Tag Archives: perfectionism

Using the “F” Word

I sang at church two weeks ago, less than twenty-four hours after receiving some interesting news. I found out that a pathologist who reviewed my mammogram and biopsy determined that the abnormal mass in my body was no bueno after all. It needed to be removed. The sweet monotone voice on the other end of the phone told me I needed to see a surgeon for a consultation. That was on Friday. She made the appointment for Monday.

In between those two wonderful days, I was set to sing one of my all-time favorite worship songs at church that weekend; one I’d been dying to sing for months. And all I kept thinking was, Really? This weekend?

Everything in me wanted to cancel. I didn’t think I’d be able to make it through the song without bawling like a baby. I wanted it to be awesome. I wanted to sing my little heart out without my voice cracking and causing everybody to squirm in their seats, unable to focus on worship.

But as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t back out. It would have been the wrong thing to do. So, I sang my heart out anyway, fighting back tears each service, praying that the audience didn’t notice all of my “off” notes or worn-out vocals. Oh, there were some great vocal moments, but there were some not-so-great ones too.

Which is why it happened. That’s what finally did me in and prompted me to use the word. It was after Saturday night’s service when my husband asked me how it went, that the word came out of me with a surprising confidence and deep-felt conviction I didn’t realize had been growing inside of me over the past few years. I was so depleted, so tired, so worn out, so done trying to do and be all things to all people, in all ways… that I finally had had enough. And gave in. And said the four-letter “f” word: Fine.

It was glorious.

Instead of describing in detail, like I usually do, which note I hit, missed, where I did great or didn’t do so great, how I felt, what people said, what people didn’t say – I simply said to my wonderful man, It was fine. And smiled a big, fat smile. And ate my dinner.

I’d forgotten what a great word “fine” is. You see, I always strive for awesome. Excellent. Incredible. But that night, that weekend, something snapped. I no longer wanted to care if things were awesome or not. I just wanted to be able to live with “fine” and be really, really good with it.

How freeing! Instead of wallowing in anxiety about upcoming singing and speaking engagements, I have been preparing my best and then letting myself rest, knowing that the outcome will be good enough – no matter what that turns out to be. Yes. Do my best then let it rest. It will be just fine.

There is so much freedom in wrapping our efforts in the blanket of God’s grace. And self-grace.

I’ve noticed myself daring a bit more, saying “yes” to more engagements, and living a bit more courageously.

How about you? Where could you use a little more “fine”? Maybe you need to be fine with not being able to exercise as much as you want to right now, or fine with some relationship you’ve been waiting to turn into “awesome” someday.

For me, I’m going to start giving myself permission to use the “f” word a whole lot more often. You might want to start using it a little more too; allowing yourself to be exactly who you are without any apologies or unnecessary confessions.

Oh, and just to keep you up to speed, I saw the surgeon and will be having surgery sometime in May to remove this mass. I’ll keep you updated and would appreciate your prayers. I’m counting on everything being just fine. :)

I think I’m Perfect.

“Perfect.” That was the name I gave myself at a Women’s Retreat I attended last weekend during a spiritual exercise we were asked to do. Oh, don’t get me wrong! It’s not that I think I’m perfect; it’s that I realized I still operate out of the belief that I have to be perfect in order to be valued.

And of course, all of this came right after I wrote my last blog on identity. Do you think maybe God’s trying to tell me there’s still a little more work to do in this area?

So, on to my “perfect” weekend:

  • I spilled an entire, large cup of coffee all over the place in front a billion women. (Okay, not a billion, but close.)
  • I broke a beautifully manicured nail – way, way down below the finger line, you know, to the place where it stings like . . . (well, you fill in the blank).
  • My daughter and I walked past a glass sign for the retreat and lovingly knocked that sucker over, watching it shatter into a million pieces. And I do mean a million.
  • I hardly slept the entire weekend (one of the worst things for singing), and knew I had to lead worship Sunday morning which of course, I wanted to be “perfect.”
  • And to top it all off, a cute little birdie pooped on my bare foot during my quiet time with God. Priceless.

God had a funny way of stripping away all of my perfect self that weekend, leaving me utterly dependent on what I believe He was telling me His name for me was: “Beautiful.” Bird poop and all.

Why is it still so hard for me to see myself as “beautiful?” (And I’m not talking looks.)

I get my identity now. I know I am loved by God and feel more secure in that than ever. And yet, I still try to live up to my own given name, Perfect, instead of seeing myself as God sees me – faults and all – Beautiful.

I’m not the only one with this problem. One friend at the retreat told me her name was “Crisco,” after the shortening. That was the name her dad called her once because she was overweight as a child. He called her that just one time and yet that name still labels her today. Still another person told me she was operating out of the name “Critic.” She got that from her mom.

As the last session of the retreat was coming to a close, I began to really think about how fierce and powerful we could be if we all operated out of our God-given names, rather than those given to us by ourselves or others. For me, the name “Beautiful” represents something exceedingly precious and valuable enough to admire and spend time with.

If I saw myself as God sees me, Beautiful, every second of every single day, no matter how I failed that day . . .

I might not be so hesitant to take chances. If I fail, who cares! I’m still Beautiful.

I might not get as easily offended by what others say or think about me.

I might be able to relax a little more – or, a lot more – and enjoy my life on a whole new level.

I wonder what your name is and what you think God’s name for you is. I know for me, I’ve made a deal with myself. From now on, every time I begin to feel frustrated with myself or am finding Perfect rearing her ugly head, I am going to remind myself, even out loud if I have to, of my God-given name: Beautiful.

I hope you do the same. Just imagine the changes that might take place if you do!

And now, time to post this imperfect blog . . .