by Christie Browning
**Author's note: This blog series is a year-long installment which will chronicle the year that I turn 40 with some comical moments, retrospective insights and empowering calls to action.
Ok... confession...I totally skipped a week, maybe two depending on how you look at the calendar, in getting a post to this blog. However, as I sat in church yesterday, a really awesome gal from our congregation gave a talk about all the disciplines we are supposed to do as believers, but she was honest to also share how many of those she struggles with. It was refreshing to hear such honesty and it was encouraging to know that I am not the only one who misses the mark. As she spoke about each area, and then shared her deficiency in that area, she would say ".....But I try again the next day."
So...here I am...."trying again the next day."
Life is tough and sometimes I think we are even more tough on ourselves with regards to the expectations we place on our ability to perform, succeed, perfect, and so on. If we were to get real about things, I think we would find a lot of grace in the idea of "trying again the next day."
My husband has developed this "I don't care what anyone thinks of me" mantra and he lives by it. It's really freeing when you can learn to only care about what a few key people think of you. Mat is so good about living by this concept and it really helps lift the pressure off of his shoulders. I recognize this and am very sensitive to this way of thinking because I am wired to be the polar opposite. By nature I am a people pleaser and want everyone to be happy with me, like me and approve of everything that I am doing. Talk about pressure. It has, at times, about done me in and it's definitely ruined important aspects of my life.
Although I am not perfect at overcoming this character flaw, I have gained a ton of ground and am waaayyyy better at handling this aspect of myself than I was just a few short years ago. I think I am getting better each day and then this happens....
Saturday I was all about getting stuff done. I was on a mission to make the most of the weekend, which included knocking a few errands off my to-do list. When I came out of the store and had loaded my bags in the truck of my car, I climbed in the driver's seat and turned the key...DEAD. The car would not start.
This is not a first for this car. It has a horrible security feature that, when not started exactly right or when stopped and started too often, the car won't start as a means of security. Obviously this is a poorly thought out design and is very aggravating. The remedy is to let the car sit for a few minutes and then it starts. But if you try to soon or not soon enough, the security feature kicks in and you are back at square one.
So there I sat, in the parking lot of Walmart, waiting on my car to love me enough to start. When time had passed and I was ready to give it another go, I literally looked around the parking lot to see if anyone was walking by or getting in or out of their cars before I tried to start mine. Why? Because I didn't want them to see or hear me trying to start my car. They might come ask if I need help. They might think, "poor girl!" They might laugh at my precarious situation or my late model car. I might draw attention to myself and that would be embarrassing.
HOW PATHETIC! Seriously?!?! I was in the land of camo-colored hunting apparel and fuzzy pajama bottoms (if you haven't visited a Walmart recently, you won't understand ... there's just something about the attire of a large portion of Walmart shoppers.) Who was I to care about folks who were more worried about shopping than me and my car; who I didn't know and probably would never see again; who are nobody of importance to me; and are surely not on the list of those who are close enough to me with an opinion that should matter. Geesh, Christie!!! .... But I try again the next day.
Even at (almost) 40, some lessons are never fully learned. I guess that's the way life goes, but on those days where I fail at learning or fail the test with epic proportions, I can rest in the fact that I can (and will) try again the next day. God promises that His grace is sufficient for me, which in this heart of mine, means I can rest assured that God loves me so much...even in my failures and shortcomings and even when I fumble with the small things in life that hold me back.