It’s taken me a long time to be content in not being great at everything. Somewhere along the way I bought into a horrible lie that success looked like effortlessly excelling in every possible category. And everyday I would come up short in my own expectations. Shouldn’t I be able to lead innovative, challenging staff meetings by day, (complete with compelling illustrations and visually interesting presentations) and be home just in time to whip up a meal out of Bon Appetit, sew a costume for my 3 yr old, order the most thoughtful birthday gift ever for my mother, bathe my 1 yr old, and fluff the couch pillows all before my community life group arrives at 7pm?
After Papa John’s provides dinner and the trip to Target solves the costume crisis, after foregoing bath time for a night and apologizing for the state of my house when our guests arrive, defeated Me would start in on a vicious cycle of faux problem solving to ensure success the next time around. If I managed my time better, if I planned my meals further out, if I had a cleaning schedule, if I had an administrative assistant, if I created better rhythms- then surely I could do it all. Surely.
I can’t pinpoint a moment when the revelation came, or perhaps I should say began. Maybe it was during a 3am feeding a few months ago. Maybe it was after staring at an overflowing email inbox or the dozen post-it notes that litter my office desk. Maybe it was while sitting on a pew in a worship service. But probably not. It probably began with hearing honest stories of others. Those whom I always presumed were juggling life with great joy and grace and without stress or tears. The idol of “effortless excellence in all things” began to crack. Praise God.
One of my dearest friends is also a working mom. She’s brilliant in her field, which is pretty demanding and time consuming. Simultaneously, she is raising 2 boys (hopefully one for each of my girls 40 yrs from now!) which we all know is a mammoth calling in and of itself. She & I share a saying. It’s always delivered with a bit of humor and a lot of sass. And it’s always received with smile. It usually comes at the end of a confession of sorts and it goes something like this, “my house looks like I’ve been robbed. Don’t judge.” Or “Why yes, I am still in my pajamas. Don’t judge.” Or “I can’t make it tonight, I’ve got a work function. Don’t judge.” It’s our way of asking for grace from each other. It’s our way of acknowledging that we can’t do it all, at least not all of time. And it’s a great reminder that no one, the Lord especially, is expecting us to.