Coaching

Why Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect

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It’s embarrassing to admit this, but I want to be the best at everything. There I got it out. 

I am envious of other women my age and my season of life who seem to have stumbled upon success, accidentally trying something and surprising themselves with the fruit and the response they receive.

I want that.

Not only do I want that, but I want to be that woman. That bubbly, fun, spontaneous mom who is also creative, confident, stable and secure. Not only do I want overnight success, I want to be a different person when I wake up.

You can imagine how extremely disappointed I feel when I wake up every single morning and I see the same person in the mirror.

My jealousy and comparison have deep roots of perfection.

I’ve been ruminating over these wise words lately,

“The idea of being in the middle makes us worry about being left behind or forgotten, doesn’t it?”

“Moderation isn’t an option because we fear losing control.”

“Many times, the thing we go to extremes for is not the thing we need the most.” Lara Casey, Make it Happen

***

What if you and I became content with being good, great, or just okay at something? A good wife. A great mom. A good athlete. A great teacher. An okay writer. An okay gardener.

Yikes! For me, that’s difficult. I grew up wanting to be the straight A student, the fastest runner on the team, the best, best friend. And now, well, it hasn’t changed. I still want to be the fastest and the best, the most beautiful wife, the strongest mother, the most stable woman.

Being just good or great or ok…those are like swear words to me. It gives the idea that I settled in mediocrity and didn’t give it my all…that ultimately, I failed. 

But friends, can I tell you this…

Being good at something is good enough. Even being okay is okay. 

Our desires to be the most successful, the best, the fastest, the thinnest, the most stable and secure are paralyzing us from living an adventure with God!  For me, I know I back out, quit, step down, or hide, all because of this lie– that if something I do is not excellent or perfect or whole-hearted than it’s simple not worth it.

In other words, it’s a failure.

I am a failure.

I feel this in mothering, hobbies, writing, relationship with God, friendships, work, and my character.

I feel it strongly everyday…Do you?

The pressure to be the best, the most beautiful, the most creative, the most put together, the most daring, the most adventurous…it subtly pervades our lives.

But here’s the truth about it all- I’M NOT the best, the most put together, the most adventurous… And neither are you.

Because this is the deal – life is all about practicing.

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Practicing means stepping out, taking action, training, working on, becoming…

It signifies we’re on our way, but not there yet.

So give yourself the grace to be good enough, to practice, to fail, to try, to step out. Become content with not having to be the best or have it all together.

In every area of my life I am choosing to practice! Practice is the secret to becoming good at just about anything. But practice doesn’t make perfect!

Because practicing… whether it’s art of adventure, mothering, writing, intimacy with God, playing piano, loving my husband, running, baking bread, growing a garden… means we are moving awkwardly in faith instead of being gripped with fear.

Instead of practice making perfect, practice releases the pressure of having to be perfect.

Giving myself the freedom to simply practice, places my eyes on the real race- becoming more like Jesus, travelling deeper into His heart. All of life, everything we do and are, is all just a practice.

Practicing is not about striving, but consistency. It’s not overnight success, but faithfulness. It’s not about winning the race, but just running.

In highschool I ran track and cross country. Practice was the secret to becoming fit and healthy.

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Practice is where we built confidence and stamina. It’s where we stepped out of our comfort zones and sometimes failed. It’s where we were okay with being good, not the best.

And actually, any athlete knows you don’t want to the best in practice.

So, will you join me in practicing this art of adventure with God, and giving ourselves permission to fail, to try, to step out, and to simply be good or great, but definitely not perfect?

How would your life look different if you didn’t feel pressure to be perfect or the best?

Walking with you into the unknown,

Charissa

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Coaching

The Worship Night That Never Happened

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We laid on David’s bedroom floor, that’s all the energy we had. Zoe discovering new treasures in her brother’s toy box and David bouncing wildly on his bed. After dinner is the home stretch. We have to dip into the reserves and give it all we have left, and on most evenings it’s not much.

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That night we had the grand idea of doing a family worship night in our living room. It’s laughable really, with a one and a two year old in tow. But in all seriousness we were hungry to sing our hearts out to God, to explode with praise for His provision in our lives, to give Him adoration simply because He is God and He is good.

Well, it never happened.

Fast forward through the bedtime routine, after the baths and the diaper changes, the toddler chatter and the baby’s wails, and there you’d find us… on the floor. At one point the worship music was actually going, but five seconds after it started playing David was throwing a tantrum for some unknown reason and Zoe was wriggling out of my arms, uncomfortable and irritable.

We tried and failed…and decided to give it a go another night when we felt more energized and inspired.

***

It wasn’t until later, after I curled under my covers, soaking in the stillness, and wishing that it would last forever, that I realized we worshiped that night. Unbeknownst to me, our little loud and chaotic family was giving praise to God. Hidden beneath the bedtime routine- the baths, the stories, and the songs. Underneath all the screaming and the tears, the winding toddler tales, and our baby girl finding her feet. Inside the four walls of our messy home, the smell of dinner wafting through the house, the sticky chunks of food leftover on the table, and the toys scattered over every room of the house…

I began to notice it.

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As I replayed the day in my mind, God showed me…

Worship.

It happened as we knelt beside the bathtub with soapy hands and splashing children.

I saw it as we lay on the ground worn out and exhausted from a full day of living and giving.

I noticed it as we got down to look David in the eye and hold his hands to speak love into his heart.

It was there when we bent low to rescue and comfort Zoe from yet another fall on the tile floor.

It happened when we sat and played with trains and built tractors and could only sigh and play along.

There was worship as we walked together to the park and pushed David on the swings.

***

For the first time in my life, I am {really and truly!} realizing worship is not just about singing along to songs, it’s about making up my own.

I am awakening to the truth that worship is not about kneeling in a church or beside my bed, it’s about bending low with my whole life, and sometimes that means sitting on my knees by the bathtub scrubbing dirt from David’s feet.

I am starting to believe that worship isn’t an event that we plan, a quiet evening with candles, worship is also a house full of loved kids and exhausted parents.

It still seems foreign to me, this way of worshiping God. Don’t get me wrong, I still get the quiet and candles. I’m still ushered into intimacy with God through songs and surrender. I haven’t stopped worshiping Him that way. It’s just that worship has always been so formal for me. But worship is rich and deep and cannot be contained in a church service or a closet quiet time with Jesus. Worship is doing all of life with God.

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Worship is landing in bed after a long day and jumping under the covers of His grace.

Worship is living our life in constant awareness and response to His extravagant love for us.

Worship leads us into an everyday adventure because we realize that God is here and now and waiting for us to bend low with our lives- stooping in humility to love Him and love others with all of our heart, wherever we are.

Worship is being able to see God even from the bedroom floor of my toddler’s room, when my well-meaning spiritual attempts to worship Him seem to fail.  

I bet, if you pay attention throughout your day, you’ll see it too… the worship. It’s flowing out of you, it’s rising up from your house and your heart. You were created to worship even when you don’t feel like it or have the energy for it. Worship is hiding in your day, will you notice it…will you hear the song even in the surprising places?

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Coaching

On Control, Cigarettes, and Surrender.

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We want to feel safe and secure in this life, and when we don’t we run.

Enter: Our addictions. Our comforts. Our religion {trying to get to God on our own terms}.

We run to them to regain a sense of safety and control. But much to our dismay, the security they provide is all an illusion. Most of us don’t realize it, but this cycle happens almost daily.

Throughout the past few weeks, several circumstances have shown me {once again!} I am not in control, even when I think I am. 

I feel helpless and desperate for control. I want to be strong and healthy, capable and confident. And I’ll do anything to get there because only then will I be happy.

How do you feel when the circumstances of life render you helpless?

Do you try to run like me?

***

Even if we’re not smokers, we all have our cigarettes. The little things that we cling to for some sense of stability when our days feel uncertain and tumultuous.

When life surprises us with unexpected challenges or prolonged struggles our human nature is to strive for control again because we are afraid.

We are afraid of being vulnerable, helpless, and desperate.

To most of us, these qualities never characterize a woman of strength or confidence, courage or faith. They equal a woman who is weak and unworthy.

But could it be that God desires us to remain right here- in a place of need?

What if being out of control is exactly when we recognize Who is in control?

Could surrendering our desire for control and safety be the moment we begin to fly?

What if our brokenness is the door to wholeness, freedom, joy, and praise?

Following Jesus on this adventure doesn’t make us more self-reliant or self-confident. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, His adventure winds us along a trail where we will have to decide daily where will we put our trust.

Will we run in our own strength, trying to maintain balance and stability in the ways we always have?

Or will we get on our knees in an act of surrender and need, realizing this adventure is messy and unexpected much of the time, and that’s a good thing? Then wait expectantly for surrender to do its work in us…

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Surrender fills our lungs with healing and life. Instead of hopelessness and despair working death into our days, joy and praise begin pump life through our veins.

…we overcome fear by surrendering control. But surrender is only possible if we have total assurance that we are safe. We must be convinced that if we let go we will be caught. This assurance only comes when we trust that our heavenly Father desires to be with us and will not let us fall. Skye Jethani

When circumstances in life leave me feeling confused and out of control, when the unexpected challenges burst through my doors, when situations cause me to worry, I don’t want to reach for my cheap cigarettes {my addictions, my shroud of religious behaviors or comforts} like I usually do.

Instead I will get on my knees, empty my hands towards the sky, and declare myself a needy woman. In need of grace, healing, mercy, and wisdom. I am a woman in desperate need of Jesus today. What about you…who or what will you cling to for security today? 

 

You hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
leading me to a glorious destiny.

 Whom have I in heaven but you?
I desire you more than anything on earth.

My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever.

Those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you.

 But as for me, how good it is to be near God!
I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter,
and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do. {Ps. 73}

 

 

 

 

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Coaching

The Gift For *Those* Days

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My life is not perfect, but sometimes I want others to think it is.

I want to create and uphold an image that makes me look good, strong, and put together. An image that proves my children are well-behaved, my house is tidy, and my heart is always on fire for Jesus and my husband.

I don’t think I’m alone on this one…

We all want to put our best face forward and there’s nothing wrong with that! We want people to like us, to be the person that is easy-going and upbeat, always cheerful and encouraging. So we show the world the pictures where we are hugging those we love and having good hair days.

But what about the other days…the ugly, messy days?

What if you or I hit a string of solid difficult, stretching days; a season where those days feel more like the norm than the exception?

What do we do with ourselves then?

 

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If we equate beauty with having it all together, being strong, perfect, and stable, then we will surely crumble into a heap of tears and misery.

We will feel alone and afraid. We will run and hide because showing up like that is surely not displaying strength or maturity. We will shrink back on those days and in the process miss out on, I think, one God’s greatest gifts to you and me.

I want to challenge us to see those days differently, and ultimately to see ourselves differently.  

The days with unanswerable questions and unexplainable tears. The days where you wonder what God is doing and where this adventure is leading, or when motherhood and marriage are more work than enjoyment.

What if we believed that within those sometimes dark and difficult days that there was a gift?

It’s time to give ourselves and others the freedom to have those days and to talk about them. To give each other the space to say, “Everything is not okay, and here’s why…” and then to actually just listen instead of trying to fix.

I think God has a gift, in the dirt and grime of life, that He wants us to unwrap…

grace. His grace. 

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***

His grace calls us beautiful and okay and loved even on those days. You know the ones…we all have them.

His graces beckons us to be real and genuine, sincere and honest, even about those days- where we yell at our husbands or our kids, the days where we wallow in self-pity and can’t stand to even be around ourselves.

His grace encourages us to keep on going when we feel like complaining or crying the whole day.

His grace gives us a different lens through which to view life.

Life doesn’t become beautiful when…

we have a successful business to talk about, a perfect and healthy marriage, a perfect community of friends that we feel deeply connected to, children who giggle and play the whole day, or when we finally have energy and passion bursting through our veins.

***

What if we really got this- that beauty is not found in our perfection, strength, or put- together houses or hearts? God’s grace is most evident when we feel weak and totally insufficient.

What if we gave ourselves and others the freedom to have and to speak about those days? What if we reminded ourselves and others to unwrap the extreme beauty and the extravagant grace of God even more so on those days?

What then? Would we all turn into a bunch of negative, complaining people that nobody wants to be around? We could.

But that’s where God’s grace keeps giving! This is where we have to trust that opening up our heart and sharing, and allowing people to do the same, will lead us out into an ocean of grace. 

The ocean of grace where we learn how to truly praise and thank God even when nothing is going our way. The ocean of grace where the waves feel like they are slamming us, but actually they are refining us and making us stronger. The ocean of grace where we will feel like we are drowning but where God is teaching us how to depend on Him alone.

This is the gift for those days – an experience with the ocean of His grace.  

So go ahead, dive in, and experience His overwhelming, all-sufficient grace where you need it the most and then encourage someone else to do the same!

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Will you join me in unwrapping God’s gift of grace {an ocean of grace!} this weekend, as if it was the very first time you’ve ever experienced it? There’s no end to the beauty of His grace.

 

“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.  2 Cor. 12:9

“What is grace? It is God’s provision for our every need when we need it.”

“The greater the degree that we sense our weakness, the more we will be ready to experience God’s power.” Soniclight Commentary on 2 Corinthians

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Coaching

Things I Love About You.

About seven years ago Michal and I had a revelation that changed the course of our lives. At the time we had been dating off and on for about three years. We couldn’t seem to figure out the answer to THE BIG question… “Is he/she the ONE for me?”

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We were confused and tired, but still hoping to make our relationship work. We wanted to stay together, but didn’t think the ONE was supposed to feel so uncomfortable and be such hard work.

I still remember his words to us as we sat in the dining room of the mountain top retreat center that afternoon.

“You guys are great at picking out all that you don’t like about each other. You are pros at seeing the weakness and flaws in each other. But it’s time. It’s time to crumple up that list and throw it away.”

He was our pastor, and our friend, and he had watched our relationship through all the ups and downs. We knew he was right. After that afternoon, everything changed for us.  

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It was time to move forward in our relationship, to stop trying to answer the wrong question, “Is he/she the ONE for me?” and instead become the one for each other.

From that day on, we kept a different list running in our heart. A list of all the qualities we loved, appreciated, and enjoyed about each other.

We decided to encourage and build up, to focus on one another’s strengths instead of being blinded by the other’s shortcomings.

About a year later we were married, and declared to the world that we would commit our lives to a lifetime of celebrating and enjoying and bringing out the best of one another. Never again would we let the little things irritate us, or let disappointment or unmet expectations have the last word.

I’d love to say that after nearly six years of marriage we don’t ever go back to rehearsing that old list again. But we have. And we do!

We get stuck on the irritations and linger on our sins. We are quick to notice one another’s wrongs before we even acknowledge their rights.

But my husband and I refuse to settle for an ordinary marriage like this.

I’m not a marriage counselor or an expert in this thing by any means, but I do know that the words we speak and thoughts we think about our spouses or any other people in our lives, directly affects how beautiful that relationship is and will become.

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Will you join me in scribbling out another list today for those people in your life that you find difficult to love or appreciate or get along with?

Why don’t you go grab a piece of paper right now. {I’ll wait here!}

Did you get it?

Okay, at the top of the paper write this- Things I Love About You.

Pick your person. And then just let yourself go! You will be shocked to find that it might be hard at first…but it will get easier as you go on. Keep going as long as you can, and then write some more. Maybe aim for 25, 50 or 100 things on your list.

This simple action is a way for us to write, speak, and immerse ourselves in a new language of grace and encouragement, and eventually create a new culture. A culture of love, gratitude, enjoyment, and celebration of others, our spouses, family, and friends.  

And who knows…it may just change the course of your life, your marriage, and your relationships!

Who is joining me on this adventure of love today?

I’d love to hear about it if you do! 

 

 

 

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