Bekah's Heart

Choosing Failure

The title of this blog post alone is enough to send some of our hearts racing and palms sweating (mine included). We live in a “Failure is not an option!” world, but I’m starting to think maybe it is. Even more, I sometimes wonder if it might be the BEST option.

We live in a go-go-go, get it all done, add one more thing culture. Success is often oddly defined by who got the least amount of sleep, pushed the hardest, and checked the most boxes. Failure then becomes anything less than perfect. But maybe there is something better than perfect.

A few days ago a woman at my church randomly mentioned a book she was reading in passing. We don’t talk much and I’m not sure what prompted her to stop and tell me about this book but it was just the reminder I needed. The title, “Present Over Perfect” is one example of why sometimes choosing “failure” might just be the best way to live life. Do I want to spend all my time time and energy perfecting this this life or actually living it?

This month is crazy busy for me. I knew that heading into it and, at first, had a mindset to “buckle down and get through it.” As I thought about it more, that just sounded exhausting and joyless. In praying about that a few days ago, my prayer shifted to ask God to help me actually enjoy this month. Most events will stay on the calendar and the to-do list is still long, but my mindset has shifted to one that desires to be present this month. Some of that will happen by choosing failure.

At a conference in February I heard a woman speak about being “in the clear” and “out of the woods”. Normally, we feel we must be out of the woods before we can be in the clear. Her proposal was that we don’t have to exchange one for the other. What would it look like to be mentally “in the clear” even if we’re not “out of the woods” yet?

One of her talking points was: “Failure is completely inevitable, but fear doesn’t have to be.” Long, long story short, I’ve realized that failure really is inevitable (or at least something short of perfect). Failure will come, but perhaps by choosing it, I don’t have to live in fear. So as I head into this month, a month in which I know the boxes won’t all get checked, expectations won’t be met, and people will likely be disappointed, I’m intentionally choosing some things to “fail” at in order to succeed at the most important things.

I know I need to pass off some things at work or even just cross them off the list completely. I want those things to happen. Other people want those things to happen. But there are some tasks that are just more important to make sure happen.

As I prepare for surgery at the end of the month, it is important for me to take care of my body and soul. If I have to choose, I want to succeed at eating healthy, exercising, and getting enough sleep even if that means failing at keeping a clean house. (I’m pretty sure paper plates were made ‘for such a time as this’, right!?!)

On Saturday morning, I planned to spend 2 hours working toward a writing deadline. When that time came it was so obvious that the biggest need was to rest. So, I made the hard, but good, choice and probably will not meet that deadline.

Do I want to let people down? No.

Do I enjoy not following through on a commitment to myself or others? Of course not!

Do I use “failure is inevitable” as an excuse to slack off or just give up? Never.

But sometimes, a well-placed “no” or “not right now” leads us to a deeper, more fulfilling life than we could ever imagine. Not to mention potentially freeing others to do the same.

In the book I mentioned above, author Shauna Neiquist says: “People called me tough. And capable. And they said I was someone they could count on. Those are all nice things. Kind of. But they’re not the same as loving, or kind, or joyful.

I choose joy.

I choose love.

I choose a spirit that is kind to those around me.

And, at least in this season of life, that means choosing a little failure.

Bekah's Heart, Joy, Random

Grace… To fail

I did something tonight where, walking in, the probability of failure was much higher than the probability of success. 

So the fact I did it anyway in itself is a beautiful success

You see, Miss Perfectionist in me can be pretty bossy at times.  She keeps me from doing fun things for fear of whether they are practical.  She keeps me from being spontaneous with reminders of responsibility and duty.  She keeps me from doing things I love if I think at all that I won’t do them perfectly. (She’s actually pretty annoying!)

Tonight was definitely far from perfect.

But… 

I had fun… (If for no other reason than to laugh in Miss Perfectionist’s face and say: “So what!?! I did it anyway!”) 

I tried something new…

I challenged myself…

I did something I love…  

I “punched fear in the face” (as Jon Acuff might say)… 

I perfectly enjoyed an imperfect moment…

… And that’s enough “success” for me no matter what the outcome. 
Even just a few years ago, I would have never been able to write this post. Not only would I have not tried something new, but if I had, I would have never admitted failure publicly by choice. 

But then, I discovered Grace

Grace says, “I love you as you are.

Grace says, “I know you’re not perfect, stop trying to fool yourself.

Grace says, “I came that you may have life, abundant life. Enjoy it!

Grace says, “Take a break.

Grace says, “Trying something is better than perfecting nothing.

Some might say this use of the word cheapens it. But for me it makes what Christ has done all the more beautiful.  It reminds me that God offers grace not just for the salvation moments, but for the everyday ones as well. 

Grace… Oh what a beautiful, joy-filled, freeing, amazing thing! 

Thank you Jesus, for grace!!!

  

Bekah's Heart, Mission Work, Poetry/Songs

But, God?!?

I’ve been reading through some of my old journals and thought I’d share this prayer/poem from the Summer of 2009 while I was the Site Coordinator at a camp.  May it remind us that we are not fit to serve God, but we are called and he’ll give us all we need to do the tasks he sets before us.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I sit once again at the end of a day.
Content.
Yet heart burning inside.

God is big.
He does not fail.
I fail.
Often.

Each day, I wake up… by the grace of God.
Each day, I screw up… by my own sinful nature.
Each day… I fail.
Each day… He doesn’t.

Situations come.
“You’re in charge! Make a decision”
I don’t want to.

My final decision: Pray for wisdom.

Wisdom like Solomon.
Great insight.
A breadth of understanding.

Like Solomon, I too pray…
“I am only a little child, and do not know how to carry out my duties.” (1 Kings 3:7)

Lord,
“… give your servant a discerning heart.” (1 Kings 3:9)

I don’t understand why you’ve picked me, but here I am… called to serve… SEND ME!

Equip me! Strengthen me! Use me!

I am Yours!

Amen.

31 Days of Imperfection

Trying to Cover Up Imperfection {31 Days of Imperfection – Day 8}

A few months ago I moved into a new house.  Well, I guess I should say it was new to ME but definitely not new.  All houses have their quirks, I’m sure, and this 60+ year old house was no exception.

As I was cleaning the kitchen preparing to move in, I found myself replacing some of the shelf paper that was old and torn.  Looking in the corner cabinet, I discovered the lazy susan was also covered in shelf paper. I can only imagine how long it took the previous owner to cover this item.  Square shelf paper doesn’t cover round objects well.  Pieces and strips were put this way and that to get it covered.

I’m sure it served its purpose but this hodgepodge of now SUPER sticky paper became quite the task to get off.  It also rarely came off in pieces bigger than a couple inches at a time.

In the 40 minutes I was working on this (before giving up and deciding it was fine the way it was) God taught me a lot about my heart.   You see, underneath the red checked paper was a fun, lime green lazy susan.  I loved it! It was bright and beautiful.  While there were a couple little scratches, I’m not sure why someone would have covered it.

But that’s how it goes with our imperfections.  We see a few little things that don’t live up to what someone else sees as perfect.  We notice a stain on that part of our heart.  We desire something new.  And so we find things to cover up our heart.  At first, it looks so nice and neat.  It looks crisp and clean and SO much better than what was there before.  But as time goes on, the covering begins to chip … starting at the edges and working closer and closer to our hearts.  Finally, it gets to a point where we realize that we should have never covered up the real us in the first place, but all we’ve ever let anyone see is the fake us and we’re scared to let them see what’s underneath… will they accept me?  One glance at our imperfections and we convince ourselves they won’t.

Sometimes, (like other cabinets in my house) when we see the paper beginning to tear, instead of taking off the covering we’ve placed around our lives we just cover it up again.  Layer after layer after layer get applied in efforts to cover up what’s really going on deep inside.  As long as it looks okay on the outside, that’s all that matters right?

But eventually we get to a point where we finally let ourselves hear God’s pursuing,  his asking, his pursuing, “Will you let me take it all off?  I don’t want to cover up the bad stuff in you, I want to restore and renew the REAL you, the one I created you to be.”

So the process begins,  the layers MUST come off.  And it is quite a process!  It’s a lot harder to take off than it was to put on… it’s stickier now … it’s become a part of us.  But it must happen, no matter what the cost.

 

Piece by piece it comes off…

“Let me take away your pride,” God says, “and now maybe a little bit of that selfishness.”

“That relationship could use a little healing, too, don’t ya think?”

 

And the process isn’t pleasant for us OR God.  It’s hard to forgive.  It’s hard to admit we were wrong.  It’s hard to walk back through the pain in our lives that we just swept under the rug or ignored.

“You never let yourself see My grace for that incident… can you accept it now?”

Another chunk is torn loose.

 

“I need you to depend on Me, and me alone.  I’m going to have to take some things away, and it might hurt, but it’s better for you.  Can you trust Me? PLEASE trust ME?”

Ever so often a bigger piece breaks loose and our heart feels like it can breathe again!

 

We begin, slowly, to see our true selves shine through.  And we like what we see!  That alone is what keeps us moving forward even when we’d rather just stop the process and put another layer over our hearts.

 

Who knows how long the process will take… and sometimes we DO find some other mask to cover up imperfections.  But God, the Master Renovator never gives up on us like I did on my cabinet.  He sees the beauty that’s underneath… beauty in the midst of imperfections and as tenderly as he possibly can, daily strips away more and more of what’s not me to restore me to His perfect image in which I was created.

 

And because of that promise of re-creation, we have hope for today.

 

“Put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” (Colossians 3:10)

Bekah's Heart, Random

My Changing View of Grace

Living in grace doesn’t give me an excuse to do whatever I want simply because “God will forgive me.”, but it also removes my excuses to live a cautious, risk-less life. Grace calls me to action. Grace gives courage to try, even if failure may follow. Grace is not about having it ‘right’, but rather about having my eyes in the right place, on the Grace-Giver.

Help me Lord to give in to the mystery of your daily, sufficient grace!