at random times including but not limited to the pharmacy.  As well as Chapter 30 read, the story didn’t match the draft that I had written, and the closer got to my 31st birthday, the more reflective I became – per usual.  In that time I discovered I loved my life but was dissatisfied with the some of the details within it.  By now I imagined I’d have more money in my savings account, my credit score would have continued to jump in high increments, I would have lost weight, I’d be taking one less prescription pill, I’d be a licensed cosmetologist (because I still haven’t taken those exams), and I would have become a business owner adding a few extra dollars to my bank account each month.  I figured my life would be on a better track especially since I’ve sacrificed so much and worked so hard over the last few years.  Well, those things still haven’t happened, and as much as I want to celebrate what I have done, I often cry over the things I haven’t.  It’s like I’ve done all of this, but I still haven’t gotten to the point – whatever that is.  I told you I am very critical of myself and my work.

So 31 has come, and I haven’t accomplished all those things in the last six days.  If I’m honest with myself, I’m not going to accomplish those things within the next six days either.  I literally have to take life one day at a time and accept that it doesn’t have to be exactly what I want it to be.  Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be good.

After my major transitions of 2017 and 2018, I assumed that I wouldn’t have to endure another transition for some time.  TRANSITION SUCKS!  After what I endured a couple of years ago, I didn’t want to be that stressed, cry that much, be filled with worry, and go through so many changes again.  Fast forward the clock to 2019, and I am once again smack dab in another transition…and I hate it.  So in a nutshell, that’s why I haven’t shared as much.  Too many of my waking moments are consumed with trying to figure out my next step or trying to readjust my current move.  I spend too much time attempting to calculate how much living this life and trying to be who/what I’m supposed to be is going to cost me.  Ladies and gentlemen, it is exhausting.

Quick story… This is a excerpt from the blog I was supposed to post last week.

I came to work exhausted but excited that today is my Friday.  Though I don’t have any concrete birthday plans, I’m just excited that my birthday is in less than 17 hours.  A coworker walked into my office and interrupted my litany of thoughts with her salutation.  This particular coworker isn’t one to speak and keep it moving.  No!  This lady will pull up the chair that you didn’t offer and engage in a conversation that you didn’t request.  Because she is likely 25 years my senior, I respectfully obliged as she talked herself into a whirlwind of excitement…alone.  A conversation that began about boxes morphed into the projected pleasant weather which allowed me an opportunity to mention my upcoming birthday.  I find every reason to mention my birthday.  *smile*  She seemed equally as excited as I was and proceeded to ask me how old I will turn.  “31,” I said with a hint of disappointment.  My mind immediately began reeling with the plethora of goals that I didn’t cross of my list by the deadline: my 31st birthday.  I began counting all of the things that I had lost or still hadn’t acquired though I assumed that by July 26th at 31 years old I would.  Again she interrupted my thoughts and said, “I’m so proud of you.”  I swear it was as if a record abruptly scratched on its player and the room grew awkwardly silent.  As if she could sense my confusion, she began listing off MY accomplishments to me.  “You put yourself through cosmetology school and made it out all while still working a full time job and doing whatever else you do.  You know you do a lot, girl – plays and hair and this and that…  You’re doing well for yourself!  And just think, soon you’re going to open that salon you want and find that cash cow.  You’re going to be making good money because you’re good at what you do and you chose something you like.  You’ve done well.  You’re on your way.”  I thanked her as she turned to walk away.  Before she made it completely out of my line of vision she turned back to me and said, “Just be still.  It will all be fine.”

*sigh*

Here’s what I should have said last week about that exchange…

God sent her into my office to tell me two words, “Be still.” 

Some of the things that I have lived through were completely out of my control, some things were reactions to what I couldn’t control, and other things were the direct results of bad decisions.  Regardless of the cause, I cannot stop anything that has happened from happening.  It’s done.  However, I can waste precious time and kill my joy by comparing my reality to my expectations.  (I think I’ll blog about that one day.)  I can mistreat my gift of right now trying to manipulate time, come up with plans, and end up in a frustrated stupor because I want things to be perfect right now.  Anyone who knows me knows that I hate processes, and I can be impatient.  Well guess what life guarantees?  You’re going to go through something, and you’re going to have to wait.  While I am waiting, I need to be still.  Be still?  I’ve been fidgety all of my life.  Be still and do what though?

“Be still and know that I am God…”

Psalm 46:10 [King James Version]

I like that in the Contemporary English Version is says, “Calm down.”  I definitely feel like my clap-back version of God is like, “Aye, chill out.  Calm down, yo.  I got you!”

This psalm begins by saying, “God is our refuge and strength; and ever present help in the time of trouble.”  After telling us how well God can take care of us in a myrad of situations, we are told to, “Be still and know that I am God.”  In this psalm, right smack dab in the middle of what seems to be a sucky situation, God is like, “Yo!  Chill out, bruh!  Dang!”

Last week I had a Come-to-Jesus meeting with myself where I yoked myself up by my collar; God didn’t have to do it this time.  The conversation was as follows:

Me: Christen, if you are so discontent with ______________________, change it!  Do your part and try something else.

Me: But what if it doesn’t work out?  What if I’m stuck with this?  This is too much.

Me: Hasn’t God taken care of you through worse?  Oh, okay.  Chill out.  Do your part.  Trust God.  Periodt!

The end.

I’m doing the most comparing where I thought I should be to were I am, trying to make everything just right, not enjoying today because I’m trying to figure out tomorrow.  I’ve been cumbered about with many things!  The word for this season is BE STILL!

THE MORAL OF THE STORY

…if there has to be one.

Chill out.  Life and everything that pertains to it will never be perfect.  You’ll always feel like there are things that could be different or better.  There will always be a part of you that wants to rush ahead to the good (or better) part.  Live today all the way out then see what tomorrow holds.  If you can make changes, do that.  If you can’t change anything about your circumstance, change your perspective.  Trust that God -who has BEEN taking care of you – won’t stop working things together for your good.  That’s it…good.  Even when it’s not perfect, it can still be good.

This was probably a jumbled mess of rambling, and I was talking directly to myself the whole time.  I hope it spoke to you too.

I hope this helps.
-Chris

 

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