“Grace, not Perfection” by Emily Ley is the title of a book I have on my shelf, wanting to make time to read. I see the beautiful cover, I am inspired by the title, and I know there are rich gems for me to savor and take in. It is definitely next on my list to read. In addition to this book, I use Emily’s Simplified Planners. They are beautiful inside and out and fill my need to write daily lists and see a month at a glance on paper, even if many activities were crossed out over the past few months and future months are empty.
“Grace, not perfection” was Emily’s mantra when she realized she couldn’t do it all. She needed to simplify her life, organize her days, and prioritize the priorities. I have definitely been there too. Before I was forced to stop everything and shelter at home to quarantine myself and my family, I was living a life filled with too much. Too many activities on my calendar, too many things in my house, too many expectations on how my house should look, too many roles I thought I should play, just too much. I knew I was going too fast but it was hard to slow down. I wanted to have it all but usually ended up exhausted and did not give my best self to those whom I love the most.
Although my life during this quarantine is not what I had written on my beautiful calendar or expected the spring to be, it is exactly what I needed. In fact, my word for the year 2020 is “home.” I know, crazy right? Who would have thought this word would become so tangible and take on a whole new meaning? When I chose this word, it was because I recognized the frenetic energy around me and the chaotic way I was living my life. Not only was I doing it to myself, but I was teaching my children it is ok to move 100 mph in 100 different directions. The word home was to inspire me to be home more often, to love my home (with all of its imperfections) and feel content not only in the house I live in but within myself.
During this quarantine, I have slowed down. As I have shared in other posts, making time for self-care became a priority and a necessity to keep moving forward every day. It has felt really good and I am cherishing each day. One of the nicest surprises is my daily walk. During my walks I have 1) listened to podcasts and birds singing, 2) prayed, 3) stayed connected with friends – six-feet-apart, 4) enjoyed one-on-one time with my children, and 5) started a new “date night” trend with my husband. Walking has kept my body moving and my mind calm and connected. These walks have filled not only time but my soul.
Now that things around me are slowly opening up and our Iowa Governor is giving clearance for businesses to open and move toward “normal,” I am definitely feeling a lot of resistance—resistance to going back to the way life was. I believe we have been given this opportunity to pause and contemplate what really nourishes our souls. We have the opportunity to pause and reflect on how we care for each other, our beloved Mother Earth, and living in a world as One. If I go right back into my frenetic lifestyle, I have missed this moment. I am not ready to just give in and go back. I want to stay messy. I want to cherish the moments and not rush to the next thing. I want to find a balance in my life. I want this for you, too.
I am also working on letting go. The grace I am giving myself is allowing me to let go of old patterns, habits and thoughts. I am reevaluating how I spend my time and letting go of what no longer serves me. This has been my practice—allowing in what nourishes my mind, body and spirit and letting go, especially of my need for perfection.
As we move forward in the days, weeks and months ahead. I invite you to pause and be present to the stillness and the grace God has abundantly given to us. You do not have to prove yourself to receive it. You do not need to work harder to earn it. It is yours and I hope we can extend a little more grace to others and ourselves.
“Learn to live a little more simply. Hold yourself and those you love to a more life-giving standard and allow that grace to seep into your days, your family, and your heart.” – Emily Ley