It’s hard not to be a perfectionist, too busy, over anxious, and stressed. Find out how to be a more reasonable person and live free.
Every meal should be from scratch.
The kids’ clothes should be fashionable and pressed.
The house should always be company ready, or nearly so.
I should have good hair, full makeup, and a cute outfit. All in the same day.
The kids will be quiet, studious, and obedient most of the time.
I should be able to get up multiple times a night and still be chipper in the morning.
Well, I could go on and on and on, but it goes against my new lease in life. To be a reasonable person. I mean, we are all real life women, right? Moms who want the best for our kids, our families, and others. Moms whose expectations and standards have risen to such a point that we have become… I’ll say it… unreasonable.
Last Sunday my pastor read a chapter and this verse stood out to me. I realized in one lightbulb moment, somewhere along the way… I’ve become unreasonable. Mostly with myself. But also with my family.
“Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.” Philippians 4:5 ESV
I won’t wax on about it because I don’t want anyone to feel insulted (but if you are, I’m writing to myself as well so shake it off). To be blunt, we really need to get a grip on ourselves. Our thoughts. Our expectations, standards, and neuroses. We need to come back down to earth and give ourselves a break. Cut ourselves some slack. Work hard on important things and stop stressing over the stupid ones.
Reasonable (adj): having sound judgment, fair and sensible
Here’s how I believe you can be reasonable people this year.
Stop saying yes when you mean no | No one wants to make promises they don’t keep, or promises that make them crazy trying to fulfill. Then why do we do it? To people please. Because we feel false guilt. Because it’s just hard to let our “no” be a “no.” This year, let’s kindly accept that which we can do, and kindly decline that which we can’t. You might like this book, The Best Yes.
Quit expecting yourself to be perfect | You probably don’t expect other people to be perfect. And yet, you expect yourself to do it all well and have energy leftover. It can’t happen and you weren’t meant to. Give your best effort to your endeavours, work hard to show you care, and don’t be lazy with your responsibilities. But forget about being perfect. It is an impossible and torturous goal.
Quit majoring in minors | When you spend a lot of time and energy worrying about, focusing on, or stressing over things that are not important, you are majoring in a minor issue. Major in the majors, minor in the minors.
Develop realistic expectations of yourself | If you think you can maintain all your hobbies, friendships, and responsibilities pre-motherhood now that you have a few children and all the responsibilities of a wife… you are wrong. There are seasons of life and in each season, you add new things and let old things go. You cannot do it all.
Don’t spend money you don’t have | I understand the fear that causes us to buy things we can’t afford or don’t really need. “But it saves money in the long run...” or “The kids just really needed it…” Does it? Do they? There is something truly freeing in living by a budget, whatever size, and staying within your means.
Give yourself permission to walk away | If you are consumed with relationships or friendships that are toxic, destructive, and emotionally unhealthy then it’s okay to walk away. What that looks like in practice is up to you. You can love and pray for others without subjecting yourself to their drama. Read this book on boundaries and take heart.
Look at life like a video, not a photo | Type B people tend to view life as a video clip, which is why they don’t stress as much. It’ll get done, don’t worry be happy. Type A people see life as a photograph. If it is not done, in this very instant, then get out of the way and shut up until it’s finished. If Type B’s could be a tad more like Type A’s and Type A’s could be a tad more like Type B, the balance would suit us all.
Stop expecting others to do things you know they won’t do | If your husband has never in his life cooked dinner and here you are, 5 years in, disappointed every few nights he won’t help, erase that expectation. Don’t expect immature friends to be drama free. Don’t expect your children to be perfect all the time. Lowering (or erasing) expectations seems like the death of a dream, but really it’s the death of disappointment.
Get a thicker skin | It’s a sad day when everyone is offended all the time. If you give others too much power over your own happiness, you will feel perpetually offended and insecure. Other people say and do things because of their own values and issues. By learning to think and say, “That’s your problem, not mine” you will find much more emotional energy. Oh and if you know feeling offended is a real problem for you, read the Bait of Satan.
Loosen your schedule | It is likely your routines and schedules are too right. Down to the minute no room with little margin for real life. If something unexpected comes up, well, it’s enough to cause a mild panic attack. We need to leave room in our days for the unexpected. Expect there to be disturbances. Not wind our lives so tight around our calendar we view adventures as ordeals.
Quit looking, start doing | Social media, Pinterest, Google, these things are great. Unless you spend hours reading, researching, and planning without ever doing. You see everyone else’s vacation yet you take none. You pin a million recipes but don’t ever bake. You watch videos of cats but don’t go to the pound and get your own. Let’s start living our lives off internet. We will not be disappointed.
These things seem like good old fashioned (un)common sense. And yet, you and I fall back into unreasonable behavior time and time again. And let’s be honest… we are the ones who suffer the most. Instead of creating a million resolutions we feel guilty about that were too pie in the sky to begin with, just have one.
And when you feel yourself drawn back into your own web of overwhelm and worry, tell yourself this.
“I will no longer argue with the senseless and unreasonable; for they are void of reason and common sense.” S. Kassem