Letting Go (a.k.a. Perfectionists Anonymous)

Dedicated to my fellow first-born, over-achieving, have a hard time letting go, Type-A peeps.

Dedicated to my fellow first-born, over-achieving, have a hard time letting go, Type-A peeps.

Ten years ago I would have been hesitant to admit I’m a Type-A person. (We’re always the last to know, right?) In most of my adult life (and childhood for that matter), I was fairly easy-going. I was often happy to go along with whatever my friends chose, content to just hang out with them. I really had little need to “be in charge.”

So it was with great disappointment that I finally admitted to my husband and friends (who already knew) that yes, I am a control freak. It's not really that I have to control everything. If I’m participating in someone else’s “thing,” I have no problem going along with it. If you’re in charge, we can do it your way.

However, it was in the things that I did have control over that my inner control freak began to rear her ugly head. My house–since I’m here most of the time, it shouldn’t be too difficult to keep it relatively spotless at all times. Meals…how hard is it to have tasty, nutritious meals on the table for my family every evening. Children…it’s not too much to ask that they be well-dressed, well-fed, well-behaved, and content most of the time. I’m not unreasonable. I realize they are children and will have their moments, but I’d say hitting the mark 90% of the time isn’t too much to ask (for my children anyway.) Yeah, right!

As for my personal life….well, there’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to workout daily, have a quality devotional time, and find time to write on a regular basis, right? It's really just a matter of scheduling and prioritizing. I just need to make the right lists (I do love my lists!) and find the most efficient way of doing them. It’s totally doable. Sound about right?

Fortunately, God has a sense of humor and paired me with someone who helps me take a breath and realize it's OK if we have cereal for dinner and the kids are running around like monkeys. That’s just where our lives are right now. Sure it would be nice to have a peaceful, spotless home in which to unwind each evening. But the sight of toys strewn across the floor and the sound of giggles and pounding feet as our children chase one another through our home remind me that my to-do list isn’t the most demanding issue right now.

So a step on my journey to mature, well-adjusted, middle-agehood is to LET IT GO. (Aren’t you proud of me for not making a list of things to let go of? Believe me, I thought of it!)

Recently, I have hosted gatherings while my kitchen floor remained un-mopped (horror of all horrors!) We have eaten late dinners (and consequently had late bedtimes) so that I could spend time enjoying my family instead of rushing through our evenings. Last Christmas, the kids’ teachers received cookies “creatively” decorated with love instead of Pinterest-worthy gingerbread men. And I have enjoyed coffee with friends while our kids played in our basement which looked like Toys R Us had exploded just before they arrived.

Guess what? No one mocked my sticky kitchen floor, the teachers loved their cookies, and my friends and I had a wonderful chat while the kids relished in the toy rubble. Maybe, just maybe, if I can push past my initial, hand-wringing moment when the door opens to my less-than-immaculate home, and if I can focus on the person and the moment at hand, everyone will have a better time…mostly me.

Now, if you’ll excuse me we are having guests this weekend and I need to go organize my spice cabinet. (Baby steps, right?)

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Plus: Read the full story of my journey through cancer to healing in Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm. Available now at Amazon.

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