This is a rare treat.
My husband is going on a men’s retreat next weekend. Since he’s a compassionate guy, he decided to take the kiddos for a hike to get some much-needed daddy time. And – maybe more importantly – to take them off my hands and give me a break.
So I got a few hours to myself to do whatever I want.
You read that right: Time to myself. To do whatever. I. wanted.
Mind = blown.
Don’t get me wrong, my husband takes very good care of me. But with a nearly-three-year-old and six-month-old, a chunk of time to myself is hard to come by.
Normally I’d go ride my horse. Or go for a hike myself. Or anything that involves moving and getting out somewhere. Well, I decided to nix my norm and try something different. Yes I still got out, but I found myself at a local coffee shop across from the capitol building, sitting on my laptop, plinking away at the keys while sipping a delightfully poured latte.
It probably doesn’t sound exciting to most people — certainly not original. But again, it’s time to think. By myself. Without the kids. And write. That my friend, is like music to my blogger soul. Because I’ll be honest, this is my side-hustle and finding time for it can be challenging.
And as a segway…I’m sure you don’t need to hear my life story right now. That’s why I’m not going to tell it. But I am going to talk about this season. Because, well, I never thought I’d find myself here.
Here’s my confession: I’m really not a blogger.
Being called a “blogger” actually makes me a little uncomfortable. Worse, being called a “mom-blogger” makes my skin crawl. I’m really more of an anti-blogger. Not only did i used to crack jokes about bloggers, I’m not particularly good at sharing what I’m thinking. Or — heaven forbid — what I’m feeling. When I was a kid my goal was to turn 18, move to a little cabin in the mountains and live in seclusion with my horse, my dog and my shotgun. So you can guess practicing sharing was never on my agenda.
Fast-forward a few years, God changed that goal. No, I didn’t wake up one day and decide I suddenly wanted to be a blogger. After a few years I found myself addicted to perfectionism, working a high-stress job, having dead-end friendships and struggling under the overwhelm that comes with it all. Ironically, God used moving to a rural place to draw me out. Through trusting Him and experiencing the healing that can only come from hours of study, prayer and community, I started writing in a whole new way. Hence this blog.
And since becomming a blogger, I’ve become even more aware of my perfectionist bent. It’s that ever-pestering need to be polished. To keep up with other “perfect” examples out there. To project a safe image of myself: neatly put together, organized and majority-friendly. Dude, the pressure is real; there are some bloggers out there who are all that, and they’ve put the blood, sweat and tears into it. Kudos to them!
But in my case…
Well, I’m on month 9 since announcing my blog and I can tell you I don’t feel like I’m polished. Or organized. Nope, not a single iota. And you know what? I’m slowly becoming okay with that. Because the truth is, that’s not real. That image isn’t me.
But friend, it’s so much more.
Being a perfectionist is still my battle. All of the daily stress and overwhelm. Every single day. From when I wake up to when I go to bed (and often in the middle of the night as I wake up to deliver glasses of water, chase away bad dreams or feed baby bellies). Even in getting ready to leave the apartment today, I felt like everything had to be “just right” before I left. The kids had to be fed. Laundry had to be done. Day packs had to be organized. And oh yeah, I still needed to shower, dress and oil up.
After a bit of a mini-meltdown, my husband cornered me as I shower (yes, in the shower. Real life marriage, ya’all) and told me to “just chill. The kids will be alive when you get back.”
But there’s more to the battle than being a perfectionist. There’s the battle against myself. Because do you know something perfectionism absolutely hates?
Surrendering to someone else’s plan.
In February 2018 I attended a women’s conference where one of the speakers mentioned a prayer that changed her life.
It was only two words.
And it scared me.
This was the prayer: Anything, Lord.
Hearing it the first time was one of those moments I knew my life was going to change. But I didn’t want to admit it. I certainly didn’t want to pray that prayer. Because it terrified me. It would mean letting go of my agenda. Letting go of what I held most dear. Letting go of my hopes. Dreams. Goals. Letting go…of everything. To follow anything God would decide for me.
So I didn’t pray it.
For months. It occasionally rang in the back of my mind like a distant cymbal, chiming here and there when I least expected it. And I automatically hit the mute button. Of course I agreed with the prayer — it was a great thing…for anyone else to pray. Just like overseas ministry, it couldn’t be for everyone, right? After all, I had my family to think about. I couldn’t just abandon EVERYTHING without thinking about how it would affect them. Besides, as a perfectionist how could I follow a plan I didn’t have all the details to? So, surely that prayer wasn’t for me.
Recently I listened to a Bible teacher point out as Christians, we are brought into salvation for two reasons: sanctification and purpose. That meant being made holy through the work Jesus did on the cross so we could have a relationship with God, and so we can fulfill His purposes according to His will.
ZING. That means you, Cait.
So it took me a while, but I finally started praying that prayer. And I’m still praying that prayer. Which brings me here.
And here’s my other blogger confession…
Every time I think I’ve “arrived,” God brings me another level deeper. When I think I’ve got life figured out, He peels off another layer until I feel shredded and raw. And it’s the best possible thing He can do for me. Because even as sore and naked as I feel, He keeps showing me I don’t need that layer I was clinging so desperately to. I don’t need to be called a “blogger,” I don’t need the achievements, the status or all those things I try so hard to get.
And deep down all I need is Him.
ALL OF THAT TO SAY: This is the journey I’m on, friend. Just like you. I’m not some “expert” who has it figured out. But I’m stubborn and by God’s grace I want to move one more step forward every day.
So this is what I propose: why not walk together? Trust me, stuff like this is a lot more fun when we walk together.