Written by Christie Love, Founder/Executive Director of LeadHer
“My name is Christie and I buy store bought cookies.”
Whew… that feels good to say out loud. To understand why it feels so good to share this truth with you there are three things that you need to understand.
#1: I used to try really hard to be perfect at EVERYTHING.
In the B.L (Before LeadHer) years of my life, I felt this compulsive need to try to be perfect at all things domestic. I would try to make my kids amazing birthday cakes (I look at pictures of them now and just laugh at how bad they were), create thoughtful homemade gifts and cards, design beautiful scrapbooks for my children, keep my house in tiptop shape at all times, and make amazing homemade dinners for myself and others in need.
While there is nothing wrong with any of these items… there is something that was wrong with my motivation for trying so hard to do them. You see… if I am being honest… I wanted people to think I was on top of everything, could do everything, and had everything under control. I started to recognize this misplaced motivation several years ago… when I had a serious reality check.
#2: I am perfect at NOTHING.
That was my reality check. It came in the form of an ugly, tear-filled realization three Christmases ago, the first Christmas of our LH (LeadHer) years. I was working crazy hard trying to bring this vision that God had trusted me with into reality. However, I also wanted to still look as though I had everything else under control as well. The result was that I was sleeping very little, eating terrible, living on coffee and caffeine as I desperately tried to do it all. While my days were filled with ministry meetings, writing deadlines, and Bible study time… my nights often stretched into the the wee hours of the mornings as I tried desperately to still make handmade Christmas cards, decorate beautiful cookies, make yummy homemade muffins, paint homemade gifts, and keep my house neat and tidy.
I vividly remember sitting in my kitchen in the middle of the night crying out to God for strength and energy. I confessed to him that I was exhausted and tapped out and sadly was not full of the holiday joy and cheer I normally was. To be honest… I had become resentful of the Christmas season and all the extra demands it was placing on my time.
It was in the dark of my kitchen that night… three years ago that God spoke to my heart in a powerful way. A way that has forever changed how I approach my life during the holidays… and all the other days of the year as well.
“Focus on what you are called to do… not what you feel pressured to do.”
Those 15 words that I feel God impressed on my heart that night changed everything.
I was not not called to be a world class baker. I was not called to be a crafting guru.
I was not defined by the cleanliness of my house or the size of my laundry piles. (Thank Goodness)
I felt freedom as the chains of expectation were broken and I was able to see for the first time that in the quest to do everything perfect… I was not really doing anything well.
This month our LeadHer local chapter are talking about the topic of endurance. One of the biggest lessons that God has taught me in the last three years has been that in order to endure – I need to be focused. I need to be focused more on his approval then the approval of other people. I need to focus on what he has called me to do and not what I feel pressured to do. I need to focus my energy and attention on the activities that will bring him the greatest glory.
This lesson means that Christmas looks different at our house then it used to. Instead of beautiful hand made Christmas Cards- there is a yearly family photo shared on Facebook with a note about all that God is doing in our crazy crew. Instead of an abundance of decorations- there is one beautiful Christmas tree. Instead of hours spent shopping at the stores and wrapping gifts– there is a new, simpler focus on gift-giving. Instead of hours spent decorating creative Christmas cookies- there will be only moments spent buying ones that look better and taste better. Occasionally, I will even take them out of the box and arrange them on a pretty holiday platter… but not always.
I have learned it is okay to order pizza for friends with new babies, let my husband fold our laundry without feeling guilty, sleep peacefully even with dirty dishes in the sink, and leave items unfinished on my to do list so that I could spend a few extra precious moments making memories with my family.
I have learned that God called me to be a wife, a mother, a friend, a teacher, a leader, and a follower. I am called to endure to the finish line of life in all of these areas and intentionally leave a positive impact on the life of those in my life… I want that to be a legacy of moments spent not perfection pursued.
I have learned the importance of focusing less on what I can let go of. When I learned to let go of the pursuit of perfection — it freed me up to pursue my purpose. That lesson is one of the greatest gifts that God has ever given to me. It has given me back the joy of the Christmas season and the freedom to enjoy it and the rest of the year in a way never before possible.
What do you need to let go of so that you have more energy and focus to endure in your calling and purpose?