Sometimes things don’t fit.

Like shoes. Or Tupperware lids.

Or the things I pack in my suitcase that make me have to unzip that zipper that expands the suitcase an extra inch so it will actually close.

Sometimes things do fit.

Like pajama bottoms. Or one more taco.

Or a good book in front of a roaring fire when it’s cool or in the lazy breeze when it’s warm.

Some things don’t fit.

Like schools. Or jobs.

And sometimes even relationships.

But the things that don’t fit teach us about what does.

Areas of interest that need to remain an avocation versus a vocation.

Seasons of discomfort when we develop our discernment muscles.

Trials that build and test our character and faith, pushing us to fulfill our potential.

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Nobody really wants the things that don’t fit, the things that squeeze us too tightly in all the wrong places or the things that overwhelm us and make everything look extra saggy.

But the thing about things that don’t fit is that usually, we can adjust accordingly until we find something that does fit.

Shoes a half size up.

A mismatched Tupperware lid that gets the job done.

A bigger suitcase or less baggage for the journey.

Adjusted expectations.

A renewed attitude.

An acknowledgment that things might not be perfect, but a work in process, a snapshot in time, a discreet point on an indefinite timeline.

Here’s the thing: It’s usually OK when things don’t fit.

Of course, it FEELS better when things do fit, but generally (excepting scenarios of harm) the things that don’t fit are temporary and aren’t at all a reflection of our worth.

We shift.

We contract in our uncertainty and fear and expand in our confidence and growth.

We learn what fits and what doesn’t, and we figure out what’s worth resizing.

The shoes? Who cares.

The Tupperware lids? Let them go.

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The schools and jobs and relationships and other weighty things?

Develop your discernment muscles. Contract and expand.

Be deliberate about renewing, readjusting, and resizing.

Because a big part of figuring out what important things have to fit just right is navigating through all the distractions that, most of the time, don’t really have to fit at all.

Friends, spend your precious time and energy on the things that need to fit really well.

What I mean is I hope no one can ever find matching Tupperware tops in your kitchen because you’re too busy eating tacos in your pajamas, having unpacked all your extra baggage with all the people you can fit around your table.

Originally published on the author’s Facebook page

Whitney Westbrook

Whitney Westbrook writes about navigating midlife, mostly with grace. Because midlife is relentless and irreverent, and because we should all talk about it out loud more. Follow her for more misadventures and insights on all things midlife at So Very Whitney