I’m kind of an all-or-nothing kind of gal. Black and White. Type A. Ok…more like OCD perfectionist.
When I was in school, I had a VERY low tolerance for any grade less than an A. It’s not like my parents forced this standard on me; in fact, I don’t have any memory of either of them even asking about my grades. They didn’t need to, because deep inside me, there was this propelling drive to be the best. As far as I was concerned, a B+ was the same as a D-, and no one could tell me differently.
Notice the absence of the F in that scale above. That’s because failure was not an option. And I’m not just saying that to be cute. Failure was NOT. An. Option. True story: I received my first and only F when I was in college (just on a test, mind you, not a course grade), and to this day, I still have nightmares about that class when I’m feeling particularly stressed. It’s exam day…I haven’t been to class all semester…it’s way too late to drop the class…extreme panic attack ensues…I bolt up in bed, sweaty and out of breath. I know. I need therapy.
Like I shared in my newsletter last week, (Click here to sign up if you don’t receive that) two years ago when I first got the idea for the Fearless 365 Campaign, my fear of failing kept the launch grounded for over a year. Every time I dreamed of taking off with this project, my heart rose like a hot air balloon of excitement, only to have it pierced by the beaks of kamikaze crows screaming fears of failure. “CAW! You’ll never succeed!” “CAW! Nobody’s going to read your blog! And even if they do, you’ll never get past week 4! CAW CAW!!” I hate crows. They are evil birds of rebellion and mischief. They feed on dead things…need I say more?
And then I remembered one of the greatest words of wisdom I’d ever heard. This one sentence has played over and over in my head throughout the years, and has helped shape my life. Sitting in a packed audience, I was listening to a best-selling author, mother, national spokeswoman, renowned psychologist, and probably a marathon runner in her “free time.” Someone asked, “How do you do it all? How do you keep balance with career, family, marriage, etc.?” Do you know what this amazing woman said?
“I give myself permission to fail.”
Huh? I’m sorry….were you speaking English? (I’m pretty sure I gasped audibly.)
She shared how she regularly checked her priorities to make sure the right ones were on top: her relationship with God, her marriage, her kids, then her career and all that followed. If projects, chores, or duties began to interfere with those priorities, then she’d have to make the difficult choice to simply let those things go. Some people, even herself at times, would see that decision as failure instead of what it truly was: Living on purpose, committed to succeed in what truly matters.
I know. It’s not rocket science, but sometimes we need to be reminded.
It’s OK to not be perfect at everything! It’s OK to not be excellent in every single area of your life! I think a just heard the moo-ing of a sacred cow falling over. Sometimes we simply need to focus on what is needed…and leave the rest to Jesus.
The Fearless 365 Week Fourteen Challenge: BE FEARLESS TO FAIL. Give yourself the permission to not be the best in every single detail of your life. We’ve all heard the phrase “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff,” but too many times we make the small stuff the big stuff…so we end up sweating everything. This is no way to live our lives! Sometimes, we need to allow some things to go to the wayside. And the truth is, we really aren’t failing at those things; we just choose see it that way.
Take some time today to read about a woman who was so concerned about "not failing," she missed the enormous blessing sitting right in her front room (Luke 10: 38-42). Then sit still for some minutes and ask Jesus to speak to your heart about those areas you’ve permitted to overcrowd your TRUE priorities of life. If you need help prioritizing, think about this: If you were only given a short time to live, what relationships, activities and responsibilities would be super easy to let go, and what would be the non-negotiables at the top of your list? Be brutally honest…then BREATHE and make the changes you need.
We will all be so much happier and filled with joy when we let go of the pressure to be perfect and the guilt when we feel like we don’t measure up. We will discover that what we think is “failing” is really exchanging needless stress for blessed quiet and peace in our souls.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are weary and heavily burdened, and I will give you rest and refreshing for your souls. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest, renewal, recreation, and blessed quiet for your souls. For My yoke is easy to bear and My burden is light and easy to be borne.” -Matthew 11:28-30