Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Martha, Martha

Tonight I read, which actually translates "relaxed". *cheering* I received a package from Amazon with some books, but my thoughts and some concerns about how I have a hard time actually sitting and enjoying reading brought me back to a book I started reading some time last year. The book is called Martha to the Max: Balanced Living for Perfectionists by Debi Stack. Martha is the precious woman we find complaining to Jesus that her sister, Mary, isn't helping her [in the kitchen]. She's frustrated and probably at the end of her rope. And Jesus replies to Martha basically that she's worried about too many things and that Mary has chosen the best thing...to sit at the feet of Jesus.

For most of my life, I have been like Martha. And lately it's really becoming evident to me that I have a hard time just 'relaxing' (my word for 2009).

You are probably wondering if I'm going to tie this into what this blog is about...stamping or scrapbooking. It does--in its own way. For the last few months, I have participated in the color challenges. Today, the most recent color challenge cards were picked and mine was again, not one of them. At first I was bummed, but then I realized that Kristina (the challenge "owner"), who is one person, doesn't determine whether what I create is 'good enough' or not. Like I have said over and over again on this blog, it doesn't matter what others think as long as I like it. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." And by golly, I LIKE my card!! And someone I LIKE and LOVE was sent this card! And you know...that's all that matters!

Stepping off soapbox.

Before I leave, I really wanted to share with you something I read tonight in the book Martha to the Max:

You may be plagued by a deep and abiding sense that you are an imposter, a fraud. Through your superhuman efforts to acheive, improve your appearance, or otherwise attain perfection, you have managed to fool plenty of people thus far. But you could be "found out" at any moment, and the prospect terrifies you. With every failure, error, or loss you run the risk that other people will see you the way you see yourself, be bitterly disappointed or thoroughly disgusted, and end up hating, rejecting, firing, or abandoning you.

To prevent such a calamity, you devote a great deal of time and energy to what experts in the field of addictions call impression management. You'll go to any lengths to look good, to appear confident and knowledgable, or to accommodate people whose love or acceptance is important to you.

If you are a perfectionist, you are invariably an impression manager as well. You simply cannot risk losing other people's approval, acceptance, or admiration, which you use as a substitute for self-acceptance, self-approval, and self-esteem. Lacking an internal sense of your own value, you use other people's opinions of you and other external rewards as a yardstick for measuring your worth."

This was a huge revelation to me! Right away I thought of the example of my house. I think that my house needs to look perfect at EVERY moment in case any person comes over. I don't want them to think I'm a slob or to think less of me. Recently my husband reminded me that it's not our house that people come to see, it's us. Why can't I look at my house the way I look at other people's homes...that I don't care if there's a mess? All of this business of trying to impress people with a clean house is only adding stress to my life and very high expectations upon myself...and it's definitely not bringing me anywhere near relaxation. Ha!

I have dust bunnies on the floor in between the days I vacuum, which are actually little balls of cat hair...and if you walk fast through the house, they fly around. I could stress over those hairs all day long because of fearing what someone might think of me if they came in my house and saw those. We all have dirty dishes, hair that falls out, vents that are dusty, clothes that need to be washed, etc. Why does one person think they have to master it all just to keep up an appearance to impress everyone? If someone is going to have an issue with the way my house looks, that's their own issue. I can only do my best. And that's what I want to do, because perfection is way too tiring and I really want to relax! (There's that word again!)

I want to be myself. I want to relax. I want people to relax around me. I would love to NOT do any cleaning for a whole day (at least) and have someone come over and be accepting of me anyway.

I know I have lots more to say on this, but for now, I must get some sleep! Stay tuned for more of Christina's Soap Box Musings.

1 comment:

Debi said...

I can TOTALLY relate. When we started having kids, the house was a disaster, and I struggled with wanting to clean it rather than be with my babies. (I still struggle with NEEDING a clean house.)

Unfortunately, I have been "cursed" with that. It came from my mother, and my grandmother, probably my great-grandmother, too. The sins of one generation are carried on to the next. I just hope I can stop it so my daughter isn't "cursed" too. Darn that sin nature!