It was a slide-down-the-wall-and-sob kind of morning. It didn’t matter that the chair railing stuck out far enough to hit every vertebra on the way to the floor … I didn’t have the energy to do anything about it, and in a sick sort of way the dull pain helped slow the world’s spinning and wrench me back into reality.
Nothing was going the way it was supposed to.
I had been nursing a migraine for four days and medicated myself enough that I was risking a rebound headache. This was not a week I could be down for the count with a migraine. I had to be present and available. I was probably prolonging the pain, making it worse, and possibly overmedicating just to get through the work day, then collapsing as soon as I got through my front door. My poor husband and dog. But this was also not a week I had time to care for my husband’s needs — to even be myself by the time I got home. There would be time to apologize and be a good wife and doggy momma later.
I was responsible for an important event at work, and I pushed myself to the edge of my health and sanity to make sure it went without a hitch. Within the first two hours of the event, we hit two. A few of my task were completely outside my comfort zone. I called my husband who talked me down from the-world-is-ending status, and tried to handle the roadblocks as well as I could with the skills I have. Both resulted in some pretty epic failures.
What should have been effortless had I managed it properly, ended up a time-consuming mess, and in the moment when I found out I had no clue how to fix it and no time to problem solve. Put on a fake smile, go upstairs, play hostess and pretend everything is perfect until we can figure out what to do; I calmed myself. Until one too many people asked for one too many things that would take extra time my panicking mind couldn’t process. I stood in the corner, the world spinning wildly, until everyone had returned to the front. Then I collapsed and began to cry. I cannot do this. I should just quit. They’d be better off without me screwing things up, a voice repeated in my head.
It’s hard to push yourself past your comfort zone only to fail.
As a people-pleasing perfectionist, once I saw the look of disappointment on my co-worker’s faces and admitted I had failed … the world just stopped making sense. My whole identity and sense of self began to crack. The cracks just kept getting bigger, and it seemed like I could never pull myself back together. If I haven’t pleased the people around me, and my perfectionism wasn’t good enough to get it right, what’s the point? It’s too late to make things right now. Luckily, I work with some amazingly gracious people, one of whom noticed my mess and helped pick me up.
God met me as I cracked, whispered truth over my crushing thoughts, and revealed to me the grace and love in my co-worker’s eyes – not the disappointment and condemnation I anticipated.
It’s a humbling experience to rely on God and a co-worker to piece you back together. I appear a little less perfect, a little less prideful (I hope) now, but I’m learning a lot more about receiving the grace God has so freely given.
I’ve always struggled with accepting grace. Giving it comes naturally—accepting it, not so much. Sometimes all it takes is breaking to allow God to put us back together in such a way that He can grow us in an area there wasn’t space for in our previous state. It’s the allowing ourselves to be broken and patched back up that’s the hardest. But the soul growth makes it worth it.
I walked away from my failure realizing God doesn’t want me pushing myself to my limits, neglecting my family, and tearing myself to pieces. The person I’ve been trying to be isn’t the person He made me. We have each been created with some really amazing gifts and talents, and I learned that weekend two things that aren’t part of my list. That’s okay. It didn’t feel like it in that moment—sometimes it still doesn’t!—but God is stretching me, tearing down a place of pride and self-reliance to make me further rely on him. If I’m perfect all the time, where does grace fit? Where is the need for Christ?
Where has God made Himself known to you in your failure?When you're a people-pleasing perfectionist who fails and lets people down, how will you handle it?Click To Tweet
Samantha lives in Alabama with her husband and their rescue hound. She is the office manager for a non-profit and loves her local church family, playing with her nephew, crafting, hiking and listening to her favorite podcast channels.
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