Faith Reflections

When Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect

A brand new planner is a beautiful thing. Clean, crisp pages full of potential and possibilities. Everything is neat and clean and begging to be made into memories and moments. What will March 2019 hold? What adventures will I take in September? What will I reflect on in December? Who knows? All those stories have yet to be lived and told.

passion planner

While exciting, a new planner is also intimidating. I purchased a new planner for 2019 and it took me about two weeks before I wrote anything in it. I looked at it nearly every day but I didn’t know where to even begin. This planner is not just for calendaring. It is the Joanna Gaines of calendars. The last half is full of blank pages where you can dream, sketch, and track your passions. One search of #pashfam on the internet will overwhelm you with beautiful layouts and designs. Some invest a small fortune in stickers. Others have the amazing gift of hand-lettering and drawing I covet. They all looked so perfect, so inspired. What if I made a mistake? How could I even expect 2019 to be worth living if I couldn’t write pretty words in my planner? Lord, in your mercy …..

Jumping In

Eventually, I had to make my first marks or I spent $30 on a paperweight. I started easy with a couple of stickers because who can mess up stickers, right? 

I can.

I put the very first sticker on the wrong date. That is what I get for trying a Monday – Sunday calendar for the first time in my life. 

I pulled the sticker up along with some of the paper underneath. My planner was now officially broken in.

Letting Go

The first car I ever bought was my beloved red Jeep Cherokee. Within two weeks of driving it off the lot, the driver’s side was dented in a store parking lot. I don’t know what happened but I do remember my reaction – a sigh of relief. Up until then, I was anxious over the perfection of my car. Now, it was over and the pressure to have to maintain perfection was gone. 

After pulling up that sticker along with a portion of the January calendar, I felt a sigh of relief. With the first mistake out of the way, the road finally opened up for me to actually enjoy my new planner. So what if my lines are a little crooked. Who cares if that second “n” looks a little wonky in “new beginnings”. Doesn’t this look more like my life? An imperfection here or there yet everything still works as needed. Why did it take a mistake for me to embrace this truth?

A New Year of Grace

I love the beginning of a new year. Fresh starts are my jam. I have my word of intention for the year and I’ve committed to a few habits I want to practice. 

But today, I felt the anxiety of ruining a perfectly good year on day one. Like the jeep or the planner, I’m afraid of failing right out of the gate. Should I just skip the gym today and get it over with? Maybe order a large pizza with a side of cheesy breadsticks and maybe that molten lava cake for home delivery? I’ll have nowhere to go but up after that and, since we all know this will happen one day, why not get it out of the way. 

Well, I did exercise and I didn’t order the carbs but I still committed my first blunder for the year – to hold perfection, rather than the journey, as my goal.

I believe a lot of us live oppressed by expectations – others and our own. If I could just … If only I were ….  maybe then ….. Some of us live shackled by perfection. Others intentionally sabatouge to get the disappointment out of the way. I’ve seen people make a mess of their life simply because they were sure they’d never measure up and didn’t want to live with the pressure of awaiting the inevitable.

Part of my hope with pursuing submission this year is to abandon outcomes to God. The worth of my year and my life is not based on whether I follow through on all my intentions, goals, or habits for the new year. They are not the goal. They are practices that help me pursue my goals. Practices to become a healthier person; practices to keep my life open to God. And we all know how practices go. Sometimes they’re great. Sometimes they’re off. Sometimes we don’t even show up. But there is always another practice ahead.

Let’s hold this new year and ourselves with an abundance of grace. Some days we will put the sticker on the wrong date. Other days we’ll get it right. Regardless, the days will continue. My hope is to keep showing up and abandon the outcomes to God. 

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