On pressure

In thinking about enjoying a moment, I often think about how the pressure I place on myself can often rob me of the joy to be had in these moments.

It’s at work. On the days when I feel like I’ve lost my temper and failed to plan well, that I can’t stop and see the beauty of the tiny human souls in front of me. The giant grins on the children’s faces when I unknowingly make a joke, and the unsaid appreciation that occurs.

It’s in marriage. When conflict with Josh arises and I wish we didn’t have to argue, that I can’t see past the imperfections of our relationship aka our human nature. The understanding that is being built and the humor that always seems to pop up after the fact.

It’s in my time alone. When I wanted to clean that closet, but ended up not getting around to it or feeling up to it and just choosing to read a book or watch TV. Recognizing that what’s good for my soul is good enough for my time.

I don’t know about you, but there’s so many more places where I put pressure on myself to achieve, check off boxes, dream bigger, and “make the most of my time.”

Yet, in releasing that pressure, maybe I find more of where my heart truly is at and the ways that I need to rest, embrace imperfection, release unrealistic expectations, and take hold of the reality that is in front of me.

 

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Y is for You

I’ve been so excited for this one all month long. I want to talk about you for a second. Whoever you are, I’m not sure. But, I do want to know who you are. You are important.

My dreams for this space are about you. I want you to breathe a sigh of relief when you happen upon these stories. I want your story to be given light and the justice it deserves. I want you to feel empowered to go out and do justice. I want you to feel enlightened as you read the stories of a diverse group of people, and that this would spark understanding and varying levels of reconciliation amongst racial groups or political groups. I want you to feel heard in your struggle, and validated that you are not alone. The only way this blog is about me is that I’m writing it, but mostly I want it to be about you.

I’m still trying to figure out who you are. But, what I do know, is that in you reading and scoping through words of the internet, you are someone who is thoughtful, kind, and empathetic. You are someone who wants more than just to go to work, watch TV, get married, repeat, and then die. You are someone who wants purpose in your days, and in your life.

You want to do justice and seek mercy and walk humbly. And even if you don’t believe in the book those words just came from, and even if you never do, you are someone who wants to do that anyway.

You are a reader. Maybe you are a reader of tons of books, or no books at all. Maybe you are a reader of blogs and the internet. Maybe you don’t read much at all, but just so happen to be reading this. Whatever it is, you are a reader. You are a reader who takes the time to slow down and to think. To really consider who you are, your strengths, and what you can do.

So, thank you for being you. In all of your complexities, uniqueness, and struggle. Thank you for bringing your true self to these stories and reading to connect and to think. You are thoughtful, insightful, and engaging.

I’m thankful for you, dear reader. You are giving me the gift of having a reader. You are allowing all of us to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. And for that, my heart is thankful.


Please tell me who you are and maybe even share your story!

I would also love to feature some your stories relating to justice and identity. Please fill out all sections of this form if you are interested.

E is for Expectations

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had high expectations for myself. In 4th grade, little ‘ole me had completed my Outer Space project a week before the due date. Typical. It was good enough, I’m sure, and met all the necessary requirements already.

But, in the most artistic way possible, I was struck with a new wave of inspiration and I wanted to start over the night before it was due and do something way better. Except that in my 10 year old brain development, I didn’t have the capacity to realize that I would not be able to finish the project in time if I restarted the night before. It was a flurry of tears and freak outs and I’m sure my parents rushing into salvage what could be done (to my emotional state, not the project.)

This was the time my mom and I learned that I should never do that again.

My mom vowed never to let me start over in such a manner based off of a wave of new inspiration. She was right, obviously.  But, it’s a lesson I’ve had to teach myself over and over again because I find myself with the same tendency. The deeper I get into a project and the more finished it becomes, I think of something new that could be WAY BETTER. And because of my high expectations for myself, I have to go for it. Because, how could I not chase after the ever-shifting, mysterious “BEST?”

Expectations have ruled me for a long time. In my idealist brain, reality never really matches up to my idea of perfection. It was a hard road being a perfectionist child in a world full of possibilities, projects, artistry, and competition. And, it really wasn’t the competition that fueled me. Although, let’s be real, that has been a factor more often than I’d like to admit. More so, it was fueled by my own expectations for myself.

I’ve realized that it is just in my nature to be a dreamer and an achiever. Both are valuable identities to have, but they provide quite the whirlwind of experience in order to manage them.

It’s a battle of separating my identity and worth from what I can achieve.

It’s a tension between striving for excellence and understanding my limits. It’s a struggle to understand where the line blurs from dreams that I can reach to unrealistic expectations. It permeates to many areas of life, whether it’s my career, relationships, leadership, creativity, or craft.

I realize time and time again that there is often no best way. I am often frozen in shock at the start of a project because I’m trying to figure out the best way to do things. But, in reality, there are a lot of good ways to do things. There’s always going to be a “better” way. There’s always somebody doing something differently that I think could be better than what I’m doing. There’s always a new idea that strikes me when I least expect it.

And so, with many years behind me realizing unmet expectations that I have for myself – some realistic and some unrealistic – I realize that often times, I just need to pick one way and stick with it.

No second guessing myself, just being confident that all I can do is all that I can do.

And, all I can do is try my best, to offer the world the most true and honest self that I can, to be generous with kindness even when I don’t want to, and to tread lightly as I’m following the twists and turns of an ever changing creative mind that’s constantly full of way too many ideas to pick from.