I always love reading the My Aha! Moment section in Oprah‘s magazine. In fact, I usually feel like I have mini Aha! moments with each one.
Being of the perfectionist type A personality, I’m quick to find the error of my ways, looking how to improve the way I’m doing things, kicking it into overdrive as I do. There is no half way here. It’s speeding all the way, pedal to the metal, as I tackle not just one or two things to improve, but the whole shebang.
And before I can pinpoint what’s working and what isn’t, I’m burnt out, tired, and completely unable to focus or remember what I was trying to “fix” in the first place. My mind is hurried and harried, my body tired and trembling.
Recently I found myself up to my neck in the middle of too many irons in the fire, being “good” at any one of them not an option. Only excelling at all of them was allowed. By me.
I burned rubber, skidding sideways into a burnout moment which resulted in the need to take a mental health day from work.
The first half of that day was spent feeling guilty because I wasn’t being more productive.
But somewhere in there God placed His gentle, firm hand on my shoulder, breathing new energy into me. Energy that didn’t make me feel like I needed to DO something. But mental energy that created focus and clarity.
I realized that in trying to do everything, I was doing nothing. At least nothing worth doing. I spent so much time trying to micromanage (aka Control) everything I took on from the process all the way to the outcome. And the weight of that need to control was suffocating me.
A modified definition of the acronym K.I.S.S. hit home. Keep it super simple.
Instead of trying to do everything perfectly, I now work at doing some things that are the most important to me–like being mom, wife, grandma, writer, employee–the best that I can. God can, and does, control the outcome.
When I stress about the outcome of something I’ve taken on, I envision the worst possible scenario. Yup. The worst thing I can think of. Because it’s usually so far out there and absurd that I end up laughing until my stomach hurts and the anxiety simply dissolves.
Rather than try to tackle an entire book in the Bible during my quiet time with God, I have learned that reading and meditating upon one or two verses–or even a short passage–brings much more peace. It’s then I truly absorb God’s message because my focus becomes God, rather than my time.
I have found that when I slow down and take off my control superman cape, I’m less restricted and more productive. And life is so much better.
Slow down and smell the roses is more than just a cliche. It’s keeping things simple. And that simplicity has saved my sanity.
All is Grace.