What a Disastrous Thanksgiving Morning Taught Me

BY: NIKKI MICHELLE CHARNSTROM

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So, here we are, it’s Thanksgiving Day. I’ve been up since 3:30 a.m. Well, I should have been up and out of bed at 2:00 — but, thanks to my blessed iPhone things didn’t quite work out that way. Instead, I was startled by vibrations and my boyfriend’s name on the screen. Hmmm… OH MY WORD! I quickly rose from the bed, probably looking like a total barbarian, and threw my blankets against the wall before scurrying to let him in through the front door. Between deep breaths and “I’m sorry babes” we were leaving the house 20 minutes later. 

Girl, if you think that’s where the madness ends, I so wish I could say you’re right. Getting to the airport on the morning of Thanksgiving, for a flight that leaves at the awful time of 6:15 a.m. was supposed to be far more graceful and organized. But, I probably shouldn’t walk you through every little detail. Rather, let me just do my best to summarize it for you.

Left the house? Great! Way to pull yourself together! Oh, wait… I forgot my medication. Time to turn around. Get through security? Yes, and it only took 10 minutes. Score! I think I’ll get myself a coffee. Um, where’s my ID? Tear the backpack apart, run to the security checkpoint, ask them if they’ve seen a lost ID. Total panic and only 10 minutes left until boarding. Better go through my backpack again, but it probably won’t be there. Oh, you’ve got to be joking… FOUND IT! Time to get on the plane… minutes to spare even! Window seat? Check! Oh gosh, what’s that smell? Body odor can be terribly relentless. Thank goodness for my sweater because I’m going to have to shield my nose for the next two hours. Wow. Things really couldn’t get much worse…

Friends, this is no joke — I was IN TEARS sitting in my window seat thinking to myself just how bad things had gone. To top it off, I could hardly take a solid, life-giving breath without my stomach quivering from that awful odor. I felt low. LOW. I was trying to figure out for the life of me why God was testing me on a holiday that should be filled with gratitude and smiles. I’ll tell you right now, I was in NO way thankful for anything other than my fuzzy sweater and the adorable, sleeping man next to me. Thank God for him. 

Now that I’m removed from this terrible start to my day and now that it’s only a memory, I can see how it actually added value to my life. You see, those “get me out of here and let me go back to bed” moments are now a reminder to appreciate the comfortable and stress-free. Now that we’re on our second flight, finally heading straight to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, rid of odd smells and nausea, I find a greater gratitude for the menial things. I pray to Jesus nothing else tries to steal my peace today — and if it does, well perhaps I need to remember even the worst moments don’t last forever. 

So, what does all of this mean? I’ve realized at the root of my frustration was this irritation toward imperfection. The plans we set and the hopes we held onto were nowhere near the events that actually transpired. When situations, things or people don’t meet our expectations, we tend to become flustered. Why? Because it’s not perfect. All the hoopla about “beauty in imperfection” merely vanishes and all we’re left with is this overwhelming feeling we’ve done something wrong — or, if we’re feeling extra dramatic, perhaps the world is just out to get us. 

I like to think I handle unexpected situations well — but ladies, this was NOT my finest hour. I was downright a (not so) hot mess. My inner-dialogue went off like a rocket as I began calling myself names I don’t think I’ve used in a long time. I kept saying, “What’s wrong with me?” and inside I was very disappointed with myself. And, for what? So I could wake up an hour earlier to put on makeup? Boo-hoo I’m not looking my best. I was being far too hard on myself and Alex was good to remind me of that — but I simply wouldn’t listen. 

Wherever you are right now, perhaps feeling like a bit of a hot mess yourself, let me remind you imperfections are just the way of life. We can never achieve perfection on earth, nor were we ever designed to. If you are one who desires and strives for perfection (and I’ll be the first to fess up) please know and remember we are ALL flawed. Rather than striving for perfection, what if we actually tried for something tangible instead? You and I can certainly be successful at something we’re great at — we can’t be successful at perfection. Let me say that again… you can NEVER been good at perfection. It’s time we take that pressure off, ladies.

Just as I need to show myself grace when my hair is sticking up from all sides because of a messy morning, you need to show yourself grace too. 

Do I look like I got ready in 20 minutes today? Yeah, probably but that’s alright. I’m here, I’m still breathing and life is moving forward — with or without my idea of a perfect morning. So, I’m going to lift my chin up, shut down EVERY negative and degrading thought, and see the beauty and goodness in the world. 

I hope you can do the same and, if not, let me send you a grace-filled hug and a heartfelt message of encouragement that reads, “You’re doing just fine, girlfriend.”

Nikki is the owner and founder of Crowned Chics. She lives in the warm desert of Phoenix, Arizona with her beloved family. If she's not ferociously clanking away on her typewriter, she's behind the camera capturing moments for her business Charnstrom Captures Photography.