For all of those who know me, you know that one of my favorite things to do is browse through book stores- preferably with a fresh cup on coffee in one hand. Unlike my better half, who can sit for hours and actually complete a book in a bookstore before buying it, I mostly just look at the covers.
I will admit that I used to be one of those people who would buy books on impulse and then let them sit on a bookshelf for months or years on end without even reading them. However, all of that has changed. I actually read those books now. Exciting, right?
A couple of weekends ago, I was fresh out of books, so we headed to the local bookstore.
Within 45 minutes I had a handful of books and making a decision on which one seemed impossible.
Randomly, I selected "Make it Happen" by Lara Casey. Sometimes things are quite as random as we may think. This book has been everything I have needed to hear so badly in my life.
Although I am a lover of self-help books, I will be the first to admit that they tend to be a little corny and repetitive. This book isn't like that. Lara challenges the reader in the beginning of the book to write in the margins, make this book a workbook, but more importantly to be completely open with yourself. No one else is going to read what you write. The worst person you can lie to is yourself.
Let me say that again... The worst person you can lie to is yourself.
Acting like everything is ok is not ok.
Like Lara Casey, I tend to find myself masking "symptoms" in my life of a deeper desire for acceptance or control. Cleaning and organizing to the extreme as a way to feel "in control". Buying unnecessary things in an effort to "fill the void" or have some excitement for a temporary time.
About half way through the book Lara challenges the reader again to stop chasing perfection in your job. I am so very guilty of this--- feeling inadequate and out of control if I don't answer every email immediately. She challenges the reader to commit to turning off the email and phone alerts at night and on the weekends. I started doing this on Tuesday and I will have to admit it has been really hard. I hate coming into the office in the mornings with lots of emails, so I find myself answering emails all night in an effort to curb the load in the morning. This does nothing but drain me of my energy and precious time. Starting Tuesday I have turned my work phone off at 6 and have not answered emails after 6 as well. At first it was brutal. So hard not to reply when people "need" me. The truth is, when you let people into your "personal" time, they will drain it and begin to expect it. Then, you are left feeling empty and exhausted. As hard as this transition and finding a balance will be, I know it is what has to happen in my life. This doesn't mean "less work". This means richer and more meaningful work during working hours and richer and more meaningful personal time during personal hours.
The entire purpose of this book for me, whether this was her purpose or not, is to stop chasing perfection in my life and love what I have been given, which is a heck of a lot. The stacks of laundry can wait another day so I can spend that time doing things with more purpose in meaning. Although I love to shop, I want to do it with a purpose and not just to temporarily fill the void with a shiny new toy for a few days.
It's so hard to be vulnerable with yourself. It's hard to read Lara's confessions and relate to them so much. But what is much harder, is living a life without the fullness that God intended for us all. Dirty laundry and all. The emails don't have to be answered today. I don't have to see every post on social media before bed.
I am so excited to complete this book and see where this journey takes me. Do yourselves a favor and grab it next time you are at a bookstore. You will certainly be glad you did.