Melissa is a refreshing soul because she is one of those people that isn’t hiding or pretending. She isn’t building an image she hopes you will see or trying to act as though she has arrived. Her honesty and rawness meet you in a stunning and beautiful way and then invite you to be honest and raw. I appreciate her invitation for us to step out of the chase for perfection. Enjoy! – Willow
Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful. I have no idea who this quote should be attributed to; it isn’t profound and it seems an obvious truth. But for me, it requires repeating. Every day. Several times a day. So when I found a sign that says so, I knew my entryway table would be its new home.
For years I tried desperately to fix me. I would convince myself I was working toward wholeness, but really it was perfection I was after. As if I could someday, somehow, have all the answers and one day avoid all the pain. I think I have always been this way. When anyone around me is hurting, I want to fix that too.
However, this past year brought about challenges that had no easy fixes, sadness that couldn’t be patched up with treats and hugs, pain that yielded questions with no concrete answers. There were no silver linings to be seen. These were circumstances that I was simply powerless to mend. While I knew these burdens weren’t for me to carry, I couldn’t figured out how to lay them down. I didn’t want to, actually. I wanted there to be answers. I wanted to make the suffering go away. I wanted everything to be restored and to fit neatly together. I grew weary searching for ways out and around.
But some pain and brokenness can’t be avoided. Instead, some things must be endured or let go. To lay down all my trying and problem solving, to let go and sit with the pain, and allow others to sit with theirs, is something I have managed not to do for much of my life. In my recent weariness I became content with letting the hard things happen. I have settled in to wait for the answers to come, instead of chasing them down in my own power. The waiting and enduring, ended up being a gift. It is the place where I have come face to face with my expectations and fears: they are big and they are many. And they have often been running the show.
But this is a transitional time. A time of simply accepting what is, no fixing, just being alongside the hurting. It’s a time of recognizing when I feel compelled to dissect the problem and devise a way around it. It’s a place of taking each day as it comes, one at a time. This waiting and enduring isn’t stagnant, just different. The fear and expectations I have carried along the way haven’t disappeared, they creep in daily. And when they do, I turn to hope instead of searching for quick solutions. I can’t control the outcome, can’t make everyone’s pain go away, but I can rest in the character of God. When it’s all said and done, my fear is that pain will harden little hearts against God and diminish their hope.
My little sign has become a tool, a daily reminder to adjust my expectations, to be present and hopeful in each moment. It’s really a reminder to consider Jeremiah 29:11, that there is a greater plan, there is hope, and I’m not the one on which these rest.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)