Take a breath!

I am in desperate need of rest and peace. My mind is going on and on without intermission. I feel the pressure of expectations weigh on me, like a huge boulder, in every aspect of my life. My heart is racing and my breath is getting shallower as if I am running a race in a too long marathon. I am out of breath and ready for a well needed break. But I am my greatest problem. I can’t say no. I cannot stand up for myself. I am insecure, afraid of what people might think. The pressure I put on myself is immense. To be perfect or not to be perfect that’s the question. That’s the dilemma. And through this all I hear God say, “I love you so much, regardless of what you do”. But it is like an echo in the distance. I desperately try to hold on to His light, but it fades in the darkness of my own expectations. In this world today I know that I am not the only one.  The deep desire to be this perfect girl, to please everyone, is becoming too much for me. But if the answer is so simple, to simply say, “No”, then why is it so hard for me to choose that?

My whole life I have had the feeling of having to prove myself. Not just to my family, friends, teachers, church and God, but also to myself. Making friends has always been hard for me and I have been rejected by people too often. And every single time I think that I am over the past, it hits me in the face. Too much has happened for me to be open and outgoing. My personality has changed with the waves, beating against my ocean shore. But I do not want to dwell in the past. I refuse to dwell in the laughter, the comments and the rejection that I was forced to face. Yet still it affects my life today. I am filled with fear. Fear of people disliking me or what I do. But their opinion isn’t important. This is about my own happiness. This is about me being able to be happy. Focussing on my weaknesses is not going to make me feel better, but focussing on my strengths is. I should be allowed to love myself. It should be illegal for me to hate myself for the things I am not good at. But that is life. Life throws your weaknesses in your face and tells you that you are not good enough. I need a break.

A break from my weakness would be a welcome escape and yet it is haunting me like a ghost in a long-ago abandoned house. How do I escape? And the same answer is back in my face. Just say no! Focus on your strengths instead of your weaknesses. It is so simple and yet so difficult. Because admitting that you are weak is losing your face. It is like standing naked in front a big crowd, bare and exposed. Giving people a reason to dislike you and that was exactly the fear I began with. In life we are asked to do things we are not good at and we force ourselves to do a perfect job at it. At least I do. Instead of being proud of of trying to become better at something that I’m not good at, I feel the noose around my neck tighten until all the air is sucked out of my lungs and I am in full panic mode. I know my strengths and weaknesses but I don’t like to be confronted with my weaknesses all the time. All I have to say is, “No”. Instead I walk away with my soul in my arms, rocking myself to sleep. Hoping then I find peace. Then in the midst of my distress I hear a soft whisper that says, “It is braver to say no and admit that you are weak, than to be brave behind a steel mask”.

The storm in my mind finally comes to a screeching halt. The waves beating against my heart come to rest and silence fills my soul. Rest and peace fill me up until my cup overflows. The love of God is not asking me to do what I am not good at yet, so I will be better. The love of God is telling me that I am good the way I am. Unimportant it is to be perfect. Important it is to be the perfect version of how God created you. God created mankind in His image. He created me as a unique being with my own talents. What I can do is something that others cannot and what others can do is something that I cannot do. We are all uniquely made. I may not be good at organizing events, speaking in front of people or leading a group of people. But I am good at helping people, writing and listening. Saying no at times…is proclaiming who you are. And when you are proclaiming who you are, you are proclaiming who God made you to be. And that is something, you can be proud of. When God loves me, I can happily be who I am, in His image, as His unique masterpiece, even when I have to admit that I am not good at some things.

Now…I can finally…take a breath!

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