By: Jennie Scott
I prepared a healthy lunch… but left it in the refrigerator. I made sure my kids had everything they needed for school… but forgot to send in a note about a transportation change.
I started the laundry before work… but got distracted and left the wet clothes in the washing machine all day.
Every single day, it seems, I mess something up. Sometimes it’s small, like a load of laundry that can be rewashed, but sometimes it’s major, like unkind words that damage a relationship.
I get that I’m a human who’s imperfect, and I recognise that I will always make mistakes, but it’s so tempting when my mistakes confront me to see myself as a person who just always falls short.
Always messes things up.
Is always a mess.
I’ve learned that I’m a person who highly values competence, both in others and myself. I want to excel in all the things I do, and I want to be seen as someone who manages all that’s hers to manage. For better or for worse, one of my greatest insecurities is people thinking I can’t handle it. And “it” can be any number of things — my work, my children, my housekeeping, my laundry, my meal prep… “It” is really “everything.”
Another difficulty is that I’m also a realist. I can recognise the facts in a situation, and I don’t live in a dream world or a land of idealism. If I screw up, I know it. If I should have made a different choice, I recognise it.
A realist who’s afraid of incompetence can be a recipe for a disaster.
Most of us feel like we’re always behind, don’t we? We see the list of to do’s always growing longer, and as we scratch and claw our way up the list but only fall further behind, we feel like we’re falling short.
But here’s the question we have to ask: what am I falling short of? Because if it’s only falling short of marking things off the to do list, that’s ok. Things that need to be done don’t all have to be done today, and they don’t all have to be done by me.
If I’m falling short of chores, that’s forgivable. If I’m falling short of arbitrary deadlines I impose on myself, that’s ok. Most of what we feel we’re falling short of doesn’t really matter in the long run.
Here’s what matters that we can’t fall short on: investing in relationships with people. Serving those who need us. Showing love. Practicing forgiveness. Extending grace.
Laundry can wait. Forgotten meals can be replaced. Notes can be run back up to the school.
But people matter. So often in the temptation to feel I’m falling short, it’s with tasks. Accomplishments. Chores. Activities. And each of those can wait. The people in my life can’t.
What are the things racing through your head today that need to be done and have to be faced? List them, sure, but also prioritise them. Choose which of them you can fall short on today, on purpose.
Fall short where it doesn’t matter so you can measure up where it does.
Article supplied with thanks to Jennie Scott.
About the Author: Jennie is married with two children who shares lessons from her own unexpected journeys and encouragement you might need for yours.