Living Intentionally

Today’s devotional by Holley Gerth challenges us to pursue with passion those things that are a part of what God has called us to and to set aside those things that distract us from our primary purpose.

“I lay the plate on the table with a flourish. I can hardly wait for my husband to take the first bite. After all, Pad Thai is one of his favorite dishes and I’m so proud of myself for making it at home. He chews and then looks at me with a question mark in his eyes. I know he’s searching for diplomatic words to express what I’m thinking too. I decide to take the poor man out of his misery and admit with a sigh, “It’s not great…it’s just okay.”

When we were first married this meal would have put me into a fit of tears. I would have felt like a failure as a wife and woman. But this evening I laugh a little and add, “Well, I just won’t make it again. We can eat Pad Thai at our favorite restaurants guilt-free because I can’t make it like they do.” My sweet husband just pats my hand and smiles.

As we put away leftovers {LOTS of leftovers} I started thinking about how we all have times in our lives. We try to do something. We think we’ll love it. We may even believe we’ll be great at it. But the moment of reckoning comes and it’s just…okay.

Our society tends to tell us to try to fix the situation by trying harder. But that would be like me saying, “Honey, don’t worry–I’m going to practice my Pad Thai every single night. We won’t eat anything else until it’s perfect.”  That would be crazy talk. And yet we spend years in jobs we don’t love. Shed frustrated tears over tasks that don’t even have to be done. And try to prove ourselves through becoming “good” at things that seem to matter to everyone else when we could care less.

Let’s end the madness. What can we do instead?

If we have something turn out to be “just okay” then it’s time to explore other options…

1) We can ask ourselves: Does this have to be done? For example, I can make zillions of other recipes. I can feed my family just fine without ever making Pad Thai again. If that’s the case, I can {and probably should} simply stop making it. {Hint: If I don’t have to do it, I don’t love it, and I continue to do it anyway then it might be because I want to redeem my hurt pride.}

2) Then we can ask: If it doesn’t have to be done do I still want it to be done?  With the Pad Thai the answer would be, “Yes, we really like this meal and would miss it if we never had it again.”

3) After we determine what’s above we can ask: Then how can it get done? Here are some possible answers…

You can find someone else to do it for you. From now on, my husband and I will happily go to our favorite Thai restaurant on date night. They are amazing at it and one of the secrets of life is being humble enough to say, “Someone else is much better at that than me so I’m going to let them do it.”

You can make peace with you still doing it and it just being okay. Here’s the reality: we can only be really good at a handful of things. Sometimes saying, “good enough” is the best response.

If this is something you are truly, deeply passionate about and are determined to get better at then it’s time to ask for help. For example, I could take a Thai cooking class.

My recommendation as a counselor and life coach to most clients in most situations would be: find a way to let the Pad Thai go. Here’s why: you will spend time, energy and emotion to get better at something that will probably never be more than a step above “okay” anyway. And by doing so, you risk dragging down the things you are truly great at to being “just okay” as well. Researcher Marcus Buckingham did a study with thousands of women and he found that well-being is not usually taken by outright destruction–it’s slowly stolen by distraction.

Stop trying to have a perfectly clean house and instead appreciate that you’re a wonderful mom.

Delegate that excruciating task at work you’re holding onto and instead take on the project that excites you. 

Get off the decorating committee for the women’s ministry and get on the greeter list–even if your mother-in-law doesn’t approve.

You have gifts, strengths and talents only you can offer to this world. Ruthlessly eliminate, delegate or make peace with “good enough” when it comes to everything that’s not at the core of God’s purpose for you.

You have so much to bring to the table, my friend…

And it doesn’t have to be Pad Thai.”

(c) 2015 Holley Gerth Used with Permission http://holleygerth.com/living-intentionally/

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