I'm releasing perfectionism. I've been releasing perfectionism for over ten years now, but it just keeps creeping back in. My parents are visiting soon (Thursday!!) and I've been a total mess trying to get everything "just so" for them.
The huge problem is that I live in China with a toddler and two boys...so nothing is ever just so. But, I sure was going to make it that way so my parents could come see how I had it all together. Then, things started falling apart. Ha! As I got one project in process (repairing the couch that's been ripped for about eight months) another rip appeared on the duvet cover of my bed. As I got a part for a bike that's been broken for two and a half years (we just keep putting the petal back on knowing it will fall off in about a half a mile), the other bike...the one I just finally got around to ordering a baby seat for...turned up "missing."
So, doing the Velvet Ashes retreat in the middle of my planning and preparing helped me to see all the crazy expectations I'm putting on myself and think others have of me. Like my parents are coming here expecting to see my house in perfect order?! They never said or implied that at all! Don't get me started on the clutter. Oh, there are piles that have been there for a YEAR. And this is the month when laundry refuses to dry because the heat has been turned off and it's just frigid and wet. There's laundry everywhere. Dirty, clean, damp, semi-damp, folded, crumpled, creased...But in the midst of all of that, I hear God saying "I love you and I'm well pleased with you."
Then, there's the barf stain on the rug. I was going to buy a new rug, but the couch project got expensive and the new rug seemed less necessary and it's all the way over at IKEA and, well, the toddler is just going to paint the new rug with yogurt and pee on it once we start potty training, so buying a new rug to impress my parents isn't really the deal. We probably won't even get around to rotating the dirty rug so that said stain is under the couch where you can't see it.
As I was thinking about this rug nonsense, I was suddenly overcome with gratitude that I'm only scurrying around trying to cover up clutter and wear-and-tear messes on furniture. It could be so much worse. I'm not trying to cover up a worn and torn and falling apart marriage or relationship with my kids. What a blessing! Our dwelling may be less than ideal, but our family is doing great! I am so thankful! How awful would it be to live in a spotless, designer magazine house that would impress every guest, but in the meantime be hiding a pending divorce or disdain for my kids or substance abuse or an adultery? Bring on the dirty carpet and ripped couch!!!