Giving Ourselves Permission

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity. Ephesians 5:15-16

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Shortly before Thanksgiving, my double oven died. Turns out the control panel needs to be replaced. With the digital chip shortage, it could be a while before the part becomes available.

Initially, I defaulted to the “woe is me” response. The oven isn’t our only appliance that’s gone on the fritz in the past six months. We recently replaced the dishwasher. And the repair guy for the refrigerator has been here so often, I fed him dinner last week!

It’s not surprising though. Eighteen years ago, when our home was built, all the appliances were bought new, at the same time. It makes sense, then, that they’re all dying at the same time too. It just gets overwhelming to have it happen all at once. Until I look on the bright side…

I haven’t had to bake in over a month! Right at the time of year when we’re supposed to be baking up a storm for Thanksgiving and Christmas, I got a free pass. No one could think less of me when I showed up at parties with store-bought desserts. What seemed like a curse, at first, quickly turned into a freedom song of “Sorry! My oven’s broken.”

That freedom song continues. I can’t tell you how glorious it’s been to give myself permission to cut corners. The pressure is off, and I have more time for the things that really matter.

It bodes the question: Why don’t we give ourselves permission to cut corners more often? Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to go above and beyond all the time?

I think it’s because we fear judgment, and we put too much value on the wrong things. We don’t want to be perceived as lazy, and we buy into the idea that all the work we do behind-the-scenes is necessary to show people we love them.

The irony is: All the time we spend behind-the-scenes doing for the people we love robs us of the time that could be spent being with the people we love. If we can swing by the store and buy a bakery cake, we free up that baking and decorating time so we can help our kids with their homework. If we can pop a box of pre-made cookies in our cart during our weekly grocery shopping, we won’t have to stress about finding the time to bake some for the classroom party.

Taking short-cuts with kitchen work is only the tip of the iceberg. We need to find short-cuts in the other areas of our lives so we can make even more time and space for what matters most.

So, don’t be surprised if you come to my house two years from now and I still don’t have a functioning oven. It just might be that I told the repair guy to “accidentally” lose the part when it finally comes in.

Questions for Reflection:

  • Do I spend more time doing for the ones I love rather than being with them?
  • Are there short-cuts I can take to make more time and space for the things that matter most?

All the time we spend behind-the-scenes doing for the people we love robs us of the time that could be spent being with the people we love.

2 thoughts on “Giving Ourselves Permission

  1. Hi Claire, Happy New year. I believe things happen for a reason, to teach us something we may or may not know. Not only short cuts gives you time, it also helps your communities! Sometimes I do, I know the fridge might be full and the oven works well, but I do intentionally for the employers to keep their staff, for my city and town to keep active – even may stretch me financially, It is a blessing to others. Thanks, Claire for the post, a good reminder for all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Happy New Year to you too Dariush! You make a great point – things do happen for a reason. And if we can learn from them, they increase in value. Thank you for all the ways you bless your community – in person and online. 🙂


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