It’s My Birthday…New Year, New Me!!!

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Happy Birthday to ME!!!

You guys, I can not tell you how incredibly excited I am to start a new year. I have never been able to really enjoy this day and celebrate it the way I know God intended. You see I am a perfectionist…WAS a perfectionist….it’s a dirty word, I know! My level of perfectionism never really allowed me to see or love myself the way God does. Functioning in this way robbed me of so much joy.

Perfectionism seemed like a nice idea. It meant I would always strive for greatness in every single thing I set my mind to do. Sounds nice, right? The problem is that my goals and efforts are completely unquantifiable. Sure, I’d be working tirelessly and always striving to do my best but, at what expense? I became a pro at picking out my flaws which led to looking past my successes so that I could work harder; get better. Perfectionism always left me disappointed in myself and emotionally exhausted. It was easy to see greatness in everyone else and celebrate them. But, when it came to seeing greatness in myself…..eeeeke, I could not do it! I always saw “potential” and the need to work even harder….get better, so that I would be better, have more joy, etc.

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I longed for a release….begged God for it actually. Have you ever been in a season of pruning? The kind of pruning that leaves most doors closed at every turn? The past couple of years have been a time of “no’s.” Now, to a perfectionist this is the worst possible season. My confidence took a nose dive, I began to take refuge in my comfort zones. I was in hiding. Hiding was easier because it meant there was a smaller risk of disappointment.  I even started to lose sight of the things God created me to do. Why?? Because, even though I have a beautiful relationship with God, I felt that I would never be good enough and my efforts would never measure up to be blessed in the way I knew God wanted to bless me. Logically, I understand that this is wrong thinking. Jesus came so that we could have life and have it more abundantly! His sacrifice sets us free….we no longer have to work to be loved and accepted.

What I needed was to hear from God in a big way! Months and months went by and God gently loved me through my heartbreaks and disappointments. He’s such a great parent! Man, I want to be just like him!! As a parent, I’m it was hard to watch me struggle but, he allowed those difficult times to teach me, to help me grow. He showed me that “mistakes” or “closed doors” aren’t tied to self worth but, are merely opportunities for growth and learning. Pure and simple. I am enough right where I am at this very moment! He also showed me….and, this one hurt a bit….perfectionism is not a personality trait but, a way to cope with unpredictability. Yeah, basically I am a control freak and I need to release my grip and trust in HIS ability to love and care for me well.

How could I love God so much and trust in him so little? This one broke my heart. This realization brought me to a cross road. Do I trust God and leap towards what He has for me? OR, Do I stay the course and do things my way?

The answer was simple! I’m ALL IN with you, God! No matter how uncomfortable I am in situations that I can not control. My trust is in you! When I am afraid to take a step but, the peace of God is there….I step because I trust in you!

You guys, once I made this mindset shift I began to hear God more clearly than ever before. You see, I was in a sort of prison. Not the kind where someone else holds the key to freedom. The prison I was in was one that I created along with the help of the enemy’s lies.  I was free to leave at any time! Ohhh my goodness!!! That realization rocked me to the core! Unlock the doors! I’m leaving this joint! I made a choice to actively resist the lies of the enemy and embrace love and the mindset of Christ through affirmations and quiet time. I am HIS, I am chosen by Him, I am loved by Him, I am enough and I needed to start acting like it!

Soooo much revelation. So much freedom. So much love!

God so lovingly reminded me of the call he has on my life, which requires me to push past fear and take many leaps of faith. I have to laugh because I can come up with all of the risks involved in leaping! I still struggle with those thoughts but, I fight them with HIS truths. I remind myself over and over again of God’s love, His plan, His guidance, His hand in mine.

What I have come to realize is that my lifestyle as a perfectionist kept me from enjoying and truly experiencing all God has for me! Sure, I’ve had great successes and blessings but, the chains of perfectionism robbed me of joy and happiness. I often felt alone and unseen. Not by the general public but, by God. You guys!!! Perfectionism was robbing my of the joy of being a wife, a mother, a friend, an actor…..

Not only do I want freedom from this type of bondage for myself but, I don’t want my children to follow in these particular footsteps! I want them to feel the fullness of joy and acceptance. No jails or chains for them because this mommy is breaking free!!

God’s love for us is filled with patience and guidance. He allowed me to walk this road to such a degree that I was ready to leave it behind. Actually, I was ready to Forest Gump this situation and run!!! It was my choice. It took courage and guidance from Him but, I did it and it feels amazing! What a good and faithful God he is!!

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I am beyond excited about entering this new year of my life! It was always hard to celebrate my birthday because I never felt worthy or excited about “me.” Not anymore! I am free from those chains and boy am I celebrating! I am ready for all God has for me!

With my new mindset I am able to hear God like never before! And, you better believe that I have documented and color coordinated His every word in my journal! 🙂

I hope that by sharing my journey with perfectionism it will help some of you who struggle in a similar way.

The take away…

Perfectionism is a habit. A bad one. And change doesn’t always come easy, or overnight. It’s a choice that will be made a million times over. But it is liberating, and God will walk with you hand in hand, every step of the way. Don’t allow relapses into perfectionism dissuade you from the freedom to love yourself and those around you in a beautiful way….to live the life God intended you to live!

 XOXO,

WENDY

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What Burning Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Taught Me….

Today was one of those days in motherhood that was just down right hard. Momma’s, I know you all have had those days!

Months and months of sleepless nights have piled up. My baby is struggling through teething and I hate to see him in so much pain! Let’s be honest, shards of bone breaking through tender flesh is not fun for anyone!! Today, I had moments where I lost my patience and used an unkind and unwarranted tone with my sweet babies.  I burned the grilled cheese sandwiches while I was trying to console an over tired, teething baby.  My perfectionistic tendencies really took a blow…..I DO NOT Burn food! Of course this wasted 4 pieces of bread and 3 slices of cheese, not to mention what little energy reserves I was using.

These were not my most Properly Stylish moments but, they happened.

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It’s funny how burning a grilled cheese sandwich can send you into a self deprecating tail spin of feeling inadequate. I immediately began to see all of the ways that I do not measure up as a mother and wife.  As I was spiraling  out of control in my thoughts, Stella was encouraging me in her sweet little way.

Stella : “Oh mom, you burned the grilled cheese. It’s ok! You can make another and next time turn the fire down and watch it very closely. Wow! My tummy is growling so loudly…I must be realllllllly hungry.”

I both laughed and cried listening to her. I took a deep breath, told myself “I AM enough,” and began to prepare the second round of sandwiches.

As women, we are often times juggling many responsibilities and trying to excel at every one. We leave very little room for failure or acting in any way that is less than perfect. The truth of the matter is that none of us are perfect and never will be! It’s an unattainable trait that we try so desperately to achieve. I would never want Stella or Liam to feel the pressure to be perfect in anything they do. As a matter of fact, I tell Stella very often that her best efforts are enough and she never has to feel like she has to be “perfect.”

Parenting can be the best teacher and failing can be one of the greatest gifts! Both require us to strive to be the best version of ourselves!

With both babes on my lap, I apologized for losing my patience and burning the grilled cheese sandwiches. Stella immediately said those beautiful words that set us free and give us room to grow, “I FORGIVE YOU mommy and I LOVE YOU even though you burned the grilled cheese!” Forgiveness is such a beautiful gift!  All was well!

As I prepared the second batch of sandwiches with a crying babe on my hip, I gave myself permission to fail. I gave myself permission to have a less than spotless home, to sleep in my makeup and have messy hair, to not always have the perfect meals prepared with the best ingredients, and to fail without it defining who I am.

I want to be a positive example for my babies. I realized that striving for perfection does not set a realistic example for them. Thank you God for grace and forgiveness!

What truly matters is that my family feels and sees the love I have for them.

Even though I am enormously flawed, I am enough in this moment!

I hope my challenging day encourages you! You are doing a wonderful job and you are so loved!

Lunch may have started black, crusty and undesirable but it ended up pretty fantastic! Oh the lessons we learn!

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Failing can be Properly Stylish….as long as you give your best efforts and learn from your mistakes!

Take care of yourselves and love yourself well…..that is Properly Stylish!

XOXO,

Wendy

Fall and Pumpkin Patches…

It’s finally fall here in Atlanta…..well, kind of. There are still a few days where the temperature sneaks into the 80’s. Gotta love those southern seasons!

Anyone who knows me, knows of my love for the holiday seasons! I mean, I am seriously ready to put up the Christmas tree and it is only the middle of October! I love all of those warm fuzzies that come along with holidays.

This year we have been to both an apple orchard and a pumpkin farm.

Burt’s Pumpkin Farm in Dawsonville, GA is my absolute favorite! It has become a yearly fall tradition for my little family. It is about an hour drive through the most beautiful landscape. Farm land, cows, horses and little antique shops guide you all the way to the farm.

The pumpkins at Burt’s are amazing! There are hay rides and yummy eats to enjoy. They also have a little country store where I have been known to pick up a few jars of the most delicious Apple Butter. You must buy the Apple Butter!!

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These baby pumpkins are always a favorite of Stella’s. She takes in every detail before selecting the perfect one….just like her momma.

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My sweet Stella pondered long and hard over which baby pumpkin was chosen to come home with us. She’s my detailed girl and I love that about her!

 

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Liam took the pick it up and throw it approach. My propriety was kicking in hard as I apologized to other farm goers for the flying pumpkins. 🙂

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Man, I love watching this little one explore!

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Have you noticed Stella and Liam’s sweet little pumpkin monogrammed shirts? I absolutely love them! They are perfect for the fall season! Jennifer at Plum Happy is responsible for all of this cuteness! http://www.facebook.com/plumhappyclothing

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You guys, my heart breaks a little with each passing day as this amazing little lady grows older! She is growing into such a wonderful person. Her heart explodes with joy, love and compassion. I’m so happy she is mine!

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I love this shot of me and my little honey!

 

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You guys, the pumpkins at Burt’s are the size of small children. It’s pretty spectacular!

 

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We love visiting Burt’s Pumpkin Farm!