Wednesday, April 26, 2017

On What Works Well for You

Do you ever try to live life on someone's terms other than your own? Or try to do things the way someone else says you should?  I've done that most of my life.  I've listened to advice from other people, or done things the way that works for someone else.  But I've rarely thought about something and said, "I don't think that really works for me."

Until now.  Recently, I've started to reclaim who I am and what works well for me.

Comparison is the thief of joy.  This quote has defined so much of who I am and who I am not.  It has helped me to clarify who I want to be versus who I actually am.

This is who I am not:
I am not someone who can keep a house tidy for more than 24 hours.
I am not "neat."
I am not put together.
I am not (always) professional.
I am not calm.
I am not confident.
I am not an extrovert.
I am not organized.
I am not good at following recipes.
I am not detail-oriented.
I am not good at remembering things.
I am not a natural lover of healthy things.
I am not athletic.
I am not thin.
I am not coordinated (hello bruises all over my legs from our footboard on our bed).
I am not good at talking or speaking.
I am not perfect.

And this is who I am:
I am messy.
I am a throw-everything-in (even the kitchen sink) kind of cook.
I am good at seeing the big picture.
I am a get-your-hands-dirty person.
I am a daughter of God.
I am a wife.
I am a voracious reader.
I am a writer.
I am a nurse.
I am a lover of pretty things.
I am a beach girl.
I am a runner.
I am hard-working.
I am a baker.
I am a growing gardener.
I am the owner of a messy, loving puppy.
I am an emotional, crying mess.
I am cluttered.
I am an introvert.
I am imperfect.
I am present.
I am grounded.
I am clumsy.
I am curvy.
I am a gatherer.

I have reconciled the things that I am and the things that I am not.  I have come to terms with who I was created to be and who I was not created to be.  Some of my friends are REALLY good housekeepers.  They have little bins and containers for things and they have homes for their pencils (special shoutout to my former roommate, Chancey-- you know what this is in reference to), and everything goes in its place.  I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and did the whole process and said thank you to my belongings that no longer served me, and my house is still a cluttered wreck.  Some of my friends are really good at completing projects in great detail and with great care to the nitty gritty.  I am not.  I am really good at painting a whole kitchen and then realizing that I missed a corner.  I'm really good at sanding down the furniture and leaving a little sawdust behind.

And in this year of life, I'm learning that things that work for some people don't work for me, and that's ok.  My house will never be featured in my favorite magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, unless, of course, I have my sister-in-law or mother-in-law come to decorate and paint for me.  My yard will never be mowed in perfect little lines (I LOVE mowing the lawn and Scott is gracious to afford me this little joy despite my imperfections in this task).  My handwriting will never be perfectly neat, and my sink will never be completely empty of dishes (hello, leaning tower of dishes.  Chancey gets two shout outs in this blog-- my college leaning tower of dishes days continue, in case you wondered!).

So I'm giving myself grace and allowing myself to be me instead of being some other version of me or someone who looks like me but strives to be someone else.  Today, I'm choosing things that work for me.  You know what I threw out today that wasn't working for me anymore? My dish rack.  My kitchen counter was a cluttered mess and I was piling dishes higher and higher as if I was pursuing a world record for the tallest stack of clean dishes.  And my dish rack wasn't serving me anymore.  You know what is serving me? A nice little dish drying mat that makes my counter look less cluttered and makes me want to actually put my dishes away.

Do you know what else isn't working for me? My gym regimen.  I'm a lover of the sun and the breeze and being outside.  So my indoor gym doesn't serve me well when I want to work out.  I work out based on the season and the weather outside.  On beautiful days, I could run for hours.  I could bike to the grocery store (like I did yesterday-- hooray!).  I could plant things and play with my dog, and I could be moving outside all day long.  On cloudy days, I'll do the same.  On rainy days, I'm inside with a cup of coffee or tea, and I'm lucky if I squeeze in some yoga or lifting weights.  Running outside works for me, and running on a treadmill feels listless and makes me feel trapped, and it doesn't work for me.

Scott cleans dishes as he cooks.  It works well for him and makes him feel less stressed.  You know what works well for me in the kitchen? Making a GIANT mess with sauce dripping from the ceiling and pots ALL OVER the counters and stove, and then sitting down to eat in the midst of the mess.  I can't clean as I go-- it's like I need mess to create.  They say that creative people aren't meant to be neat, and I think this is quite true of me.  I live and love in the midst of mess, and I thrive in it.

Choose things today that work well for you.  Who cares if it doesn't work for your neighbor?  Or your mom? Or your friend? Choose things that serve you and that work for you instead of trying to live life by someone else's rules.  You'll be so much happier and find so much more joy in that.  Whether you are working your job, or raising your kids, or decorating your house, or loving Jesus, or training for a marathon -- do it in a way that works for you.  Don't let others steal your joy because a different way works for them.


PS: Another thing that is really working well for me is this Nutella latte from Neidhammer Coffee Co., and if you are healthier-than-thou and can't live to hear of such richness and deliciousness just scroll back up and pretend this post ended with my signature.

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