Hey Friends! It’s me! No really! I’m alive. I promise. I’ve been in a war lately within myself. Everyday I want to get up and write a life-changing blogpost, and then by the time I get home from work at 7:00 most days, I realize I’m exhausted, just want some ramen noodles and to crawl into bed with Stranger Things Season Two. Then comes the cycle of feeling like the world’s biggest failure. Thoughts of insecurity and disappointment seep in and soak my heart with what I can only call an elixir of shame and annoyance with my own self. Day after day, willing myself to do more, be more, accomplish more. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a little motivation, but I do have a problem with self-inflicted emotional abuse. Trust me…been there, done that, have the scars and scary journal entries to prove it. Do you ever fall into this trap also? One moment you’re just wishing you had accomplished one more thing on your (pretty impossible) to-do list, the next you feel like the world’s biggest, ugliest failure who can’t do anything right and the world would be better off without you? WOAH! Mariah, the drama! Actually, as dramatic as it seems I know I can’t be the only one who’s made the jump within the matter of hours. Well, maybe I am. Maybe I’m the only one, but just incase there’s someone out there like me… hi!
People used to call me an “over-acheiver”, I would swat that label away like a nagging fly. I would laugh but on the inside I was thinking…”If you only knew how much of a failure I am. I don’t achieve anything, ever.” I wished I was an overachiever because in my mind that meant I would actually be achieving things that I wanted to excel at. As I’ve gotten older I look back at 16 year old Mariah and I’m mortified for her. The pressure, THE PRESSURE. The exhausting, heavy pressure I used as a tool to manipulate my sense of worth. I thought: If you do, then you are. And imagine my daily surprise as I didn’t live up to the standard I set. Looking back I see that most times I was setting myself up for failure on purpose. Was I addicted to the feeling of disappointment because I had gotten used to it and was comfortable there? Probably. Sound familiar?
There are great days, there are terrible days. There are days when you’re feeling confident, then there are days when you get corrected for one little thing and it sends you off the deep end. You want to quit, you want to run, you want to scream “I TOLD YOU SO” at the world because you are so convinced you suck anyway, why even try? People who don’t have this weird “try til you die” complex may not understand this post. But I believe so deeply that there is a fraction of you guys who can identify with this. “I have no purpose or talent!”, “I’m not good at anything!”, “All I do is mess up and make mistakes…”. All of these thoughts are… #1: Lies and just a matter of a very strict opinion of someone who can be found in your mirror. #2: Connected to your tasks and your activities and accomplishments. Can I please tell you something? And if not you then at least 16 year old Mariah?
Your worth is not connected to your work.
Who you are is not a direct stream from the river of your tasks.
You are valuable because of the beauty of who you simply are.
I am begging you to just let yourself be for a whole week. Take the pressure off for a couple days, I guarantee you’ll “accomplish” a whole lot more in the freedom of who you are. It’s way better than living under the tyranny of your insecurities ruling your every move, thought and belief. Live from the truth you are valuable instead of living for approval. If y0u’re constantly trying to gain approval through your works and what you can do – you will be depleted, lonely, exhausted and going nowhere on a treadmill of self doubt. God wants you to be free to run on the trail of freedom. There’s beauty there.
On the treadmill, when you make mistake you’re met with punishment. Your mind starts beating up your heart. Your heart is black and blue and broken at the end of the day.
On the trail of freedom, when you make a mistake you’re met with God’s Grace and the ability to learn and grow. Your heart is valued there, your mind is balanced there.
Which one do you want to spend your life running on? Because trust me, self punishment doesn’t really get you anywhere but alone with scars on your wrist, binding thoughts in your mind, and looking for the next thing that will numb you. I lived in that space for years of my life. Waiting to be rescued from myself, but I would only listen to myself. I was alone in a crowded room, I was blind to beautiful moments, I was brimming with sorrow in joyful encounters. All because when you beat yourself up for every, little mistake you become your master. You become a slave you your standards. You become locked up. But remember, you have the key. It takes you to say, “no, more”. No more are you dictated by your to-do list, your grades, your position, your job, your works, your status. No longer are you only worthy of love if you are the best. Because you’ll NEVER be the best! (You should probably know that now…) But you can always be the best you. You can always get better, learn more, love more. It’s hard to get to know yourself if you hate yourself. And the beauty of life starts when you can be just you. When you can BE, not just DO. There’s harmony that happens in your life when you can do your best not only in what you do, but be your best you no matter where you’re at in life. Being your best looks like being kind to yourself. It looks like having the same grace Jesus has for you on you. If Jesus is nice to you, why shouldn’t you be nice to you? Isn’t that the point anyway? To be more like Him? Do you think your Creator would punish you the same way you punish yourself? Uhhhh. I don’t think so. It’s not His character, and it doesn’t have to be yours either. You are worthy of love, you are worthy of joy. You are worthy of enjoying your life and not feeling badly for it. You are allowed to be proud of yourself even if you did one thing on your to-do list. You have permission to rest in God’s assessment of who you are. Approved, beautiful, powerful, lovely, kind, funny. You are all of that and more because you were simply made that way. Who God created you to be is who you are. You can’t earn it, you can’t work for it, you simply just are. And there’s nothing you can do to change His mind. You are simply lovely just because you were created that way. Live from that, not for that. Get off the treadmill and run to freedom. And lastly, no matter if you believe it or not…. Someone is proud of you. Obsessed with you, even. Even if you never did another thing, you are cherished. You are extraordinary.
PS: HOW CUTE IS THIS GALLERY WALL IN OUR BEDROOM? It’s a work in progress, just like me!