Getting It Right

traffic sign 18I want to get it right.  Whatever it is, I want to make sure I do it well.  When it comes to my life, I REALLY want to get it right.

I’m a bit of a perfectionist.  For a long time I “knew” I wasn’t a perfectionist.  I couldn’t be.  I’m messy.  I don’t finish things.  I thought it was impossible for me to be a perfectionist.

Then I read The Birth Order Book by Dr. Kevin Leman; he convinced me that I am a perfectionist.  He calls it “frustrated perfectionism.”  Those who identify with this description are so driven to be perfect that they give up because they know they’ll never measure up to the unrealistic standards they set for themselves or believe others have set for them.  Yup–that’s me.

As I’ve matured I’ve loosened my grip on getting things exactly right all the time.  Intellectually, I know it’s impossible.   Practically, I hope that if I don’t live up to others’ expectations, I may not have to do that thing again–not always a bad thing.

When it comes to the big decisions of my life, I still want to get it right.  As a Christian, I believe God has a plan for my life.  I want to sink into that plan and live it out.

Often I’ve tried to convince God of the benefits of neon signs directing me to the right decision.  Seriously—wouldn’t it be great if there were cosmic neon signs to tell you to buy this car, marry that person, or take this job?  Life would be so much simpler.  It might be crowded with neon signs, but that’s a completely different issue.

Post-evacuation I had four job choices.  I wanted to get it right.  I wanted to make sure I chose the best thing.  It was paralyzing.

I would wake up and think, Option A is the best thing.  By lunch, the obvious choice was Option D.  At bedtime, I was sure Option C was what I needed to pursue.  I cycled through each option at least once every two days.

In the midst of my indecision, I spent hours praying.  I also sought advice from people I trust.  My wise friend Judy said, “What if they’re all the best?  What if there’s no bad choice?”

My initial reaction?  “Not much help!”  Eight years later, I think her idea was well thought out.  Sometimes we have choices that are equally good.  Sometimes we don’t.

Each path I could’ve walked was equally valid.  They all fit within my giftings.  All of them would have honored God.  There wasn’t a bad choice.  Was there a best choice?  I’d like to think so, but I have a feeling if I had chosen any of the other options I’d be sure it was the best one.

When it came down to it, there were a number of factors that tipped the scales towards Colorado and my position as TCK Coordinator for WorldVenture.    Some of them were strikes against places—students who’d captured my heart not being around for more than a few years; not working with true TCKs; uncertainty if the option would really materialize.  In the end what got me here was realizing I prayed for this position for three years before it ever existed.

Did you get that?  I’d prayed for this for 36 months . . . over 1000 days.

What a revelation!  Three years of regular petition, and God answered.  There was only one valid option after that.  It took me a while, but I got it right.

As I face tough decisions now, I’m reminded to look at what I’ve been praying for, to reread my journals looking for a theme, to see if any of my options fit. My tough decisions are made with prayer, reflection, a bit of consultation, and trust.  I trust God will show me if there is a best.

Do I always get it right?  Probably not.  I know I make mistakes from time to time.  I try not to get overly stressed by it.  I know the God who redeemed me can also redeem my choices.

And really . . . that’s getting it right.

photo courtesy of Lars Sundstrom.


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(I’m participating in Faith Barista’s Faith Jam.  Every week she’s asking other bloggers to “jam like musicians” on a faith related topic.  Today’s post is my riff on “Making Tough Decisions.” If you’re interested in the notes others added to this Faith Jam, go check out her site and follow the links.)

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12 Responses to “Getting It Right”

  1. judyOctober 14, 2010 at 11:16 pm #

    I still wish the “perfect” choice would have been DA for you. We might be in need of an English teacher next year so you might get a second chance to make that RIGHT choice. 🙂 I know God is using you mightily where you are but I miss you!!

  2. KansiimeOctober 15, 2010 at 9:08 am #

    I’m trying to get over the fact that you had four job offers all at once. If that’s not God’s blessing then i dont know what is!

  3. Carol R.October 15, 2010 at 10:06 am #

    excellent insight Sheryl… so glad you get to do what you do and He works through you no matter what you are doing – as long as you/we choose to walk with Him, He is always using your/our gifts, talents and strengths, even the challenging character traits for His glory! you are an amazing lady!

  4. allieOctober 15, 2010 at 10:28 am #

    I seem to remember you telling me something like this a few months ago. I think it’s a very encouraging realization. =)

  5. Faith Barista BonnieOctober 15, 2010 at 11:19 am #

    Sheryl! My heart stood up and CHEERED!! at the end here… “I know the God who redeemed me can also redeem my choices.

    And really . . . that’s getting it right.”

    It is very freeing to learn this more and more… and I am slowly starting to trust this letting go of my imperfection.. esp. when I make mistakes! And yet, I also accept in me, there is that drive to get it right. This dichotomy makes the choice of faith beautiful — and you have showed it here in this post through your life. Thank you, Sheryl!

  6. Ginger HuntOctober 15, 2010 at 8:15 pm #

    My dear friend,
    When I see you with those kids, I know that this is where you need to be…..at least until God sends you somewhere else! It is so often that when I’m struggling, when I’m waiting, when I think it would be easier if I just took things into my own hands, I find that He has opened a door I didn’t even know existed. I have made sooooo many mistakes, and He still chooses to love me. wow………
    Thanks for writing. Much love…..

  7. SherylOctober 16, 2010 at 10:41 am #

    One day, Judy, one day . . . sigh. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if what was best didn’t mean our missers got to rule?

  8. SherylOctober 16, 2010 at 10:42 am #

    Thanks for the good perspective, Kansiime! I hadn’t quite thought of it like that, but you’re absolutely right.

  9. SherylOctober 16, 2010 at 10:44 am #

    Thanks for the encouragement, Carol! It is so very comforting to know that God wins in the end—be it on the cosmic or individual level.

  10. SherylOctober 16, 2010 at 10:45 am #

    Thanks, Allie! It’s good to know I have a consistent message! 🙂

  11. SherylOctober 16, 2010 at 10:47 am #

    Oh, Bonnie! I love your words—they reflect an encouraging heart. Thanks. I can’t imagine how people do this all on their own, without realizing the option of faith. There is such comfort in being able to rely on God and the knowledge that he is bigger than all of what I’m in the midst of.

  12. SherylOctober 16, 2010 at 10:49 am #

    Thanks, Ginger. I feel like I’m in exactly the right place—well, probably 98% of the time. I know this was what I was created to do at this point. I’m not sure what’s next, but I’m certain God will help me figure it out when I get there. Your life has been such an example to me of patience, joy, and perseverance. Thanks for being part of my life. I love you.

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