I'm A Quitter - Seeds of Unrealistic Expectations and Comparison
Confession time, I am a quitter. I would much rather quit than face failure. The list of things I’ve quit, or tried to, feels longer than my successes, but that is a lie Satan likes to uses against me. Sometime it’s as small as starting an organize-all-the-things project and leaving it a mess in utter frustation or as big a constant carousel of career paths leaving me confused and unfulfilled. In places where Satan tried to hide my hope I wanted to quit it all.
The weight of being a perfectionist is heavy yoke that we were never intended to bear. It is crafted with lies. Lies that say:
- your efforts are in vain
- success is the only way to victory
- your value is only worth as much as your wins
- you aren’t enough
As a mom a lot of this perfectionism is rooted in two seeds. The first is a seed of unrealistic expectations. I am setting my gps for a destination of failure when the original starting point is an expectation not created from God. As I let perfectionism grow in my heart I go to great lengths to protect my expectations. My fantasy filled Facebook life draws me further from the holy realty that is an abundant failure filled life, redeemed by mercy and grace alone. We don’t want that distance to becomes so great that hope becomes a light too dim to see. Lysa Teurkyst said, “What if the death of what we thought should be is actually the birth of something new?” That gives me a greater hope than striving for perfect. The hope of a new reality. A reality handpicked by God. The same God who created the canvas of an exquisite sunset is painting our lives, each brushstroke an intentional mark on who we are meant to be.
The second seed of perfectionism is the battle of comparison. Viewing others from the lens of the life we think we deserve is the ugly part of comparison. It opens the door for greed, jealousy, envy and an inability to love others in the way that Jesus did. We are called to cheer others to victory, not silently celebrate their failures. I know I am guilty of this. When I keep playing that game, the comparison game, I look for things I can be critical of the illusive perfect mom for. Scrolling through their Instagram feed I secretly search for them to slip up, as vain effort to build my flaw-filed life life up. Repeat after me, there is there is no such thing as the perfect mom, the perfect wife, the perfect friend, the perfect daughter, or the perfect person! I know there is a big difference between intellectually knowing that no one has it all together and emotionally accepting it. As we work towards that goal, of embracing our lives, even the piles of dishes, the loads of laundry, the bills, the messes, the tantrums, the mommy breakdowns, then we can release the idea of perfect. Trust me friends, it is hard work. God knows it is. In Hebrews 12:12 it says, “so take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees.” But through grace he meets us on our knees and pulls us up.
When we live life in this holy reality we have freedom. The chains of a fear of failure are broken. Bondage to the life of expectations is gone. Being a prisoner to comparison is gone. Feeling trapped by the exhaustive fantasy life is gone.
That type of freedom gives us rest. It gives us a heart positioned towards gratitude and away from feeling left out of a life that we were never supposed to live in the first place. We can cling to a genuine life where failure is a teacher, not a roadblock to our life.