Monday, September 3, 2012

Sweat Mrs. Turner

“It is God who arms me with strength and

 makes my way perfect” (Psalm 18:32).

My 3rd Grade Teacher, Mrs. Turner--Lincoln School

According to me, and my entire third grade class, my third grade teacher, Mrs. Turner, was so sweat.  No, that is not a typo and we were not referring to her having a lot of perspiration.  Allow me to explain…Mrs. Turner was one of the kindest, most encouraging teachers.  Everyone respected her and really loved her.  She would always put stickers on our papers and write things like “Great Job!” and “Way to go!”  Plus, she would give us handwritten notes to take home to our parents.  It was very clear to all of us how much she enjoyed teaching our class and how much she loved and cared for us in return.  In the mornings before school started as well as in the afternoons after recess, we would write nice things all over the chalkboard to show her how much we appreciated her.  She was always so excited to read everything we wrote.  We would write things like, “Mrs. Turner is so nice.” and “We love you, Mrs. Turner.”  But there was one sentence we wrote over and over and over throughout the year and that was, “Mrs. Turner is so sweat.”  Now, I’m sure you realize that we all meant to tell her that she was “sweet” not “sweat”.  She never corrected us.  I remember the day in our spelling book that “sweet” and “sweat” were two of our ten words that we needed to learn to spell.  It was that day that our entire class realized that we were telling Mrs. Turner that she was “sweat” instead of “sweet.”  See?  That’s how sweet she was!  She knew exactly what we meant and didn’t want to hurt our feelings by correcting us.  She stepped out of “teacher mode” and just enjoyed that her entire class thought she was wonderful and so “sweat”! 

~As a former teacher, as a mom, oh and even as a wife, I have spent a lot of time correcting.  I can honestly say that if my entire class was writing, “Mrs. Leeb is so sweat.” all over the board, I don’t know if I could have or would have let that spelling error go.  No, I know I wouldn’t have let that spelling error go.  That would have driven me crazy! I’m pretty sure that I would have taken a quick minute to thank them for the sentiment and then taught them the difference between “sweet” and “sweat” the first time that they wrote it incorrectly.  I admit that I do have some perfectionist tendencies, and it’s definitely something that God has brought to my attention. 
The worst part about being a perfectionist is not just the unrealistic expectations that I put upon myself, but when I project those expectations onto other people, especially my family.  Since God has shown me this flaw, I get so irritated with myself when I can’t just enjoy a moment without nitpicking every little detail.  I need to learn to let some things go, and just appreciate the effort.  It doesn’t matter if the pillows aren’t arranged on the bed just right.  What matters is that my husband made the bed!  It doesn’t matter that when he puts the bathroom trash can back, he puts it in the wrong spot every time!  What matters is that he took out the trash!  I think you get my point.  Or maybe you’re thinking…dude…this lady needs to relax.  As I said, I am aware, and I am working on it. 
I am not perfect.  You are not perfect.  God and His ways are perfect and that's all that we can strive to be.  Through God's grace, He loves us so much that He accepts us...flaws and all.  Why can't we do the same for ourselves and for others?  Can you even imagine what our lives would be like if God nitpicked us for every little thing we didn't do right?  Oh my goodness, He would be so busy with me that He wouldn't even have time for anyone else!
Nitpicking comes so easy to perfectionists, but it’s also a very slippery slope.  Nitpicking can lead to ungratefulness, and I don't want to live with an ungrateful heart.  I want to live each day with a grateful heart and to let those little insignificant things go!  Do you need to do the same?  This week, I pray that you will also vow to be more grateful and less of a perfectionist.  I pray that you will spend more time focusing on the sentiment or the intent of someone, like Mrs. Turner did, instead of focusing on the one little teeny tiny thing they didn’t do right according to you.  I pray that you will find the joy in being “sweat”.  You can always be “sweet” another day.

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