Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Treasure

There's a little ruby-cheeked sweetheart in Inner Mongolia who has no idea of 
The Treasure 
her parents have for her. A most-valued possession waits for her in a relatively
plain, manila envelope.


Just a month ago, Haliana became part of her Family; the family that already loved her, already nurtured her future in their hearts. The one who would be her Forever Momma had prayed for her even while she couldn't feed her or tuck her covers to her chin at night. The Dad who gained a wistful look when her spoke of his yet-to-be daughter began to understand parenting in a new way while he waited. The big brothers gave her thought as a family-in-waiting does, but it didn't change their life much more than another name at family prayer time and adding a waiting crib to a bedroom.

The paperwork was finalized and the family now sports a touch of pink at the end of 18 years of blue. A new family was made, because it would never be the old one again.

The little girl had her Forever Family--but she didn't yet possess that treasure wrapped in manila.


That took another journey to another city. The girlie in pink laughed and grumped and ate and slept through her week of appointments and official documents. Life was the same for her as she returned home to her new, now-familiar crib and dog and boys.

She is completely unaware of the change that trip to Guangzhou made in her life, but it was the beginning of changes that will effect her life permanently. When Miss Haliana changed families, she gained new citizenship. She still lives in her Asian world apart from the extended American family who long to hug her sweet neck and lavish her with stories from the history she is joining.
She possesses documents that insures she will become 
an American
the moment she lands on American soil.
 That makes my heart ache. 


A very different world waits for her to experience and live.

She was an abandoned daughter, now found. She was one of 147 million orphans in our world, now a rightful daughter. She was doted on and cared for by ayis in exchange for a paycheck; now, she's a priceless addition to an amazing Nation

Her story makes my heart ache for Heaven.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Things Pondered on the Trail


Mark ponders.
I skamper. 

Mark plots. I wing it.

Mark reads and interfaces with several forms of electronic gadgetry
 to plan our outings.
I smile and say, "Sure."

It usually works out in both of our favors.
 Usually.

View from our room that morning

The trail to Rainbow Falls was ~reportedly~ labeled, a "moderate" hike. Moderate means I can walk it with a purposeful stride and not get too winded to chat; moderate means not-too-easy; moderate means maybe-not-a-stroller-but-toting-a-child-is-possible.

Moderate, the trail to Rainbow Falls was not.

Still, we spent a delightful hour on a well-marked trail 
winding up a few moderate inclines.

Beautiful scenery.
Crisp November air.
Encouraging sound of rippling brook off to our right. 
(We were headed to the Falls, ya' know.)
Snow.
(Did I mention crisp air?)
Delightful.




That was the first hour.
As the elevation increased and the cloud-cover decreased, the sun coaxed our exercising bodies to unzip our coats and loosen scarves. The same sun-turned-traitor quietly began loosening the snow's icy grip on branches above us. The tree limbs cackled at they repeatedly sent cascade after cascade of slushy snow bombs onto our heads and backs with sniper accuracy. 

The climb became a Quest.

step.step.step.rainbow falls ahead.step.step.duck under the overgrown mountain laurels.shoosh!new snow on the neck and back.
step.step.rainbow falls ahead.

That was the second hour.
Did I mention the First Hour was fun?

We caught up with and passed an occasional couple 
walking more slowly than us. 
A cheerful "Beautiful Morning!" was greeted by a grunt. 
(not sayin' which of us emitted that sound)

The other groups we encountered along our slushy way were those returning to the shelter of their vehicles waiting in the lots below. There appeared to be two categories of survivors hikers:
the grinning ones sporting aluminum walking sticks, goofy but warm head gear and the equivalent of tire chains strapped to their water-proof foot gear; and
the not-grinning groups dressed like us.

Hikers have their own lingo so we assumed our best State Park accents as we queried each set of apparently successful hikers, "So, did you make it to the Falls?"

Their response dictated from which side of the flow chart our next question came:
"We turned around at the Bridge," received our second question--
"So, how much farther is that?"

The other response, "We made it to the Falls," elicited, "So, how far past the Bridge do you think that is?" (We tried our best to sound all casual.)

 Their answers varied from encouraging us that we were about 2/3rd of the way! to "...oh, maybe 30 more minutes." VAST DIFFERENCE when you've hiked/sloshed/slid/climbed for over 2.5 hours!

I would be unfair to omit that a third group also emerge. A few backpack toting groups cheerily answered: "You don't have far to go. We spent the night at the Lodge on top. 
It was beautiful!" 
I have no words for them. 
I have the feeling if their hands had not been restrained inside those down lined mittens, a sheepish grin and a peace sign would have escaped. 
Not one word from wet-socked me.

When all was said and done, we decided the icy log sporting the misnomer "Bridge" was far enough for us that day and the rhododendrons beyond would have to ambush others with their well-timed ice droppings.

We began our descent and I quietly wondered that the gnarled tree roots that argyled the path were no longer 
toe-tripping annoyances. On our trek back along the same path, they became sure footholds and stair steps. We wondered aloud how this hike would be next Spring--flowers (from my Father, to be sure!) and buds and chattering bird and growing things replacing the sound-muffling whiteness and occasional dry-leaf rustle from the tree tops.

We stopped for more photos of 
nature teasing Winter while still dancing with Fall.

It really was a lovely day of adventure with Mark, John, and Loni.


Some of my path ponderings:


1. Follow a trust-worthy guide. (Mark has earned that label!)
2. If you walk too quickly, you'll always be looking down, worried about your next step. Slow down.
3. No matter how easy or strenuous the terrain, you have to take short breaks--just stop--in order to take in the wonder around you.
4. The thing you thought was an unnecessary hindrance might actually be the thing that helps you along the way.
5.  Listen to those who have experienced the trail you're on.
6. Take joy in the journey. The next time you wander through a trail, it might all be changed. You only get one chance at this path today.

Hmmm. Analogies might truly be my one weakness.


Gatlinburg, TN 
October 27-November 3. 2012

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

It was One of Those Days

Momma said there'll be days like this, my momma said...
But I'm not actually sure she was thinking all of it would happen on the same day...
This particular day was last October,
when Maylin's hair was still short and we thought we'd have a cool winter ahead.

Head cold. 
Need I say more?

Same child down the same slide into the puddle gathered on the bottom of the slide...
in three different pairs of pants. (not Maylin)
You'd think she'd have figured it out on the first trip down, don't 'cha think? 
You'd think I would have figured it out two pairs of pants ago, don't 'cha think?
Start washing machine.

The microwave rolled pungent smoke throughout the kitchen...
which reeked for days although the fans were on and the doors/windows open all day. 
(Scored a new microwave out of that little fire hazard!)

A children's party that three kids needed costumes for...today.

BUT, said children were currently required to replace the sand back into the sand box from where they had taken it to put it in the slide area because apparently the above mentioned water hazard was not enough. They wanted a sand trap. Delay of costume hunt. 
(Score a ripped screen door during the cleaning procedure...)

On to the costume purchase. We had enough time to comfortably enjoy our little excursion together...unless...

The car battery was dead from the sweetly smiling daughter having taken the keys off the rack, inserted them in the ignition, and left it turned "half-on" since...oh, wait, she couldn't explain when she did it since she didn't really speak English-or not so much. 
(Mighty convenient some times, I say)

No problemo. Everyone get into Grandma's van. Grab Maylin's car seat!

Costumes on sale 40 and 50% off! Lucky break, me thinks! 
Something good came from being this unprepared.
Let's head home...we have just enough time to get ready if they eat in the car.

So pretty! You make a sweet Asian fairy, Maylin. (Although, I wanted her to go as a tourist.) 
WOW, that mummy outfit is scary, Matt.
 And Beth, "Goth" has never looked so good. 
Let's load up in Grandma's van and head to your party...unless...

WHERE ARE THE KEYS I JUST HAD?

I walked through the same places I had walked in the past 20 minutes for another 20 minutes. Really. How can I be so careless? How could I lose keys when I am so compulsive about hanging in them up as I come in the door?

As Mark sweetly handed me the spare keys to Grandma's van, I asked one more question: 
Where's Justin?  
He and Austin had taken the keys from the rack where I'd left them and went to finish some jobs at Grandma's house just as I had instructed 3 hours before. 
Did I mention, that I sent them?!

But truly, it was a hilarious day that will rank up there in my 
Comedy of Errors for a L...O....N...G time.

I'm ready for bed.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

11 Month Later

Our family has been complete for 11 months.



Maylin became our daughter on August 1, 2011
and she came home to her new family on August 13th.

This years ranks up there with some of the most intense months of my life.
It feels like yesterday-and-forever-ago.

Mark and I have had the awe-inducing privilege of 
watching God unfold this Flower He'd prepared for our family 
and the honor of watching the Bouquet to which she was added 
engulf, embrace, and encourage her beauty, her gifts and her growth.

It's amazing, yet it's not. It's so God to do this for us and through us.

It's a story that I've read on 100 blogs, and I now write.
 God takes the abandoned, the misshapened, the lonely, the neglected
and makes all things new.

He didn't just give Maylin her home and her place to 
BE,
He gave our family the gift of being stretched and being loved and 
BEING true family.

Maylin is amazingly fluent in English. 
She still has some sounds that are difficult to say, 
but when we correct her, she tries to correct it without "attitude."

My heart-break concerning language was that I intended to prove the experts wrong by maintaining her Mandarin. It broke my heart to watch her Mandarin comprehension decrease as her English increased. We just aren't bilingual in our home, and the experts tell us that's what it takes. 
I regularly google translate nouns (especially foods) for us to learn 
and she is completely relearning them. 
(She has much better pronunciation than I do, though!)

Her fits of anger resolved within weeks of being home.
Her food preferences are becoming Americanized  (another "loss" I grieve!)
She is nearly "tall enough" for school which begins in August.

She got her vaccinations for school without a flinch. I had put it off for months and finally wrote on my own calendar: "Maylin shots. JUST DO IT." She walked with me  into the pediatrician's office, sat up on the exam table, took 2 in each arm and looked a little confused when we were amazed.

She revels in overnights at a friend's house.
She's bossy (although she'll wrinkle her nose and shake her head "no" if I say she is)
Her favorite dog is the one she'll lolling all over now.
She hollers, "Chair back," when she leaves her spot to get something or do something.
She leaves clothes wadded where she dropped them (good training by sibs!)
She argues to get whatever everyone else seems to want, even if she doesn't really care. 
(frequently, the place in the car)
She loves to bake with Anne or me
"My help?" is one of the phrases I'm not correcting yet.
 Family Dedication on Mothers Day 

About 3 weeks ago, I noted to a friend, "The honeymoon is over."
Maylin is just a regular kid that spends a lot of time testing boundaries, and jerking peoples' chains.
She knows what it takes to push someone's buttons, and does so with joyful abandon. 
She is tearfully repentant when she knows she's busted, but will try the same thing at the first opportunity. 

Just a regular Dersch.

What an amazing Flower From My Father.


Friday, June 29, 2012

Check yer Trailer and yer Dishrag

Two very short thoughts that I'll allow you to ruminate on yourself:
Keep checkin' yer Trailer, 
and
 One day, the dishrag will do it's job in a timely manner.

First things first.
I recently packed, put down, hooked up, towed, set up and lived in a pop-up trailer.
It was only 5 days of camping, 
and we were near our Grandparents' house where we'd hang out for parts of the days.
I didn't do it single-handedly (thank you, Peg, Justin, and occasionally, Aus.)

We came home with the expected, nasty, swamp-thing smell in the dirty clothes bag and the unexpected new pet in the cat carrier. 
(Thank you, Aunt Robin for your help in our getting Hunter home.) 

That has nothing to do with Checking your Trailer, except it (kinda) proves I did indeed camp.

We pull our trailer with The Big Van.
It's the 10-seater on a 15-seat chassis which is known in these parts as 
The Derschmobile.

Yeah, really.

Once it was my primary mode of transportation, but Mark has lovingly provided a much more fuel efficient minivan for our daily use. I never really minded toting us all in it, hopping out at Publix and then filling the back with a ton of groceries. 
I like to make a (quiet and controlled) scene sometimes.

Anyway, as I left Ocala on Tuesday morning with 6 kids and my mom,
I was getting used to the feel of pulling the trailer again. My extended van was extended another 18 feet, and my brakes and accelerator needed a little more than I usually give them to get the same job done. 

It didn't take long to recognize that when I'm in the right lane (where I don't often travel on the interstate, since that's where the slower vehicles are) I tend to hug the left dotted, white lane line. 
I didn't mean to; I just noticed that I did. 
The van didn't hang over the line (often) and it was never a traffic issue.

But the trailer is a tad wider than the van...
and it would inch it's way onto, and sometimes, over that same line I was hugging.
As many of you know, even when I try not to, I often think in metaphors and analogies.

Every time I got to close to the restrictions placed on me (reasonable restrictions, for my safety and the safety of others, I might add) the stuff following me went a little farther than I did.

Can you make this one up yourself? It has "parenting analogy" all over it. 
Even my dear G. might get this one without explanation, eh?

That's all I'm saying about that one. 

I really hate that I like this cat!


There is absolutely no clever "tie-in" between that and the next thought, 
except they both happen to be in my head. 

Don't you enjoy the look and feel of the kitchen counters wiped, the sink empty, the floor taken care of by you or the dog, possibly the dishwasher running (sorry, Tiff) and the leftovers put in the frig? The kids all head in their different directions, and you get to sit at the computer for a few minutes and...gasp...blog? Even typing it makes me a little heady.

For those of us who have older kids, it happens more and more often.
For those who still have pre-school and young elementary kids, not so much.

Here is my little encouragement for y'all in the throes of the not-tidy kitchen years:
The dishrag will one day do it's job in a timely manner. 

Really, it will. 

And you'll be glad to see the counters are still the same color as when you moved into that house, and the amount of food left on your floor will no longer be able to sustain a small family, and the pots will get scrubbed nearly every time something gets stuck on them.

Really. 

So, go look after them youngin's and maybe even a hubby, 
and let the corn sit on the counter until after their bedtime 
(But, not the meat. Put that away now.)


Whatever their ages, enjoy that stage.
They'll only be there for a little while. 
(And while we justifiably thank God for that sometimes, 
we should also remember to slow down and "roll in it" when we can.)

Go. Really. Before I put a Cheeto up your nose.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

On Crock Pots and Microwaves

As I typed the title, I realized I just threw out my crock pot last month as we were prepping for the wedding (not to give us the pittance of space, but because the crock pot didn't work.) I wonder if I'll end up with an analogy from that. No, I know I will; I just wonder if it will be a good one.

The oven chimed a minute ago that it was beginning to "time bake" our seasoned, boneless chicken breasts for tonight's dinner. It will take around an hour to get the flabby pieces of white meat cooked through and ready for our consumption.
Had I used the crock pot, our meal would have taken about 8 hours.
The microwave could cook them babies in about 10 minutes.

So, why pick the oven vs. the microwave vs. the crock pot?
I knew the answer to that question before Rachel Ray cut her first onion.
(not really...I'm only 4 years older than she is, 
and she was probably cutting onions before I figured out what a crock pot was used for)

We choose Method based on desired Product.

What do I want produced and when?

I've been mulling this particular thought for awhile now.
(which means this post may have two parts)

Those who have had to endure me via MOPS or other forced encounters have already been introduced to one of my passions: Parenting.

Choosing the method (discipline style) to create the product for which we pray (our children being godly adults) is at the heart of Purposeful Parenting.

When I am able to keep the end-product in mind (read here), it seems that I choose better methods.
When I interact in today's peanut butter-and-jelly world with the mind set that I am preparing humble servants of God that will change our society, I act and react in ways that are more effective.

When I am just getting through the day and allowing my personal annoyances or petty irritations or general fatigue rule my parenting responses (because I'm never proactive on those days!) then my tirade, or my verbal slap-down might make me feel better...but the kids haven't been given the opportunity to
See the problem-Fix the problem.
~~that's "real world" training to me~~

In our North American society of wanting it now (remember, I'm a "closure" type of gal, so I understand wanting things completed and off my list) it's difficult for me to take the slow road while the quick-fix tantalizes me with fulfilling my own perceived need (to rest, to be brain-dead on the internet, to finish the chapter I'm reading, to cook without interruption, to make a phone call...)

I often choose to be the dictator-parent because it's a "short cut" to improved behavior.
Admit it, the results are often quick to come when we're in the kids' faces hollering like they may soon learn the definition of Baker Act.
But the results are only surface changes that don't effect the heart.
And that means we don't truly improve the direction they are headed.
I loudly, and with careful enunciation, detail the problem for them
(thus removing owning the problem from their hands) then I shove the answer onto them
(which removes the problem-solving skills from their hands.)

The other end of the spectrum to which I swing some authors have called the laissez-faire parent. "The phrase laissez-faire is French and literally means 'let [them] do', but broadly implies 'let it be.'"
(Thank you, Wikipedia)
 That parenting choice often stems from the same self-absorbed places as my military-style parenting, but I feel less in control of the outcome (my future, grownup child) when I succumb to the numb of non-discipline. I am then living the lie that God isn't big enough or He doesn't care enough to change my kids' childish or sinful behavior into His image. If He isn't gonna change the kid, why would I think it was worth my energy? I'll just shrug my shoulders and guise my lack of self-discipline
as "kids will be kids."
The kids don't even see a problem, so they can't fix the problem.

Those styles both seem rather "microwave" to me.

So, what does it look like to be a crock pot parent?
(No snide remarks about my being a crackpot parent.
There are kids present...and they have enough of their own jokes about me.)

Crockpots use a constant, low heat to do their job.
Ouch on the constant part, eh?
Consistency is definitely the most difficult part to any job.
Think of a profession (carpenter, athlete, physician, chef, secretary,...) and consider how consistency is the benchmark of a "good one." A physician that misses a major disease diagnosis frequently, or a chef that can't turn out a predictable menu...well, they shouldn't have jobs for long.

If I yelled at my daughter for leaving clothes on the floor today, but I picked them up myself yesterday, and tomorrow I completely ignore the same misdeed...sheesh...talk about confusing my daughter.
Consistency in training is obviously a key to a "good outcome."

I used the word, proactive. It's not just skin-care, gals.
It is setting up standards on the front-end of training so the kids know what the dern goal is in the first place. It took Mark and I a little time to learn that in our "early training years." How could I expect a behavior that I hadn't really told them was my expectation?

A concept that leads to the idea of purposefully parenting.
(I know, I know. I say that all the time, but it's where I live...)

A few practical ways to crock pot your children:
Give yourself a few minutes to think how you want the situation to go.
(Say, we're heading to the back yard to garden or do weeding)

Give your kids a quick (as in short) monologue on what a happy time looks like out there.
(Guys, we need to get the weeds pulled from the west side of the fence.)

Give them the consequences of a good job.
(If we can get it done well before Daddy comes home, we'll get in the sprinkler!)

Give them the consequences of not meeting that goal.
(We need to get it done, so let's not waste time on complaining or lazy work. You'll have to do more work if that happens, and I'd rather spend time in the sprinkler.)

Let's go!
(and in theory, the ducks pick up their hand-made weeding bags, embroidered with their individual names, and waddle happily to the west fence where they work tirelessly, enjoying the camaraderie  of their beloved siblings before they ask if I mind them weeding the east fence also.)

...oh, back to reality...

If I lay out my expectation clearly, I have a real disciplining/training leg to stand on because they understand and should be able to follow through in obedience, or choose to rebel. I'm removing the "oh-I-didn't-know-you-meant..." foot out from under them. I can rightfully address behavior that deviates from the expectation IF
I've stated the expectation.

NOW, here is my particular pitfall; do with this knowledge, what you will.

Did I actually give them clear instructions when I thought I did?
I am learning (still!) to slow down and be purposeful in things I ask of the kids because I have to do that for survival. At one time, I could click out orders five different directions, use the proper kid's name when assigning a task, and know I did it when it came time to check on them.
Not so much any more.

Slow down, Dorothy.

And no discussion on parenting (which this has been since I've been hearing you in my head while I type) is complete without talking about one last, absolute necessary step:

Follow-through.

Check that the instructions you've given a kid have been completed in a timely manner.
I currently don't allow my kids to "do it in a minute"
since we've had a recent issue with
"I was gonna do it, I just forgot."
With some of the kids at different ages, I do let them get it done "later"
but I assign a time when it must be completed. ("Get it done before lunch.")

Crock pots and microwaves.
Perfect tools for the right tasks; let's purposefully use the right one.


Blogging in a quiet house is my one weakness.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Maybe Justin SHOULD guest-blog for me...

Perfection

The word looks so... perfect.


Perfectionism.
Ewwww....

Or perhaps you're one who considers perfectionism your beneficial fault. Like busyness.
(That may be another post.)

"It's not that bad," you say, "who doesn't want perfection?"

It may sound good at first, but…

PERFECTIONISM IS SUCKING AWAY YOUR SOUL.
(Fish think bait looks good, too. Who doesn't want free food?)

Perfectionism has its own language, and it has invaded English like cancer.
No, not the astrological kind. 
Perfectionism speaks and thinks in the language of Should.

I Should help others.
You Should work hard.
We Should raise good children.
He Should do the dishes; I've been busy all day.
She Should sing more; she has a great voice.
That never Should have happened to you. 

But how are these bad, you ask? I use them all the time, you say?
Here's the rub: "Should statements" never come alone. 
They always come in two parts, even though the second part is often silent.

I Shouldn't have done that... but I did, Idiot.
I Shouldn't have eaten so much... but I did, Glutton.
I Should be more productive... but I'm not, Lazy.
I Should be loved more... but I'm not, Worthless.

Should makes the world black and white. Should makes the world wrong and right.
(Just as it Should be, Shouldn't it?)  

Should means you never measure up.
(You Shouldn't mess up, Should you?)

Should robs you of joy in your accomplishments.
(You Should be good at that after all, Shouldn't you?)

Should is the way life Should be.
(And you Should live by my Shoulds, too!)

I hope you caught the sarcasm there. [I got it from my mom.]
The point I'm trying to make is that Should places the burden of perfection on very imperfect people, and batters our emotions every time we fail to follow even the smallest Should we've believed. 


Should has been in our vocabulary so long that it has brought some nasty cousins to hide behind:
Ought 
Obligated
Supposed
Have To
Need To
Must
These warty fiends brandish the same silent insults and pillage our hearts just as does their leader Should.

Should is especially lethal when it slams against our feelings: 
(Think about the "silent sentence" that follows each of these) 
I Should parent my children better, but... 
I'm not supposed to feel this way, but... 
I ought to feel less angry, but...

Double Trouble when my Should encounters your feelings:
(What condemnation has your Should hung around someone's neck?)
You Shouldn't feel that way... 
You ought to love me more...
You're supposed to CARE..!

 But hold on, I’m supposed to view the world this way, right? I mean, you basically have to. I can’t avoid using Should and its cousins: you ought to just deal with it and quit painting it in such a negative light. You shouldn’t bash on Should like that. You need to just toughen up your emotions and deal with life.

Uh-oh… can you see how that train of thought reveals how hard it is to change how we speak--how we think--about Should?

Because at the bottom of every perfectionist 
(be they the closet variety or not) is this Should:
I Should think using Should.
This is a tricky one, and I’ll come back to it later.

Ok, Justin. You've shown me this problem. Now you Should do something about it.
Wait! Don't Should on me. I already Want to do something about it.
Here's the first key:
Replace the inaccuracies of Should with something more accurate.
I wish
I would like
I feel
I could
I might
I want
and the big one: 
I choose
He Should do the dishes? No, he could do the dishes. I wish he would do the dishes. I feel cared for when he does the dishes. He chooses to do the dishes.

 Do you see how this empowers us?
Speaking this way grounds us in reality, in the way things actually are instead of the way I think they Should be. Should is at best an expression of discontent with the reality we have been given and at worst reveals a heart that has invested in lies, chasing after a universe that never really was.
Several of these re-phrasings neutralize the dark power of Should, but the last can actually reverse it. I Choose honors the fallible human being with credit for their successes and ownership of their failures.


I feel as though I have spent much space explaining the problem and precious little prescribing a solution, but I believe that once the disease of Should is revealed, few will choose to reject the simple cure.


Now I would like to return and address a Should that might make others difficult to uproot. This is the belief that
“I Should think using Should.”

My first reaction upon discovering this belief in my own heart was
 “Well, I Shouldn’t think that I Should think that using Should is how I Should think.”
(Because I’m obviously a simple kind of person.) 
Ahem. My point is that using a Should-thought to try to uproot the linchpin of Should-thoughts is not productive.
Notice that I didn’t say you Shouldn’t do it: I found a creative, more accurate way to say what I really meant. It’s not productive and it is not effective. You could try that, and you might choose to, but it would make me feel as though you had chosen defeat.

Here’s the first key again:
Seek accurate ways to say what you really mean.
And give yourself a break. Honestly. Not because you Should, but because it is helpful and reasonable. You can choose to let yourself off the hook of responsibility for running the entire universe the way you think it Should be, molding your spouse to be the person you think they Should be, and feeling like a victim or a failure every time life goes off where you think it Shouldn’t.

Humans are fallible.

So here’s the second key:
Choose an accurate view of yourself.
You’re not too big, but you’re not too small, either.
You’re the way God Chose to make you.
You have the skills God Chose to give you.
You are the person God Chose to create.
Believing you Should be or do anything else is buying into a lie about your very identity… and perhaps foisting that lie upon others, too.

(NOTICE: I am not saying that you Should just follow your feelings. That is Disney’s job. Also, that’s just another load of Should)

Perhaps you’re close to buying into the idea that Should is destructive, and you have just one last reservation: We Should do what God says, Shouldn’t we?

Here’s the lowdown on the Most High: He doesn’t share that opinion.
This is the whole Law/Grace dichotomy: under the law, one Should obey simply because they Should; under grace, one Chooses to obey out of love.
One brings death and condemnation; the other brings life and joy.
The whole purpose of the Law was to reveal human inadequacy: we categorically cannot carry the burden of Should.

For those who would like a reference:
First Corinthians 6:12 and 10:23 demolish the argument that those in the Church Should do as Christ says simply "because," replacing it with a striving for physical and spiritual health motivated by love.

BUT WAIT A SECOND!!!

I thought this was a post about perfectionism? Perfectionism is about doing and doing and never being satisfied, not about how I talk!

Ehhh, perhaps. I might give you that one.
But what we do and how we feel about it is rooted in what we believe, right?
I want to take perfectionism out at its roots, and I hope you do, too.


Written by Justin Dersch

Y’know how when you’ve read a word a ‘zillion times and it starts to look funny? Here’s hoping that Should is starting to look bizarre and uncomfortable to you.