Inside: What if we accept that a beautiful and meaningful life is messy and we stop looking for perfect so that we can embrace the real life in front of us.
Life is messy.
We create weekly rhythms and chore charts, financial goal sheets and healthy menus that take into account everyone’s preferences. We do date nights and declutter and determinedly decline 80% of the invitations that come our way. All in the hopes of creating orderly, simple, tidy lives.
And still, it’s all messy.
We tip into discouragement, especially when we compare our lives to the celebrity blogger or simple living guru. We wonder what we’ve done wrong, what else we can let go of. Maybe if we move into a tiny home with a compost toilet and cloth wipes, life will finally feel simple and easy!?
Mostly you get real food on the table and sometimes you don’t. But you give thanks and gather together regularly and enjoy chatting and laughing about the day.
You maintain decent order in your home but hope people don’t look too closely at the kitchen floor which hasn’t been mopped in weeks. Instead of constant cleaning you’re doing work that lights you up, making real food, and going for walks so you are able to show up for your family with love.
Dates nights often consist of driving to Costco together or a quick walk holding hands. But those snippets of time matter and maybe this is what growing old together looks like anyways.
Everything seems to be breaking at once and dipping into your emergency fund to repair the fridge and fix the roof totally stresses you out, making you feel like life is always one step forward and two steps back. But at least you built up that emergency fund, to begin with.
You’ve been really tired lately so instead of making Pinterest-worthy crafts, you and your child snuggle on the couch, nestled deep under the fraying quilt, enjoying a Netflix series together. She lays her head on your lap and you know that soon this season will be over; she’s growing up too fast.
Messy and incredibly beautiful.
None of us live perfect lives, do we? Yet it’s so easy to only see where we’ve dropped the ball, don’t measure up, cannot keep up.
We overlook all the hugs and packed lunches, the showing up and tucking little people into bed. The doing our best even through seasons of grief or pain or uncertainty. The helping our college-aged son buy groceries when he is broke and helping our daughter fly the nest when it’s hard and feels like just yesterday that she was learning to read. The messy, ordinary stuff of real life that doesn’t photograph well.
Our pain and discomfort grow roots, I believe, when we spend too much time comparing, thinking about what was or what might be, instead of embracing what is.
Today is a gift in all its ordinary, messy, imperfect glory.
WHAT IF WE ACCEPT THAT IT’S ALL MESSY, STOP LOOKING FOR PERFECT, AND EMBRACE WHAT IS?
1. We could stop watching TV and reading magazines or unsubscribe from social media that makes us feel “less than”;
2. Take periodic breaks from all social media or consumption – time to unplug and just live in our messy, beautiful, real lives;
3. Speak to ourselves with kindness and forgive ourselves for not living up to our too high standards;
4. Remind ourselves that there is incredible beauty in imperfection.
5. We could stop comparing ourselves to some imaginary story about what a good mom looks like;
6. Love our husbands as they are and stop trying to mould them into someone they’re not;
7. Embrace our imperfect bodies, our graying hair, the beautiful crinkles at the corners of our eyes that speak of a full life, well-lived.
8. We could celebrate each child for who they are and stop worrying that they don’t fit the mould of the girl next door;
9. Choose to see the beauty, embedded deep in each scruffy soul we meet;
10. Spend more time appreciating what we do have than pining for what we don’t.
It all goes by so fast. And if we spend the handful of years we get waiting for someday to be happy, never quite satisfied, forgetting to slow down and breathe and notice, we will miss the incredible gift we have been handed.
Life is all messy: Let’s stop looking for perfect and embrace what is.
This post was originally published at Simple As That (June 18/17)