Quite frankly, I don’t know how to start. Cleverly, yes, that’s what I wanted to aim for, but I just don’t want to miss the authenticity of this moment by masking it in a witty line…you see, this weakness I feel I must finally show.
I’m addicted. Yes, you read that right. I am a slave to perfection and to the desire for approval, bowing down to its every command and obeying each & every one of its whims. When I don’t do as well as I’d like on an exam, I want to cry. When my room is a mess I can’t focus. When I feel someone doesn’t like me, I want to win their approval. When my to-do list gets longer instead of shorter, I want to pull my hair out. When I don’t respond to a situation how I think others want me to, I feel like dying inside. The list could go on.
I’ve been stuck here for a long time. The approval of those around me–and those that don’t even know me–haunts me. It’s like this never-ending, unforgiving cycle that throws you into a brick wall repeatedly–and won’t end. The presence of what others are thinking in the fore-front of my mind is like a constant battle, trying to push me off track…away from who I am…who I want to be…who I was created to be.
Perfection aims to strip me of the confidence that God has empowered me with. He has equipped me with strength, dignity, and talent; yet it is so easy for me to take my eyes off of the one who created me and fill my mind with the world around me. What does she think? What did that Tweet mean? Was that Facebook post insinuating something? Why didn’t he text me back? All of these questions are so meaningless & so pointless, yet I ask them. Why? I am an addict to being the “perfect” girl who everyone likes and looks like she has everything all together. When in reality, that just isn’t true and never will be.
So, I must come to grips with–and truly embrace–reality. Before writing this, my heart began beating strangely fast, like I knew the truth that was about to seep out of my fingertips and onto my keyboard was about to charge me with a call to action…a call to change. Yes, I could write about this addiction to perfection and the approval of others. That might help get my convictions off my chest, but just writing about my problem won’t change it. I have to write for a change. I have to move. I can’t stay stationary, stuck voluntarily any longer. These addictions I have brought upon myself and only I can choose to break free. No one has put pressure on me to get the perfect grade, look a certain way, have a certain IQ, or be a part of a certain group of friends. I have put those pressures upon myself. And when I step back and take a 30,000-foot view of my life, even if someone else was putting that pressure on me, only I can choose to actually feel it and let it in.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt
So many times I have fallen into the trap of allowing others to control me….control how I feel, how my day goes, what I wear, what I think….and I’m done with that game. I am done with that mentality. It’s so limiting and belittling. And that whole mindset goes against my relationship with Christ. If I’m choosing to follow others, I can’t be following God at the same time…I’ve simply chosen to be a fan.
The defining question in my life is am I a fan or a follower of Jesus?
I’m learning that following Jesus only has one option: ALL or NOTHING. I can’t be a slave to perfection and approval and still have room for Jesus. It just doesn’t fit. At that point, I’m merely a fan, saying “God, please me.” Instead of “God, I want to please you.”
Here I am, at a fork in the road. I must make a decision–a defining decision. I’m choosing to throw perfection and approval out the window and take the road that is rugged, counter-cultural, doesn’t make sense, isn’t convenient, and requires extreme commitment. I’m choosing to live by faith and be a follower of Jesus. I am not a fan. My prayer is that in every point along this tattered journey I may say & believe with all that is in me, “God is good & He can be trusted.” Awake my soul, awake.
Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? If any of you is embarrassed with me and the way I’m leading you, know that the Son of Man will be far more embarrassed with you when he arrives in all his splendor in company with the Father and the holy angels. This isn’t, you realize, pie in the sky by and by. Some who have taken their stand right here are going to see it happen, see with their own eyes the kingdom of God. – Luke 9:23-27, The Message