The fact that skipping church causes me great angst is probably something only a woman over 40 from the South can understand. Well, and maybe only a Southern Baptist woman over 40 from the South can understand. Add to that I am a PK (preacher’s kid) and MK (missionary kid) and well, skipping church is just about equal to sex, drugs, and rock and roll and ensures a ticket to hell.
All joking aside, I doubt skipping church causes much angst in very many people this day and age. But it does me. Always has and I guess always will. Although, I must admit in recent years the angst is a little less.
The girls and I had our girls weekend. Dad was on his annual guy vacation, AKA Golf Trip, and the girls and I were left at home with a weekend to fill. The weather was great. Fall hit our neck of the woods and it was fabulous! We attended a great “talent show” of sorts at my old University, Ouachita Baptist, helped with a baby shower for one of our former babysitters and searched for a Homecoming Dress. The latter could be a blog post in and of itself, but I’m not sure I have recovered enough yet to write about it. Throw in decorating the front porch for fall, cleaning the swimming pool and changing out the girls’ closets and we had ourselves one productive weekend. Sunday rolled around and we found ourselves wanting to enjoy a girls day at home. I love those days. The kind we used to call “pajama day”, back before school entered the picture. The kind where no one puts on make-up or does their hair. The kind where I get to sip my coffee, watch a movie, look through old magazines and listen to my daughters. So, we did just that. We slept in (they slept in, I enjoyed three cups of coffee while watching the Food Network). It was a great day. We laughed, we had a few squabbles, we just let the day unfold.
Despite all that was good about the day, I found myself feeling guilty. And well, guilt can just flat out take the joy out of a thing if you don’t get it in check pretty quick. At first I blamed the guilt on being a PK, MK and Deacon’s wife. After all, THAT woman never misses church. Not only does she never miss, but she is thrilled to be there! Then I blamed it on growing up with a mom who lived in a very black and white world and was quick to let her “judgement” of a situation be known. In reality though, I had to admit I felt guilty because I am a RECOVERING PERFECTIONIST. There. I said it. Hi, my name is Shana and I am a RECOVERING PERFECTIONIST. The problem with being a perfectionist is not just that you want things perfect, which ahem, we all no is absolutely impossible. The problem is that being a perfectionist comes with a whole slew of other issues-people pleasing being one of them. In a perfect world everyone would approve of me and be happy with me. In a perfect world I could please everyone and meet everyone’s needs when they need them met. In a perfect world I can be every place I need to be right when I need to be there. The real reason I feel guilty about skipping church is I am afraid of/worry about what that “other” church lady will think or say. I’m afraid I’ll let my kids down. It was a prompting to go to my Heavenly Father and confess-again. God doesn’t want me to live in that place. He knows this is a fallen world. He knows I am a sinner, forgiven and prone to making more mistakes, the same mistakes over and over. He prepared for that. He sent His one and only Son, Jesus, to die on a cross for me. He extends grace and mercy to me every day, every moment. He isn’t keeping a check-list. He simply wants me to release my expectations, and be. Be still. Quit striving. Listen for His still small voice. It’s hard. And just about the time I think I have conquered this Perfectionism thing, I am hit with those feelings of worry, doubt, defeat. But when I stop, when I take that moment to breathe deeply and really think about what I am doing/feeling, I am reminded to press on and have hope because God is with me and He is faithful. I can overcome in the moment. I may not conquer it completely, but I can overcome it.
Yes, I skipped church and lived to tell about it. Now, don’t get me wrong. This isn’t something that needs to happen often. I believe in church. I believe in the biblical instruction to gather and fellowship with other believers. There is great value in that. I need it. My family needs it. Church is often my time to praise, to express gratitude, to care for a fellow sister or brother in Christ. It is necessary, just not mandatory.
It’s Monday. I’m saying it again. Hi, my name is Shana and I’m a RECOVERING PERFECTIONIST. Life isn’t perfect, but it is beautiful. It has purpose. And some days you just have to stay home and live in the moment. Full disclosure. The following pictures depict my less than perfect life and pursuit of peace as a RECOVERING PERFECTIONIST.