Blog | Lindsey Smallwood


How to Eat an Elephant

Lindsey Smallwood

Are your best intentions keeping you from living your best life? Lately I've been wondering if that's what's happening to me. I'm over at Middle Places today with more thoughts on making the next right choice.

If you came over to my house today, you’d notice that the slipcover on my couch isn’t as “Sure-Fit” as it should be, there are crumbs on the floor that have been there for days, and nearly every discernable smooth surface has tiny fingerprints.

Nothing is quite right and I am FINE with that because I’m only a perfectionist in my head.

In my head where I decide that since I can’t lose 40 pounds by Christmas, I might as well have 4 Oreos when my boys nap.

In my head where I justify staying up to watch yet another episode of a show I don’t really care about since I’ve already missed my bedtime.

In my head where it seems like sound logic to choose another afternoon sitting on a park bench watching my kids play instead of strapping them in the jogging stroller which I’ve never actually used for jogging because the best time to jog is first thing in the morning but I can’t seem to get up early enough to make that happen.

You see where I’m going with this. 

Somewhere along the way I’ve let myself off the hook by allowing the lie that if I can’t do something the BEST way it means that I don’t have to do it all. And while not being a perfectionist is probably a good thing when it comes to letting little messes slide, my high standards are keeping me from making choices that help me lead a healthy meaningful life.

There’s a proverb about this very idea:

The point is that when tackling a big project like changing your eating habits or maintaining a spiritual life, it’s not possible to do it all at once. You have to do what you can, plugging away at your goal little by little.

My tendencies to plan and predict and think about what comes next sometimes sabotage me. When I’ve already decided that I’m probably going to eat a donut at my mom’s group tomorrow, what’s the point of staying on my eating plan today? And then once I’ve eaten the donut, that day’s calorie count is shot so what will a few french fries with dinner matter? And on and on and on it goes.

But I’m realizing that if I’m serious about wanting time to pray or experiencing the health benefits of exercise it’s only going to happen one good choice at a time. It’s good to set goals, to have dreams, to begin with the end in mind. But sometimes focusing on the big picture can keep you from taking the next right step.

So I’m stopping to pray in the five minutes I unexpectedly find when we arrive early to play group and I’m leaving the cookies in the jar, even though I had a cinnamon scone for breakfast. I’m looking for opportunities to make little decisions in the right direction. I’ve got to start somewhere.

Heck, I might even adjust the slipcover.

Not the Detox I Was Looking For {Susanna Foth Aughtmon}

Lindsey Smallwood

You guys - Lindsey here. I am so honored to have a guest post today from my friend Sue. She and her husband were my pastors when I first moved to California and they walked with me through the joys and challenges of being single in my twenties. (I previously wrote an ode to Sue and her scones - you've got to try them.)

Since I've met her, Sue decided to pursue her dream of writing and has published 6 books! (My favorite is My Bangs Look Good and Other Lies I Tell Myself. I know. The book is as funny as the title.) Sue's living her dream while raising three boys in Silicon Valley. I'm so thrilled that she's written this piece for us today - it made me giggle and think, two of my favorite things to do.

A few weeks ago, I decided to do a 10 day detox.

You know…one of those ones where you give up dairy, caffeine, sugar and flour.

Basically, all the things that make life beautiful and worth living.

The idea was to spend those 10 days nurturing myself, concentrating on getting healthy: taking morning walks, limiting social media, ending each day with soak in lavender Epsom salts and reconnecting with Jesus through my devotional time.

I had a vision of coming out of the detox a few pounds lighter, more focused and you know, holier.

Let me tell you how my detox went.

I spent the first two days in fetal position trying to sleep off hideous caffeine headaches.

This was followed by a single morning walk which ratcheted up my hip muscles like a tightly wound jack-in-the-box just waiting to jump out with a big “Surprise!”

The big surprise was that after one lavender Epsom salts detoxifying bath, my entire back decided to seize up on me.

Because tall girls shouldn’t take baths.

There is no possible way to get all of your long body and legs into a small bathtub.

So I went from soaking to icing.

And taking Advil and muscle relaxants. Could anything be more toxic?

The back thing has happened 3 times in the last 4 years.  And each time I think,

“Sweet Jesus! Not again.”

I dread the fogginess of the drugs, the painful physical therapy and slow geriatric recovery that follows.

But …deep breath….I am learning to see the silver lining in my imminent couch time.

You should know that I always get a good cry in first before I consider any silver linings.

I have to recognize one more time that I am not in control. But Jesus is.

That I am needy and worn down and wanting. But He is not.

And that Jesus can meet me just as easily mid-back pain as he can mid-detox.

I have felt His presence in the kindness of my husband as unloads the washing machine. (True love in action!)

In the prayers of my friends. In the faces of my boys when they ask, “Mom, are you okay?”

And in the moments of quiet when the boys are at school the reconnecting part is happening.

Maybe it takes a good hip spasm for me to get quiet before him.

And He has brought this verse to mind,

“He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul.”

The lying down part? Done.

The leading me beside still waters? In the works.

So….one more deep breath….and let the restoration begin. 

Author & speaker Susanna Foth Aughtmon is a pastor's wife and mother of three boys. She assists her husband, Scott, in various ministries at their church plant, Pathway Church, in Redwood City, California. For fun, she likes to eat chocolate, read lots of fiction and drink coffee with her girlfriends. Find her on Facebook or check out her hilarious blog The Tired Supergirl.

Lindsey again - didn't I tell you that you would giggle and think? Leave Sue some love in the comments for her to read on the couch and then go read her blog - you can't not be encouraged.