I’d been working all morning on the schedule for my One Word of the year practices. With RELEASE as my word, I’m breaking down each month into a separate thing I can release. It will be a spiritual discipline for me.
For January, I want to release the need to explain myself, the need to justify my decisions.
I finish my schedule, close my laptop, and walk into the kitchen.
My husband Jeff is unloading the dishwasher. I’d noticed in the past that he often puts the measuring cups back in the drawer in a way that seems too willy-nilly for me. He is doing it again now.
Since he will be retiring soon, and likely unloading the dishwasher more often, shouldn’t I kindly suggest the better way (i.e., my way) to stack the measuring cups?
I launch into my perfectly logical explanation.
I tell him I stack them this way because I’ll know where the 1 cup is at a glance versus the 1/2 cup, and because . . . on and on and on.
My explanation is annoying, even to myself.
When Jeff gently pushes back about it—”Why does this even matter?”—I remind him that for every one thing I suggest, there are 100 more things I haven’t mentioned yet.
This does not go over well.
My First Release
Jeff asks, “Do you even want me to retire?”
“Of course I do,” I reply.
It’s just that I’m used to doing things my own way for years and years. It will be a big change to have him in the house every day. I’m trying to prepare him, trying to prepare me because . . . on and on and on.
And then I remember my word: Release.
Is my first act of release this year going to be a simple yellow measuring cup?
No Need to Explain
Releasing my need to explain isn’t just to spare me some extra words.
- It’s to uncover why I want to justify my thinking about everything in the first place.
- It’s to question my attempt to use words to convince other people to do things my way.
- It’s to let go of controlling what happens if it really doesn’t even matter.
I hate to be misunderstood. Wanting others to understand me is a strong desire.
But sometimes I don’t get that opportunity. I have to let it go. Even when I get the opportunity to explain, there’s still no guarantee I’ll be understood. I’ve proven that again and again.
And it’s okay to not be fully understood. I know. God knows.
While that may not always feel like enough, when I want all my people to also understand, sometimes God and I are all I will get. (Actually, only God understands; I don’t even fully understand myself.)
I want to better accept that, even though it’s hard.
I can feel what I feel without having to rationalize it. I can think my own thoughts AND keep those thoughts to myself. I am loved as I am. Even when I’m not understood.
Silence can be a practice in humility.
And there is freedom in not having to be fully known.
Letting It Go
I finally stop my measuring cups explanation to Jeff. It’s not worth it.
Granted, some things in the future will be worth explaining. And I will rightly need to explain those things. Maybe with a lot of words. Maybe even more than once.
But stacking the measuring cups isn’t one of those things.
I’ll probably not mention the measuring cups again.
Even if they are stacked differently.
Do you feel the need to explain yourself too much, too? Share in the comments.
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