Ready, Set, Grow

There’s something about new beginnings that are so exciting and full of promise. I am a planner to the core, and every time I am about to start something new, I have big plans for doing everything the right way the first time around. However unrealistic this idea may be, I always believe that if I start out with enough planning, knowledge, and good intentions, I can get things right on the first try.

Maybe you’re like me and you like to plan everything out, or maybe you’re more laid back and willing to go with the flow. But in these days of social media sites like Pinterest and the wealth of knowledge we have available to us on the internet, as well as the expectations we have set for ourselves, the pressure to excel in all of our roles can be overwhelming. As girls, especially, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be good employees, good friends, good wives, good homemakers, good mothers, and the list continues ad infinitum. Between tutorials on eye makeup and instructions on how to do a perfect grouping of pictures and ampersands in your hallways, I end up feeling like a failure when the dinner is overcooked and my hair won’t do anything except the wrong thing.

A few weeks into my marriage, my husband got frustrated with my unrealistic expectations. He confronted me about it, and said:

“You need to stop being perfect. We’re supposed to be learning this together.”

The idea that I was being a perfect wife right away is silly, but his point hit home. I was trying so hard to be my ideal of a good wife that I was missing out on one of the beautiful parts of relationship: growing together. I wanted to give him exemplary meals every night and an apartment that was pretty and cozy, but those were expectations I had created for myself. I was so focused on providing what I thought he needed and meeting the goals I had set for myself that I had not really taken the time to discover his heart and his interests and his priorities (which, believe it or not, weren’t dinner on the table every night and pretty decorations in our apartment).

Whatever new journey you’re starting out on, you don’t have to be good at this yet. No matter how much preparation and planning goes into new beginnings, we can never be completely ready for the changes we face. There is freedom and beauty in progress instead of immediate perfection. When we struggle against failure and setbacks, or we feel like we should intuitively know how to do things, there is grace to fall back on. We have a Father who delights to show His strength in weakness, and we just have to be willing to learn and grow with Him.

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