Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Grace rules

I'm looking for a new rule to live by. I love rules. When you follow them, it's like a RULE that you're doing it "right" and therefore no one can mess with you. Nothing bad can happen because that's the RULES and you're following them.

For a long time (my life time) the rule I've subconsciously lived by (and recently not so subconsciously have tried to extricate from my brain) is this:

you're not done until it's perfect.

Hence, logically, tragically, depressingly... I'm never done. Never, no matter how much I have done, heck, even if the thing is done - I'm not done. Is or was it perfect? No? Well, then I'm not done. I'm trying to figure out what I did wrong so it can be a little closer to perfect next time. I should have done better. I should have foreseen the unforeseeable. I should have known not to say or do that. I should have planned for x, y and z.

I don't know what it's like to do my best and let that be good enough and just sit back and relax and enjoy the fruits of my labor. I can't enjoy. There is no enjoying. There's only "this may be nice but it's not good enough yet. Here's how it could have been better." I seriously can't think of a single thing I've done that I didn't have some amount of self-inflicted shame or guilt over not doing it better, even if "better" equals "humanly impossible." It's somewhat more terrifying when it turns out that it's just "beck-ly impossible" and lots of other humans can do it just fine. Because then, as you can probably guess, beck despises herself even more for not being able to accomplish something "perfectly reasonable, just look at all those (differently gifted) people skipping along."

I'm sure this perfectionism fed my depression, especially after having a kid (or two.) As any parent will tell you, the presence of a new baby often doesn't allow for even the most basic of things to be begun, much less DONE and finished. So I didn't do anything (or hardly anything) because why did it matter? I couldn't even pretend to be done with anything - dishes, laundry, housework... it was all overwhelming and insurmountable. It would never be perfect. I could never be perfect. I am not enough. My husband and kids deserve someone so much better than me. Etc..

My sweet husband and children have taught me so much about what love and life are really about. Without them I'm sure I would still be stuck. I am still stuck now, to some extent, but I'm beginning to see that I don't have to be like this. There are other, far more desirable and rewarding options.

Grace, being one of them.

Grace, being the one I just don't get.

And with grace, I think it's supposed to be like that.

I've known of grace all my life, but I think, just recently, I'm starting to live in and with grace. God's grace.

I can be done.
Jesus is perfect.
I don't have to be.


  1. this was so encouraging. I am so blessed by what you shared

  2. bethany actuallyJune 2, 2010 at 10:36 PM

    Beck, this is honest and beautiful. And whether or not we all struggle with perfectionism, I think we all struggle with the idea that WE can do it better than God can, with the illusion that WE are in control. I think you are right, that by its very nature grace is not supposed to be logically understood, especially as it applies to us. This post made me think of 2 Cor. 12:9: "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."

  3. I'm glad you've started to realize that the "not done until it's perfect" rule is... well, not an actual rule.I identify with the frustration of the "not beck-ly possible." (Or in my case, "not krud-ly possible.") The more people that I know are capable of doing something, the worse I feel about not being able to myself. Even though God never intended for all of us to do (much less be able to do) all the same functions. He designed us to work together, and if we all did the same things equally well, we'd have very little use for each other. Ironically enough, even during those moments when you're mentally beating yourself up for not having done something as perfectly as you felt it should have been, there may be someone somewhere who sees what you've done and is mentally beating themselves up for not being able to do that thing as well as you have. ':\Er, not that I'd know who that hypothetical someone would be. I'm just guessing, is all.

  4. Oh my. Too much / Not enough are recurring themes in my life.