Growing up I used to love watching the Olympics. Before the pros and corporate sponsors got involved, the Olympics were pure sport. No money, no glory, no headliners, athletes we had never heard of. They were young men and women who, for the love of a sport, had sacrificed all that they were and all that they had, just to wear that jersey and represent our nation.
My size (yes being 5 foot nothing has it’s advantages), abilities, and even my personality were drawn to one Olympic sport in particular—gymnastics. This sport defined my personality best—the only competition would be me and you were graded on perfection. Everything depended on me. No competition but me. I had found my first love at 14. For the next 8 years, throughout high school and college, I gave myself without reservation to gymnastics. The perfect sport for a perfectionist!
Well, perfectionism may have boded me well during high school and college, but in life, perfectionism can become a roadblock if taken too far. Masking insecurities, perfectionism requires two things—comparison and focus. Perfectionists are always comparing. If they’re successful, they are always focused. For the perfectionist to stay focused, we have to compare in order to see how we measure up. We love words like excellence, success, and winning. Such words help us camouflage the insecurities that can dominate our heart.
Perfectionism needs a point of comparison and comparison never wins. There is always someone better, something bigger, and another illusive goal that we can’t quite reach. Perfectionism is most dangerous when it covers up our shame and creates a hidden shadow self.
Wholehearted living, as defined by Brene Brown is “engaging our lives from a place of worthiness.” It means having the courage to face our imperfections, our failures, and our blind spots with the daring to say, “God is enough; I’m enough; I’m loved; I’m beloved.” It means we have nothing to prove to anyone. It means we can now name our fears and be vulnerable about our imperfections, and admit that we are afraid.
Wholehearted living means that we stop the comparisons and accept the person God has made us to be. It’s being okay with not being all that smart, all that successful, or even being liked by certain people. It’s about being brave.
On the Road,
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