Perfection is key. There are so many rules. But I’m too tired to do any of it. Besides, what’s the point? No one cares, no one notices me.
-Is that the point?
I’ve learned that it’s not. But that’s a hard conclusion to come to and usually takes a long time. When that is the point, when that’s my goal, I’ve learned that I fall apart. Walking on eggshells. Thinking; God can’t use you anyway. You’re too broken and crippled.
These thoughts are real. I call it a tape that’s stuck on repeat. Like I was in quick sand and it refused to let go. My personality changed. I grew introverted to the extreme, to the point where the only company I wanted was my dog. On top of that, I’d developed muscle pains that felt like 1 gallon milk jugs were hanging off of every limb of my body. I used this as an excuse, convincing myself it was okay not to go out because my body hurt too bad. Sometimes this was true. But more often it was deeper than that. But people don’t want to hear about my problems anyway. So I’ll just stay here and keep it all to myself.
Growing up in the church; I knew that these thoughts were so, so wrong. I knew I shouldn’t be thinking this way. I’d been thinking these things in bits and pieces since 8th grade. Even though I had a solid group of friends in high school and I felt all right, I still felt a little bit alone when no one was looking. But then I hit college, we all dispersed, and I felt completely alone instead of only partially. I actually had to make an effort to see people. An effort I really wasn’t willing to make. As freshman year came and went my fear of inadequacy grew. Meeting new people has never been my strong suit, I never really had to do it before. So, suddenly, I was self conscious about my outgoing, loud, and quirky personality. Other people weren’t like me. I was used to being kind of the odd ball in high school but college is a much bigger pond. Everyone around me wanted to be engineers, nurses, doctors, and other sciencey majors. I wanted to write books, design fashion, make movies, study history! I was confused with why God would put me here, in a scarves and jeans and riding boots community when I wore heels and dresses with no where to go!
He must have made a mistake. I’m too weird. I’m scared.
Again, these thoughts are wrong. I know that. And that made my situation so much worse. I couldn’t get rid of the thoughts of inadequacy no matter how hard I tried or prayed. I thought God was disappointed in me, cause I can’t do my job! I thought He’ll just ignore me until I can get my act together. My mind said you’re nothing to him right now. Your friends are just pretending to care. There’s no place for you. There’s no one out there for you.
I was in a whirlpool of a life. I was drowning and I felt God just stood back and watched.
This is the part where I’m supposed to say someone came into my life and took me under their arm, said the right things and boom! I was amazingly cured!
So not what happened.
I floundered through this life for about three years. My grades were bad, my physical health was becoming more of a focus, and I realized I was both physically and emotionally spent.
I literally couldn’t do it anymore. Sleep was the best thing ever invented and I looked forward to my dreams more than my reality.
Then I walked into the doctor’s office and took a mental health survey. It was found to be alarming and that what I was feeling and thinking really wasn’t normal.
I discovered my thoughts were due to Bipolar disorder.
I decided that enough was enough. I was sick of feeling inadequate, I was sick of telling myself I had no friends, cause that wasn’t true. I was sick of thinking that God didn’t love me; that wasn’t true either. I was given medication that helped level out my emotions, I was attending counseling, seeing friends again, not being isolated so much. These things freed me to listen to the truth. It was like a veil was lifted and I understood. I saw that the tape in my head was a tape of lies. That God as not disappointed in me at all. He was standing on the other side of that veil with his arms open wide the whole time. I just had my eyes closed, and covered.
The Bible says “He provides food for the cattle and the young ravens when they cry”. If He hears the raven, a dirty bird that eats dead things, He most certainly hears me. I learned that I am uniquely and wonderfully made. God still sees me as precious. He promises in Jeremiah 29 that if we seek Him with my heart, He will be found by me. He will take me by my right hand and lead you through. I am never alone.
I also learned that life isn’t about me. It’s about us as a whole, and once I took the focus off myself and I began to pay attention to others, and I came to find my performance wasn’t needed. Everyone has struggles that can bring them to the breaking point, and those people are generally hiding. Just like I was.
I have learned that that perfection is a figment of human imagination. That none of us are perfect. What exactly is perfect anyway? We all have our own definition, which ultimately, makes perfection impossible. Bad days happen. But when the sun goes down, that bad day will end. And when it comes up, you will get another chance at greatness.
Perfection is NOT key.