Earlier this week, I became unhinged. Some might call it going off the rails. Others may refer to it as coming undone. For me, the imagined view of a door seemingly giving in to the pressures of being slung open, slammed, reopened, and misused is fitting. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last time that I have allowed the hinges to loosen, disconnect, and wreak havoc on a perfectly good door. The positive spin is that I recognized my hinge issue much quicker this time around than in other recent over-achieving spectacles. That’s progress. It may be pitiful progress, but progress, nonetheless. It could have taken me weeks to recognize my shortcoming. Same day identification is a real win for me.
I should start by acknowledging with full commitment that I, Farrell D’Lynn Boone, over-achieve. I rarely do anything in its easiest form or in its most basic state. I am driven by the need and desire to make barren things beautiful, non-functional things creatively function, and sub-par areas sensational. It is a standard page from my playbook to go the extra mile or add that special touch to most everything I do in my life. I like to think of myself as the highlight stroke you add to a painting or the surprise guacamole given to your table because it was an extra. Things were lovely before, but now…..now there is dimension and dip.
The issue with my tendency to overachieve is that it can and does send me spiraling into a semi-maniacal state of mind that consumes me. A few days ago, I bought a $6 bulletin board. I needed it for no other reason than to tack up flyers, special memos, birthday reminders, and so forth. I found the size of the board I needed. The only problem was that it had a black frame. I wanted white. White goes better with my décor. White is bright and happy. White will make a statement. And so, the jostling of the door began. There is nothing wrong with wanting things a certain way or tackling a project that needs care and attention. Attention to detail is not the enemy. Details that become obsessive in their implementation are where the hazards lurk.
I found myself searching for tape to guard the outer edges of the cork on my bulletin board. I bought spray paint to cover the plastic black frame of said board. Let’s not even begin on how long it took me to wrestle with whether I wanted blossom white matte, ultra-white gloss, or farmhouse shimmer. I painted the board. I didn’t like the results. I paced my backyard. I grappled with wasting $6 on a board I won’t use. It did not look awful. But, it did not look great. At this point, if I chose to hang it, all I would see was my failure. I could not achieve the outcome I envisioned. And so began the weakening of the hinges. I dare to say that if a bulletin board is synonymous with failure, then there are deeper issues at hand. So, I asked myself the uncomfortable questions. Why did I need it to look a certain way? Why was my mind racing? Why do I already feel as though I won’t sleep well tonight because of this stupid bulletin board, which, by the way, is now at the bottom of my trash can? Why I am I fretting? I found myself disconnected momentarily from the real world. I felt tense, stressed, and miles away from my living room, where my daughter sat playing.
I snapped out of it and muttered the words, “Get yourself on balance, Farrell.” It was like I slapped myself in the face. I could feel the door falling and I needed tools fast. There was a welcomed quick shift in my ability to be reasonable.
Sometimes a need (or project) can be met with uncomplicated actions and solutions. Sometimes a focused, straightforward response takes care of a situation. Sometimes insecurity, comparison, and the cloak of self-doubt disguise themselves as over-achievement. It occurred to me that I was putting pressure on myself to be an unreasonable representation of who I am. I was misconstruing being organized and creative with becoming tilted by unnecessary obsession.
There are days where I feel like I can conquer whatever is thrown my way, where my skill set is flying high for all to see. Then there are days where a bulletin board brings me to my knees. I am not proud of it, but I do find that owning this self-revelation at the very least firms up my step and draws me closer to seeking out the why behind the reaction.
I had to once again be reminded that I am to hold myself to a solid standard of grace. I came across a canvas with a quote painted on it this week. It was incredibly poignant and pointing (right at me). It stated, “Making mistakes is better than faking perfection.”
Because life is just one big mirror fun house, I had to shift my head and squint my eyes to realize in my unhinged glory, the mistake was not buying a bulletin board with a black border and trying to make it white. The mistake was not my lackluster attempt to improve its look. The mistake was trying to restructure and repurpose something that needed no face lift. It was fine as it was. It was functional. It did not need to represent perfection. I do not need to be perfect. If I can do something transformative without falling prey to the loosening of the hinges that hold my door steady, then I should carry on to completion. If a project becomes tunnel minded and I lose sight of the bigger picture, it’s time to dial it in, not succumbing to the pull of flawlessness.
Personalities such as mine need strong, titanium hinges. I must never forget to pray daily for discernment, balance of thought, and sincere drive. The Holy Spirit must be invited to hold my hand through the compulsive waters as I wade into anxiety and worry. I wrote down a few phrases after my door fell. I am enough. I do not need to feel less than. I am more because I am the me He created. It’s ok to take a deep breath. I have enough. I have gifts to share. I have value. There is joy in my journey. A moment of prayer holds up the door. God’s hand repairs the hinges. I must be a willing and cooperative vessel. Balance is essential.
Philippians 4:8-9 from The Message (MSG) reads, “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”
In the days to follow, it is my goal to do as scripture implores me….to fill my mind with authentic, compelling, and gracious things so that I can find myself well put together, hinges and all.