Originally posted March 12, 2013, at Narrating Grace. Republished with permission of the author.
I’ve been intrigued by buzz around Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In.” I haven’t read the book (yet), but the conversations about it have been fascinating. I agree with the idea that in order to survive — even thrive — in life, we have to make choices about where we spend our energy. I also think it applies to men as well as women. A balanced life is a myth. There’s no way we can “do it all” or spin all our plates in the air at once. A fulfilled life involves prioritizing, hard choices and loving community support. Better to spend energy and do a few things very well than to spread oneself too thin and do a mediocre job across the board.
But there are times in life when everything seems to fall out of place, and there’s no energy left to put it back together. For perfectionists, these periods are excruciating. I know. When I can’t perform to my perceived utmost best, I’m tempted to not perform at all (note the lack of blog posts for the past month). Last week I found myself leaving the doctor’s office with a prescription for antiviral meds and a case of shingles. This isn’t convenient in the middle of Lent. I had to let go of some important tasks and spend lots of time with an ice pack on my couch. I was forced to depend on others to care for me as I rested. I had to settle for less time spent on my sermon. I couldn’t wait until I felt 100 percent better before I showed my face again. I had to admit my weakness and ask for patience.
Sometimes we can’t strike a perfect balance in life (isn’t leaning in — and out — an attempt at balance?). There are times when we’re held up by others. There are times when we have to be good enough. Good enough because we’re worthy of patience and understanding. Good enough because we need help. Good enough because we can’t do our best all the time. Good enough because we’re beloved children of God.
Sometimes the bare minimum is all we can do. And sometimes that’s good enough. I’m feeling better.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” Matthew 11:28-30 (from “The Message”).
Find a link to Jennifer Hackbarth’s blog Narrating Grace at Lutheran Blogs.