May 31, 2012

Giving Up on Good...

Bloggers often write about how they "don't do it all." They explain that even though their house looks all glossy and their life always looks fun and pinterest-y on their blog, they really have areas they let slide... their house is actually often messy, they never work out, they don't really cook homemade meals, etc. etc. There is some part of wifedom or momdom that they just don't waste their time on...

Tiny Twig and Jessi, two bloggers that I love and admire, have been talking about "giving up on good" for the past month. The idea is that sometimes we need to give up on good things, in order to spend time on the best things. So, for example, you might give up a great part-time job to spend more time with your kids, or you might give up leading a Bible study to invest more time in another ministry that God has clearly called you to. You give up something perfectly good in order to pour your time and your passion into something better.

And I have been pondering this idea for a while, actually long before other bloggers started talking about it. What good am I giving up on? What is the part of ALL that I don't do?

And here is the sad part.

I couldn't think of a good answer.

I couldn't really think of anything I don't do. I mean my house is not straight off Pinterest or anything. I don't DIY or refinish furniture and we still don't have the right sized bedding on our bed, and it's been like that since we moved in November. So I don't do everything, by any means.

But I do a LOT. I go to school. I work. I workout at least three or four times a week. I make homemade dinners {that involve using recipes} about three times a week. I have a quiet time every morning. My house is usually sparkling clean. I am always caught up on laundry. I blog. I serve at church. I keep up with old friends. We entertain lots of guests.

But before you get jealous, let me tell you the truth.

I can't breathe.


During my most stressful weeks, I gasp for breath and feel like I can never inhale deeply.

At first we thought it might be exercise-induced asthma, but when asthma treatments had no effect on my poor breathing, the next diagnosis was anxiety.

It started a few months after I got married, as I began striving to be the perfect wife. I didn't ever articulate I was trying to be the perfect wife, but when I look at my past behavior and the expectations I was setting for myself, that was clearly what I was trying to do.

I wanted my husband to find no fault in me. I wanted all our new friends in Arizona to think of me as a gracious hostess, a good cook. I needed to be a great student, an active church member, and keep my body in perfect shape.


It's sick.

I lived under the illusion that I can do it all. And my body rebelled. My body, literally, gasped "No, you can't. {Deep labored breath}. Please stop the madness."

So I am giving up on the "perfect wife" illusion. I am going to give myself a little grace.

So yesterday when my grandma arrived and I didn't have time to finish my folding, I shoved three loads of clothes into the dryer and shut the door.

Last night I served spaghetti and bread for dinner. There was no salad. I didn't use a fancy recipe for my spaghetti sauce.

In fact, I've stopped cooking fancy dinners altogether. Unless we have company coming over, we now eat the most simple dinners. If it's a random Tuesday night and it's just Micah and me at home, we now only eat a lean meat and a vegetable. Grill a steak. Bake some broccoli. Dinner is done. And we actually have found we like it better that way.

So that's me. I'm not perfect. And one of my biggest faults is that I still try a little too hard to be sometimes. But I am trying to give up on that. So if you come over, I'll take a deep breath, shove my unfolded laundry in the dryer and give you all my attention while you are there. Because you are so much more important than my laundry, stressing over a new recipe, or sweeping crumbs off the floor.

*Linking up with Jordy Liz*


  1. Jessi5/31/12, 11:22 AM

    Cooking is definitely one of those things that just is not worth the time! I have found some really simple, but super delicious recipes. Ones that are way better than those fancy ones. I have a pretty good list of one we like and I rotate them, multiple times a month. It saves money and it saves me time and headaches!

    And then add kids into the picture and your life just gets thrown upside down. I have had the same clothes in the dryer for days. Sometimes I'll run it (with the same clothes in it) 3 days in a row, with the intention of pulling them our and folding/hanging them up and it just doesn't happen. But I'm okay with that!

    And I know I've told you this before, but I love your color coordinated planner :)

    ps- Ben registers for classes at TCU tomorrow! He's been on campus the past 2 days rushing to get everything in line to register and he says he loves the campus and the staff is SO nice. He hasn't said so outright, but I think he's pretty excited about it :)

  2. jennifer blair5/31/12, 12:21 PM

    Oh gosh. I am and have been here many times. It's so hard to give up on being a "perfect wife." I still battle feeling like a failure when I don't cool a healthy meal and such, but it's just a pride thing. Hard, but good. Love this!

  3. AllyceR5/31/12, 2:50 PM

    Love this post! Since having the baby, I am doing a lot better at giving up those good things and realizing that being present for my baby, husband and getting as much rest as I can are the important things. I can't always bring a "homemade" dish to a get together or always dust before guests come over--but that's okay! You live a pretty amazing life, Jen and I'm glad you are taking some time to breathe and enjoy it! You don't need to be having panic attacks. ;)

  4. Bronwyn @ Our Beautiful Blessings5/31/12, 3:15 PM

    Oh my....I can identify with you so much! I definitely feel this way so much of the time. I really love your blog and how honest you are!

  5. Nicole {Home for Hire}5/31/12, 4:45 PM

    I can relate to so much of this! Although my house is rarely spotless, I do so often get stuck with trying to do it all--to serve my I-can-do-it-all attitude. I think that giving up perfectness for presentness is a healthy exchange!

  6. Shauna5/31/12, 4:54 PM

    I think you are speaking for alot of us! All we can do is our best ... and thats all. Thats what Im sticking with anyway ;)


  7. Vanessa5/31/12, 7:13 PM

    Anxiety attack was middle name for a while and even went on meds for it. Better than medicine, was establishing a day of rest with the husband. Maybe something like that could be helpful for you as well.

  8. Shasta5/31/12, 7:22 PM

    I relate to this on so many levels. I try to be the perfect "military wife". It is definitely good to just take a deep breath and try not to get too worried about all those little things.

    I don't even worry about planning dinner menus anymore and use Emeals...easy recipes, good food. What could be better than that?

  9. Nicole Buckingham5/31/12, 11:25 PM

    Oh, I am so very glad you are breathing and I hope you can hear and feel a thousand breaths surrounding you as I'm sure we all exhaled just the very moment you did. Aren't we just so very hard on ourselves sometimes and what if others only loved and forgave us as much as we were willing to do for ourselves--ouch. Thank you for this post, for sharing your heart.

    I'm following ya from the wiegand's and look forward to breathing along with ya. If you're up for a ride that's silly and messy and probably not a whole lot else, but I'll let ya be the judge... I'm at

    Come as You are.

  10. bridechilla6/1/12, 1:51 PM

    I HEAR YOU! I just started a My Journey to 30 posting

    { }

    that is just about this...getting it together in life. I think it boils down to making a list {as I have} about top priorities and letting the rest slide where needed! Good luck lady! I'm following you bc I heart your blog and reside in the AZ as well! :)

  11. Lucy6/1/12, 2:38 PM

    There are no words to describe how badly I needed to hear this! Thank you for your inspirational transparency :)

  12. Brooke6/1/12, 3:37 PM

    I really appreciate all of the ladies doing these posts. It's nice to hear that other people can't do it all too! (and that we're strong enough to admit to that). Keep up the great work :)

  13. D6/2/12, 10:11 AM

    I really enjoyed reading this post. There is so much of it that I can totally relate to. I craft a bit, but not things like furniture. Thanks for sharing, following from hellocotton.

  14. Never Too Broke For Beauty6/2/12, 12:02 PM

    This is such a great post. I think a lot of women feel like this. I feel like I'm constantly on the go and eventually something will have to give but I'm not really sure what! Hopefully it won't be my sanity!

  15. clonesnclowns6/2/12, 2:43 PM

    Great post :-) Loved reading it, very touching. Keep up the ungood ! xx

  16. Doris Russell6/2/12, 3:36 PM

    Thank you. I just told myself I'm trying to do too much in one day. However I learned a longtime ago to slow down, be lazy if I have to be and remember what does perfect mean. it's not always keeping busy.

    I am a follower of you since reading this article.

  17. Sarah6/2/12, 6:31 PM

    I sincerely relate to you. I am an overachiever to the core, and I very rarely give myself the permission to be anything but that. It's all on me and no one else. This is a great post and I think we should all sit back and smell the roses some - life is too short!

  18. Brittany6/2/12, 8:05 PM

    Right there with you!

  19. christina6/5/12, 8:25 PM

    This is seriously a great post!

  20. Aleyta6/16/12, 5:59 AM

    I see a lot of myself in your words. I'd love to come help you fold your laundry! :)

  21. Jordy Liz6/28/12, 12:11 PM

    I loved this post when I first read it! Thanks for linking it up. :)

  22. Bethany6/28/12, 1:27 PM

    This post was such an encouragement to me! And I say this lovingly, but I laughed when I read that you shoved three loads back in the dryer. I'm glad I'm not the only one :)

    Thank you for linking up at our Finding the Balance blog hop!

    Blessings on your day!

    ♥ Bethany

Add comment
Load more...

Please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you!