If you are like me, you probably have a certain way of doing most everything. You put away your towels with the fold facing out; you line up items in your pantry by height and label color; you use bleach for everything. Whatever it is, you have your routine or plan for doing things.
This is normal.
What is not normal is adapting from that script to make way for others. Letting go of control can be a chaotic, stressful thing, especially for those of us that need predictability to make it through each day. But when a family enters the picture, bit by bit we all inevitably find ourselves having to compromise to make way for the way other people do things.
I found myself here as soon as our home started filling with babies and pets. I will admit, I spent way too much time stressing over how things were done than rejoicing in the fact that I didn’t have to be the one doing them. Finally I heard 5 words that have completely changed how I look at this crazy life:
Done is better than perfect.
It’s true, you know. Especially since when you really stop and think about it, perfection in this broken world is little more than a pipe dream…and yet we strive. Hoping that by trying hard enough we can make things turn out exactly as planned. (Pinterest fails, anyone?)
But let me tell you something I have discovered – there really is peace when strivings cease. And allowing others freedom to stretch their wings in service with and for you is an incredible gift, both for them and for you.
When I let my kids empty the dishwasher and wash windows and fold laundry – without correcting them or going behind them to re-do it all – I give them the gift of learning how to work hard, and of performing acts of love and service for our little family.
When I let my husband do things how he sees fit, whether it is feeding the kids pancakes with chocolate chips for dinner, cleaning the shower with a non-organic cleaning solution, or washing out used barf bowls in the tub (it happens, folks…it happens), I give him the gift of leading our home without being nagged or scolded about things that really don’t matter that much anyway.
In turn, when I throw all of the laundry in together without bothering to separate out colors or whites (this drives him crazy) or when I make it to the gas station on fumes…barely, he never judges me or gives me a hard time even though both of those things are definitely not in line with how he would do things himself if given the chance.
Grace is a two-way street that always leads to joy and peace. Always.
It frees us from unrealistic expectations and gives others room to live their lives.
I challenge you to embrace this mantra this summer.
In gardening – done is better than perfect. Plant those flower pots, pull some weeds, and let the chips fall where they may. It may not be worthy of a cover of Better Homes and Gardens, but it will still look great – I promise.
In cleaning – done is better than perfect. Arm your kiddos with dust rags, drying cloths, and brooms and send them out to do their best. Sure, they may leave a lot of dust behind, or they may vacuum in crazy patterns instead of nice straight lines, but they will have tried, and that is what counts.
In relationships – done is so much better than perfect. So what if your house is messy or your kids are grumpy. Put on a pot of coffee and invite friends over for a playdate. Stay up late and play a game of cards with your hubby once the kids are in bed. There will never be a perfect time to forge relationships, so dive in and embrace the crazy. I am convinced the best relationships are built on a firm foundation of laughter and a “let it be” mentality.
Incidentally…”amen” means let it be. So when you pray, remember to end with “amen” even if it is just to remind yourself that you have the power to let things go and give your expectations and fears and dreams to the only one that can claim perfection: our Lord.