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  • Writer's pictureDarrell Stetler II

What to Do When Life Punches Your Goals in the Nose

My morning routine, which I wrote about recently, was going so well.  Life was starting to hum along again, after the birth of our sixth child.  He was sleeping through the night, I was able to get some sleep & get up and rock my to-do list before dawn.

Then, the baby got a cold.  And started waking up every night.  Twice.  And my 4th child spent the night throwing up. And… you get the picture.

My morning routine for the last week (plus!) has been completely nuked.  I’m sleeping later than I want to.  I shut my alarm off and almost missed an appointment this week.  I’ve accomplished less than half of what I want to on an average morning.

Not cool.

Holding high ideals while still allowing yourself permission to fail is not an easy thing.  Some people have a hard time doing both, so they get rid of ideals.  Or they get a case of perfectionism and make everyone around them miserable.  I’ve done some of both.

I spent years beating myself up for not being better about this or that.

But I’ve adjusted my attitude.  Here are the three things I tell myself.  Hope it’s an encouragement to you, if you’re in a tough season:

1. I’ll get back on it.

Don’t give up on your values & high ideals just because life ran over them with a dump truck.

The day will come when things are different.  My new son will not always be four months old.  I will sleep through the night again.  I know this to be true, so I can be OK.

2. My productivity isn’t equal to my value.

As long as I am convinced that I have to be producing to be worth something, I’ll fight feelings of inferiority, frustration, and fear.  You will too.

Always remember this: You are a human being, not a human doing.

Always remember this: You are a human being, not a human doing.

One reason God gifted man with a Sabbath rest day is because he wished to make sure he knew that productivity was not the measure of his value.  

3. I can be happy anyway.

My wife composed a Facebook post the other night just before bed:

“When you reach the end of the smooth shiny highway called, ‘Everything Must be Perfect,’ look closely, and you’ll see a daisy-lined path called ‘Happy Anyway.'”


She has become an absolute ninja at allowing life to not be perfect, and still be happy.  It’s been a huge blessing to our home and our relationship.  I’ve gotten better at it, too.

Maybe you need to speak these three things to yourself several times per day this week, and see what happens.

For now, I’d like to hear from you in the comments below, or on my Facebook: What goals do you need to recommit to, while still giving yourself permission to not be perfect?

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