Progress, Not Perfection
It's that busy time of year where sometimes you just sit and think:
When am I ever going to get all of this done??
I have so much to look forward to: vacations, time off, the most wonderful time of the year is just around the corner! Still, I have this continuous coexistence with stress.
The kind that's with you always.
It's a part of my personality: I'm an INFJ, meaning I worry about things that I don't really even need to think about. In every personality test I've ever taken, it's been the same advice: "You worry too much...TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!"
Some of you know the kind of worry I'm talking about: that deep-rooted worry that starts within yourself, then extends into your friends, your family, and especially into your career.
FIND THE POSITIVES
I can always find the positivity out of that constant stress if I want to. I like the phrase of a wall in Austin that I recently took a picture at with my family this past weekend that says, "smile, even if you don't want to". I struggle with symptoms of anxiety, but I strive to see the positives through it:
I stress over things about myself, but it makes me a better person. I stress about my relationships with my friends, but it leads me to deeper conversations. I stress about my family, but it makes me closer to them. I stress about my career, but it shows how deeply I care about my students and that God has put me where I'm meant to be right now. Bottom line, you have to WANT to find happiness because it definitely doesn't come running to you.
Stress has always weighed me down. Sometimes I have felt so heavy under it that I feel like it's because something isn't right. That is just one small thing that can make us fear. It can spread doubt into our lives and make us lose our purpose: "One who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind" (James 1:6). And boy, have I felt some of those storms in my heart.
DOUBTING IS WORSE THAN STRESS
Imagine piling on stress after stress, and realizing that you shouldn't even be this stressed, because it's where you're meant to be. Maybe that's true; but if you are under so much stress that you can't even find one silver lining, then maybe it isn't where you're meant to be. Could you be overlooking the fact that your passion for it is the reason why you're stressing over it in the first place?
We're human, and for some reason, humans seek perfection.
We can't let doubt take place of reason in our lives. We should count it all joy when we reach the trials of our lives, because it actually means our faith is being tested (James 1:2). If we truly love what we do, we will be patient enough to see our hard work through no matter how long it takes! And if we truly love who we're around, we'll be patient enough to watch them grow in their relationship with us, just as they are patient with us when we are frustrated with our own imperfections (thank goodness my husband is so patient with me!).
So why don't we settle for progress rather than perfection? Setting the expectation that everything has to be perfect is just too unrealistic; you'll never be happy with yourself, or really anything at all if you live life that way. Expecting perfection isn't fair for your friends, family, workplace, and especially yourself. You can strive to be the best you can possibly be, but you will never be perfect as a human being. I have tried so hard all of my life to find perfection when there is none for me to take. Perfection is God's to give! Instead, let's celebrate each other in the successes of our small steps. Maybe if we did, we would see a lot more happy people in the world!
God Takes our Weaknesses and Gives us Strength
The amazing thing about being in Christ is that we don't have to carry the burdens of stress, anxiety, or weaknesses alone. While we have weaknesses, God puts special people in our lives that give us strength; you just have to be willing to look for them!
He says to us: “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. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
(2 Corinthians 12:9)
~A gal trying positivity on for size
(You're going to love it, I guarantee it!)