“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)
I walked into the beautiful home of a new friend for the very first time. She is a single mother of 3 young children, successful entrepreneur and multi-business owner. As I was ooo-ing and ahh-ing over the impeccable decor and the stunning architecture of her home, she repeatedly asked me to overlook the “mess.” After a couple mentions about the kids’ toys I stopped and quickly replied, “One of my superpowers is that I only see messes in my own house, not in others’!”
It’s so true. So many of us have unlimited mercy for other people’s “messes,” whether that be a cluttered home, a wayward child, a disconnected marriage or even difficulties getting pregnant, but when it comes to the messes in our own lives, we seem to have run out of compassion. Why are we so hard on ourselves? We can be rocking it in so many areas of life, but we beat ourselves up over the one or two areas that may be a little bit messy.
God’s Word is clear. The second greatest commandment that Jesus gives in Mark 12:31 is for us to love others as we love ourselves. Leave it to Jesus to be able to strategically maneuver two crucial commandments into one simple message. In order to love others well, we first have to be able to love ourselves well! No matter who you are, the number of degrees you may have, or the amount of talent you may possess, it isn’t realistic or possible for any of us to have success in every area of our lives all at the same time.
It sounds ridiculous even saying it right now, yet, we can become our own biggest critics when life isn’t going as planned.
Do what Jesus says. Love yourself and others well. Have mercy for your own mess.
One Small Win: Today, I want you to think of one area of your life that is messy. Now, take a look at it through the superpower of mercy, just as you would see it in someone else’s life. How do you see your mess now?
As a Couples Life & Fertility Support Coach and 3x Surrogate that has carried five children for three families dealing with infertility, Tiffany Jo Baker spends her time speaking, writing and helping women and couples birth their dreams and navigate the road and relationships well while trying to conceive. Married for 18 years to her polar opposite, yet best friend, together they have two teenage girls and have built a life and family based on faith, core values, humor and forgiveness. She loves to laugh, eat french fries, find amazing deals and create new memories.?? www.TiffanyJoBaker.com
It’s March 27, 2017
Due to an emergency, Kathi is unable to do her scheduled Facebook LIVE with the Clutter Free Bible Study group and asks if I’ll fill in.
“If you don’t have any areas of clutter struggle any more, ” she says as only the Queen of Positivity can, “maybe you can tell them about your past challenges.”
“Oh, I’m sure I’ll think of something!” I assure her, glancing guiltily around my office.
During the Facebook LIVE, I show everyone my greatest clutter struggle: the many ways I preserve my ideas.
- A shelf lined with 2 inch binders labeled “Blog Post Ideas #1” … “Blog Post Ideas #2” … “Blog Post Ideas #3″…
- File boxes full of hanging file-folders stuffed with notes from in-process book proposals and retreat messages.
- Stacks of printed drafts (I live in terror of losing digital data, so I hav a printing compulsion) from the months when Kathi and I were writing Overwhelmed: 1st draft, 2nd draft, 10th draft.
- Notebooks from the various writing and speaking conferences I’d been to, dating back before 2010.
“They’re all so beautifully organized and labeled, Cheri!” someone comments.
“Aren’t they?” I agree.
“Which is exactly what has allowed me to justify keeping all this stuff. After all, if it’s color-coded, labeled, and organized in binders, certainly it’s not clutter…right?!?”
My sarcasm evokes laughter, and then we all fall silent in communal conviction.
Just because our stuff looks good does not mean we should keep it.
What Size is Your Plate?
In Overwhelmed, Kathi describes each person’s individual capacity in terms of “the size of your plate.”
Most women have dinner plates—an average capacity for activity and productivity.
A few have turkey platters and can accomplish 2-3 times as much as most people.
I, on the other hand, have a small plate. As a highly sensitive person, I am extra easily overwhelmed.
“Does all this stuff in my office match up with a small plate person?” I ask the Clutter Free Bible Study group members.
No way, they all agree.
All the binders and boxes and stacks match someone with a turkey platter.
A hard truth hits me, smack dab in the middle of Facebook LIVE:
Hanging onto so much stuff is a form of greed stemming from distrust.
Protecting my precious ideas is me saying, “God, I don’t trust you to remind me of what’s important.”
And ultimately, hoarding my ideas is my way of trying to stretch my plate.
I never wanted a small plate. I’ve always wanted a turkey platter. So I’ve surrounded myself with “evidence” that “proves” my preferred truth.
It’s my way of saying, “Look! I have all this! If I have so much, I must have a really big plate!”
Bottom line: I’m keeping an office full of stuff so that I can prove God wrong.
Learning to Trust God
After the Facebook LIVE I look around my office with new eyes.
I’ve worked so hard to protect all my precious ideas, but I have far too many to use.
I need to trust God to choose.
I need to believe that God will help me remember the ideas I need when the time comes. Or trust that He’ll give me something new.
Either way, it’s time to quit pretending I have a bigger plate than I do.
I need to accept the size of my plate and let most of this stuff go.
My stuff needs to match the truth about who God created me to be.
Cheri Gregory is a teacher, speaker, author, and Certified Personality Trainer. Her passion is helping women break free from destructive expectations. She writes and speaks from the conviction that “how to” works best in partnership with “heart, too.”
Cheri is the co-author, with Kathi Lipp, of The Cure for the “Perfect” Life and the upcoming Overwhelmed.
Cheri has been “wife of my youth” to Daniel, her opposite personality, for twenty-eight years and is “Mom” to Annemarie (25) and Jonathon (23), also opposite personalities.
Cheri blogs about perfectionism, people-pleasing, highly sensitive people, and hope at www.cherigregory.com.
Hi friends! Yesterday I got to sit down with Author Pam Farrel and talk about Hope. We all need hope in a world where it’s sometimes very difficult to see the good. I admitted to you in yesterday’s post and in our conversation that I haven’t been a fan of the adult coloring trend. Here more about that and get a pick me in the video below.
What I really want you to know about is the awesome giveaway we are doing. I am giving away 5 of Pam’s new book, Discovering Hope in the Psalms, plus a super fun Quiet Time pack filled with all of my favorite things to have with me when I am doing quiet time with the Lord including:
• Discovering Hope in the Psalms
• This beautiful Study Bible for Women
• A set of colored pencils for exploring God through creativity
• My favorite cup for hot and cold drinks Hydro Flask
• My very favorite pen, the Uniball Air Micro
• An assortment of teas (to keep those creative juices flowing).
a Rafflecopter giveaway