We are all broken. All of us. In some way or another. If we weren’t, we would be perfect, and that’s impossible here on earth.
Yet many of us (me!) can struggle with perfectionism or idealism. Ironically, this doesn’t mean we do everything perfectly, rather we can have this uneasy feeling of not being good enough or measuring up or doing things the right way. We must have missed the memo! It’s stifling and a huge issue, no wonder anxiousness and depression runs rampant.
In getting to know Jesus more and deepening my faith, I expected to feel immediately wonderful and enlightened.
It really triggered that weak part of me, and I had a deeper sense of being imperfect, of not being good enough and I began comparing myself with others. I easily slipped into an idealistic view of how truly faithful people must be, and here’s me screaming (putting it nicely) at my kids, ticking every sinful box, (does hiding in the bathroom with a family-size chocolate bar count as gluttony?). I get frustrated and impatient. This is certainly not the view that fits into the neat little box in my head.
The reality is that we’ll never be complete, or whole until we reach Heaven. I dare say we are perfect now with our weaknesses and failings. This is what life is. It’s messy and gritty. Do we stop trying then and become complacent? No! Everyday we must face ourselves as we are, face the parts of us we don’t like and wish were different.
But we can allow God to work with us and through us, lifting us to make the effort to strive no matter how many times we fall. Let’s keep moving and trying for better, for a richer life. Not in a self-abusing way or in a way where we allow the negative thoughts to discourage us and disqualify us. We can’t do this alone. Pray as if it’s up to God, work as if it’s up to you.
Gosh I’m not perfect, far from it, my struggles are like yours; but surely we can be grateful for the lessons learned. Empathy to feel with others, courage and strength to face difficulty and Hope for eternity which is promised to us. Hope. It’s not about having a life without struggle but having Hope amidst that struggle... that’s a good place to start.
There’s been so much tragedy on the news lately, so much weighing down the world. It makes it especially difficult when one tragic event or bad news overlaps another. You feel your emotions get back into check until another bit of news slaps the other cheek. It’s hard to escape with instant headlines, posts and shares over social media. And there’s always that person who keeps you updated on who’s sick or dying or divorcing! The world can seem a little bit hopeless again and you wonder what’s good out there?
I was once a believer that our minds could handle anything and it was a show of strength when you could be exposed to these things and not be affected... that it’s up to us to work on realistic thinking!
While there’s truth in this, I think we need to help our minds along a bit. Our minds are very powerful when used correctly, but there’s a side to them, that when gaps open and darkness and constant negativity or tragedy enter, it can and will affect thinking patterns and therefore moods.
Instead, we can choose to focus on light. It’s not a sign of weakness or not being able to cope. I also don’t think that it means we’re burying our heads in the sand and being out of touch with the outside world, as some people might have you believe. Unfortunately the darkness and negative aspects of the world will continue whether we focus on them or not. We are making a choice to fill ourselves with light.
We’re better off offering a prayer for peace in the world, a genuine heartfelt prayer for the healing of everyone’s mind, body and soul. Let’s make a conscious choice to focus on the good around us. When we do this we can find that it’s the little things we usually miss...little miracles of the day...Someone letting you in the traffic or queue, or a smile from a passing stranger, a warm hug, a heart conversation or general kindness and goodness that’s around us; what we miss with our ‘big picture’ mind that unfortunately hooks onto dark (it’s in our trajectory that our minds work this way). Let’s make a conscious effort to let go of tragedy, choose to switch off, scroll past that post on social media, miss the news, pray for people and look towards God.