yellow fall leaves

That tree? It’s my not-orange tree – the one whose roots crushed our sewer line.
But doesn’t it simply glow against that blue sky?

My front yard is still torn up from last week’s plumbing fiasco.
But the sewer line is fixed, and I can flush my toilet now.

My house still smells slightly like sewage, and I’m not sure how long that will last.
But my spiced pumpkin candle pretty much covers that up.

I swept my floors last night, getting rid of the leaves but leaving the mud prints.
But I swept my floors last night.

I made daily to-do lists to avoid being overwhelmed by my long weekly list.
But I’m already behind and finishing tasks a day late – or more.
But I’m finishing tasks – and probably more than I would have normally.

My long-time potty trained daughter soaked her bed last night.
Which is awesome, because I’d hate to run out of laundry.
But at least my washer can be used now (thank you, plumbing that works).

I failed my glucose test last week, meaning I might have gestational diabetes.
But I’ve honestly been looking for the motivation to cut out carbs. So here I go.

Our Christmas budget has been wiped out by plumbers and medical bills.
Good thing I shopped early and have about half our presents already bought.

I’m still figuring out what giving up on perfect means. Does it mean giving up? Letting it all go? I don’t think so. After all, I’ve tried that and it didn’t make me any happier than being a crazy, addicted to perfection maniac. (It just meant I missed more deadlines, watched more TV and witnessed my home reach frat-house-level proportions of filth.)

Last night I barely made it to bed before my self-induced bedtime, staying up a bit later to sweep floors and put away laundry and finish a project for work. (And, oh yeah, change the sheets and sop up the mattress that a certain child had soaked. Thank you, nighttime cough medicine that works too well.)

And this morning, despite having my sleep disrupted by aching hips and weird dreams (thank you, pregnancy. you are so fun.), I hopped right out of bed to change laundry and collect the trash before my husband got home from work.

After last week’s run of no good, horrible, very bad days where a sinus infection, asthma, stress and insomnia meant I could barely drag myself to the couch when my daughter woke me up, I wondered if I was over-compensating. I’m now in my third trimester.

Am I losing my mind with nesting instincts and general pregnancy craziness?

But then I looked around at my house and took another peek at my to-do list for the day (and the day before), and I realized that maybe – just maybe! – I’m getting the hang of the giving up on perfect balance.

None of the chores or projects I’d finished were done perfectly. I’m not kidding; the floor still has the muddy shoeprint from Plumber #4. And the guest post I turned in? Not my best work at all . . . but it’s decent, and it’s done. And you know what? That’s okay with me.

I’ve been reading A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman. My friend Robin claims that Emily wrote the book just for her, but I know that’s bologna. Because OBVIOUSLY it was written for me! (Have you read it? Did you feel that way, too??)

ANYWAY, Emily writes about the tension between knowing something is right and good – and wanting to share it with others, while acknowledging that she’s still figuring it out herself.

I’m asking people to live a life I can’t fully live myself, and that feels unacceptable. But when I get quiet and consider my lack in the presence of God, I know this is what I have to offer, for better or worse…

Just because you can’t fully live your life the way you so long to live it doesn’t mean you don’t fully believe it’s possible with all your heart. And it doesn’t mean you are forbidden to share what you’re learning unless you are living it perfectly.

That’s how I feel about this idea of giving up on perfect. When friends tease me about letting my perfectionist flag fly (“What’s the name of your blog again, Mary?” Hardy-har-har, FRIENDS.), I laugh – but feel bad that I haven’t mastered this shift in thinking and living yet.

How long do I have to write about giving up on perfect before I GET IT???

I don’t know. But what I know is that I’m further down the road than I was before I started this blog. And I know that I love going on this journey with you.

I’m so thankful we get to compare notes and laugh knowingly and nod our heads together, that we get to encourage one another to let some things go while still striving to be OUR best even on the days we can’t get close to being THE best. I’m relieved I’m not alone in this battle, and I’m grateful that you’re here every day as we keep learning, keep trying and keep giving up on perfect together.

Are you still learning to give up on perfect? Is it hard to give yourself a break as you keep learning?

—————

P.S. Make sure you plan to come back on Friday. It’s going to be a BIG DAY here at Giving Up on Perfect. I’m giving away more than $250 worth of gifts to get you ready for the holidays. You won’t want to miss it!!!

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