I wrote the following post in July of this year. Several of you read it at that time, but I wanted to bring it back out as we become entrenched in the “crazies” of the holiday season. A little perspective can go a long way and, well, maybe spare your children. *grin*
Read on and you’ll understand. Let my pain be your gain.
Hubs and I were getting ready for an office gathering that took place at our home last night. We’ve been having a lot of rain lately (it is hurricane season, after all) and we recently had a roof leak that showed itself through an unsightly brown stain on our breakfast nook ceiling. As we were icing down drinks, he commented about how sorry he was that the stain hadn’t been painted over before the party.
I just said, “oh Honey, it ain’t nothin‘ but a thang.” One of my favorite expressions given to me by an old friend from Mississippi.
“Wow,” he replied, “you’re really getting a lot better about stuff like this.”
Yes I am. Praise God and hallelujah!
My husband is a “don’t sweat the small stuff” kind of a guy. I, on the other hand, have spent a good part of my life on this planet not only sweating my own small stuff, but helping others sweat theirs as well! I will tell you I’m certain it hasn’t added to the quantity of the life I have left, and it absolutely has not added to the quality!
My “reformation” started several years ago when, due to some very difficult situations in my life, I was forced to do a little self-analyzation. This process (along with some very wise council) led me to the book Boundaries, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. I will pause for a moment to allow you to check out the link and then purchase the book if you have not read it (or call a friend and borrow theirs – somebody you know has one). It will change your life.
Okay. So, I read the book and I began to see the many, many ways in which I allowed my life to be consumed and ruled by the small, inconsequential stuff that I thought would define me to other people. I was also reminded of another party (my very first, in fact) that I gave back in the early 90’s.
I, mother of two small children, spent days and weeks pouring over every detail of a neighborhood Christmas-caroling party that, incidentally, was pot-luck. POT LUCK, y’all! You’d think that would’ve been pretty stress-free, but no! What should’ve been a fun time for my girls, getting ready for Christmas and planning a happy party for their friends, was time spent with a distracted, Grinch-like mom who was far more concerned with the perfect presentation of our less-than-magazine-quality Christmas decor. I tended to every detail, and so thoroughly cleaned my house that any cabinet could have been opened and any sofa checked under without finding so much as a piece of lint. It was insane.
The big day finally arrived. Just as the doorbell announced its first ringer, I was so over-the-top stressed that my stomach cramped up and sent me flying past the front door to the bathroom! And there I stayed the ENTIRE EVENING! I missed the food, the laughter, and even the caroling.
If only I’d known then what I know now, I would’ve realized that all that perfectionism and drive to get people to like me or be impressed by me was “nothin’ but a thang”. It was really the small stuff in the grand scheme of things; the big stuff being time with my kids, warm (if imperfect) hospitality toward my neighbors, an ease in my spirit that puts others at ease in my home.
Learning about healthy boundaries has helped me in a zillion ways. But my main discovery was the realization that I was blown around – like so much flotsam in the wind – by my ever-changing feelings…feelings that were never stable because they were not rooted in the Truth. Instead, they took a very shallow root in the opinions and thoughts of others. Oh the plight of the people-pleaser.
I think that’s why I love the old hymn “On Christ The Solid Rock I Stand”, so much. I like that my roots are no longer so shallow because they’re rooted in the Truth instead of the “shifting sand”. After all, that shifting sand? It ain’t nothin’ but a thang.
Now, I’ve had me some “thangs” over the course of 42 years! I still have some hangin’ on tight. They prefer a slow death over a quick slaughter.
I do feel trapped by a few remaining fleshly perfections that sometimes keep me from focusing on the important. Thankfully, God is lessening my drive for them. You’re right, there is a healthy balance in the middle of all my issues.
I think age and kids have given me the gift of better perception. Have a great week.
Okay, I totally think every woman should read this post right about November 3rd.
Actually, we could all read it all year long and it would do us some good.
Thank you for this post.
It is great!!!
Yep. We say that same thing in TN!
And, being a people please for most of my life (free at last) I know a thing or two about this.
Elaine was right…age and kids give us a better perception and I’m hanging on tight!
Have a great day Melinda!
How I love to read your posts! First of all, I have to say that I have written a few posts on the fabulousness of Boundaries. Truly life changing.
Second, as a “sweat my own stuff and everyone else’s stuff” kind of gal, when I saw that same trait emerging in my own sweet daughter, I (for some odd reason) adopted the phrase “no big thing, but a chicken wing”. Oh my, has that phrased been used in our family!!! But it really has helped all of us to keep perspective, laugh when we want to cry (over spilled milk, no less), and just move on to the next fun thing in our family:)
So glad you were able to enjoy your own party!
That was some awesome teachin’ there! Nothing but a thang!
I can so understand what you are saying with being more a Martha instead of a Mary. BALANCE!
Balance, it’s so hard for women to remember that at times. I am sure that’s why Jesus has the whole Martha/Mary story in the Bible!
I’m stopping by from Lysa T’s site today! Nice to meet you.
Excellent blog and wonderfully practical wisdom. We can all get hung up on small things that others will never notice. You are right, it isn’t worth it and steal our joy.
Thanks for sharing,
It ain’t nothin’ but a thang.
I wrote that on a sticky note at the time you wrote this post, and I move it from week to week in my appointment book. A GREAT REMINDER!
You have blessed me once again with your post. Thank you. As a Pacific Northwest girl, I am sure I will turn a head and wrinkle a forehead when I give ’em my newfound mantra–especially with our home going on the R/E market right now and the realtors wanting that posh hotel look. 😉
Oh the “thangs” that have come close to making our entire home miserable!!!! We laugh at them today, but boy…..
Okay…I’m going to try and find that book! I think it could be very helpful in a situation we are in right now…
Melinda! What a post and what a good writer you are! Loved this so much – and needed the reminder again even though I have purposed in my heart to enjoy the simplicity of the Season this year.
Someone else has also mentioned how much the book “Boundaries” meant to them, so I’m going to follow up on that one. My physical boundaries changed last year when my husand and I (new empty nesters) moved next door to my parents after buying some land with them and building our “last home” before the nursing home or our HEAVENLY home – whichever comes first 🙂 Anyway, it is all good but there have been some tests…but it ain’t nothing but a Thang. 🙂
I love that you shared your love of the hymn “The Solid Rock.” My husband is a Pastor and is actually the Worship Pastor at our church – we love the old hymns and the doctrine therein!
Blessings to you, girl. My favorite line follows:
My Anchor Holds Within the Veil,
Melinda I love that story! It’s like looking in a mirror! Can’t tell you how much time I have wasted sweating the small stuff. Can’t I get a “do over” for those toddler years! 😉 xoxo
Michelle and I want to sit down for some coffee with you next week if you are available(or sushi)! We miss you and all have A LOT to talk about. :0)
We love you!