I realize that by saying in a blog that something is private automatically makes it public. But even if I were to be only vague in description of my internal struggles and battles, which really isn’t my style, I still would be airing some things that have been, to this point, strictly private and internal.
I’m feeling led to tell my story, both the past and my present struggles, as little has changed in the type of struggle. Perhaps just the intensity of the struggle itself, and the maturity through which I see my life, have changed.
Let me begin with this: it took me, sadly, too long to realize the ways in which Satan tries to gain a foothold in me. He doesn’t keep trying tactics and eventually give up if a few don’t work. He knows my weaknesses. He has figured out how to get just the tiniest toe hold, and keeps kicking at it, little by little, until suddenly, he has shoved his entire foot into my back, and I never feel a thing until it’s too late.
For pretty much as long as I can remember, I have struggled with significance. My entire being shakes sometimes with anticipation of doing or being something great-not necessarily fame, but legacy I guess- just to decide that I’m incapable of doing much of anything, let alone something of great value and significance. I know this is a lie straight from Satan. That in itself should give me motivation, just to conquer him again and again. But it’s the part of me that I struggle with so deeply, this thought process has become ingrained. I don’t want to start something that I can’t finish or follow-through. If I do begin something, and then don’t finish it, the guilt is so thick, I could suffocate. I try so hard to do things with perfection, and I find that I have done very little, honestly, because I’m believing that everything I do has to be perfect or it’s not worth doing.
This quest for significance leads me, often, to question the value I am to others, especially those closest to me. I’m realizing that my inability to love myself before I’m perfect causes me to question how anyone else could love me before I’m perfect.
To say that I believe God loves me this way is truth. However, I then start to justify it “He’s supposed to. He’s God.” I dont have trouble believing He loves me unconditionally. That I know and am assured of. However, I have trouble not holding myself to a standard of loving me despite being imperfect. And because I hold myself to this standard, I have a hard time believing that any human, as flawed as I am, could possibly love me despite being imperfect.
My expectations of myself cause me to obsess about making sure that everything around me is as close to perfect as possible. When things seem perfect to me, I finally feel like I’m achieving something of significance and worth. This mindset goes for everything from my house being clean to my kids having awesome clothes and birthday parties to wanting my kids to act like mini-adults instead of kids with their own personalities.
I pray constantly that my critical nature of myself does not rub off on my kids, but I find myself being especially short and critical with them when I’m feeling less in control or when I realize I’m not measuring up to the impossible standard I’ve set for myself. As if it is somehow their problem or issue.
And then there’s my incredibly gracious and forgiving husband. I find myself doubting his love for and faithfulness to me when I’ve been especially critical, sarcastic, or hard on myself. I find when I’m struggling hardest with significance, like when I didn’t get a better position at work or when my kids act in ways that are frustrating or embarrassing, I begin to fear that I will be rejected. It’s so crazy that I feel this way, and Satan knows it is the one way he can try to break me, and in turn, cause riffs in my family.
At times, instead of fighting this constant battle raging in my mind, I want to give in, because it’s easier than facing the battle. There have been many times in my life that it’s all I can do to crawl because I’m too wounded and battle-weary to stand up, let alone fight.
Often, instead of measuring myself against how the God of the universe sees me, I’m stretching on my tiptoes to reach that impossible place where I think significance hangs. If I could just accept that I’ll never be perfect this side of heaven, I’ll never have to face that pole vault bar again. My worth would lie in Christ alone, who came to Earth in an imperfect body. Who hung around very imperfect people. Who taught people to see the worth not only in others, but in themselves. That’s the standard I need to hold myself to: it’s achievable, and in it, I am free to be who God created me to be, a work in progress, an imperfect person being made perfect. A heart redeemed.