Monday, May 2, 2016

Messy middle.

   Jessica Honegger spoke to a group of Noonday Ambassadors in Indy last night and her words are sticking with me today. She talked about how the majority of life really is lived in the messy middle, how perfection is an impossible goal, and being fearless isn't how it works- we are the most courageous when we're actually fearful, when we moved forward in spite of fear not in the absence of it.

  It is impossible to do it all or be perfect. I'm stating the obvious, I know. But honestly, sometimes I don't know that or I just forget it. The majority of the time, I'm pretty level-headed and realistic. I know my limits and give myself (and others) heaps of grace daily. I know that grace is better than perfection. But, sometimes it seems like that person I follow on instagram or that classmate of mine from grad school or this friend I have really is able to do everything amazingly. Like they have it figured out and I just don't yet. I'm still very much winging this parenting thing, missing my social work experiences, navigating having friendships as an adult, and always working on my marriage or my relationship with Jesus- never feeling perfect at any of those.

  But the reality is, no one is perfect. To be really really good at one thing, sacrifices have to be made in other areas {I love what Jessica said about this in relation to being a working mom!}. And truly, most of life is lived in the messy middle. Not at the starting point or after we reach perfection. But smack dab in the middle, where we're working things out and taking risks and failing and succeeding and trying all over again.

  I love that. I love the reminder that perfection isn't the goal and the journey, the process, is where life really happens. The messy middle is a good and wonderful place to be, even if it is filled with trial and error and not quite knowing how it all ends up. And I feel like that can apply to anything- parenting, career paths, friendship, or life as a whole. As long as we keep saying yes and moving forward, in spite of fears, we will keep growing and learning.

  And can we talk about that for a minute? One little 'yes' can be a catalyst for amazing things. Because just one of Jessica's friends said 'yes' to hosting a trunk show five years ago, Noonday Collection was born and artisans in 12 different countries were able to earn a living wage and preserve their families and ultimately help thousands of orphans join their adoptive families. The same simple 'yes' of women across the country to offer to gather girlfriends in their living rooms to talk about Noonday Collection help to maintain that marketplace and increase the impact across the world. Or just saying 'yes' to a coffee date with a loose acquaintance can lead to a friendship that you never knew you needed. Or saying 'yes' to this silly part time job that seems so random could lead to a unique skill set you'll need 15 years from now at the dream job you never knew you wanted. Little 'yeses' that add up to big impact over time.

  The messy middle is just that, messy. It rarely makes sense or seems linear or feels super comfortable. Social media or our own perceptions can make it seem like we're the only one who doesn't have it (define IT however you want) figured out or perfected, but that's just not true. Have you read the Just 5 Things series? It's full of women doing being, great things in life- and the majority of them hire a cleaning person to maintain their home so they can put energy into the other things they're focused on. You know those working moms who are crushing it in their work life? They have found a trusted person to help care for their kids day to make space for them to invest in their careers! That perfectly styled instagram photo? Probably took some time to set up or plan out and is flanked by dirty dishes or laundry waiting to be folded. No one is perfect, and that's ok. We are absolutely all just doing the best we can, living in the messy middle of life! So keep saying small {and big!} yeses, trying even when you think you might fail, and giving yourself {and others} heaps of grace along the way.

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