perfection, obsession, and letting it all fall apart

This weekend was full to the brim! Friday night I went to Dave and Buster’s for the first time to celebrate the birthdays of two of our dear friends. I’ve heard about Dave and Buster’s as kind of the adult Chucky Cheese….a place where you can go and play games and eat and have fun. The food was pretty good (I had a salad of course, since the restrictions on what I can or can not eat are pretty strict right now), and it was fun to be with my friends. My introverted self couldn’t really get in to the game part of Dave and Buster’s though. I don’t feed off of other people’s energy….in fact it usually drains me…so imagine a huge space filled with tons of people, loud games, and flashing lights. Yeah, my brain was on overload. I get so quiet in situations like that, and I tend to get pretty down on myself because I feel like I should be different somehow. We’ll come back to that thought.

On to Saturday! We had the amazing privilege of going to see U2 in concert on Saturday night. I entered the night feeling a little nervous because I was afraid I would have the same reaction to a lot of people and even more noise. I didn’t want to get quiet and feel the urge to withdraw. I wanted to experience the band and the music and have fun with my girl and my friends. I actually did better on Saturday night, the show was incredibly amazing and I loved being able to sit there and watch it.

I had a moment where everyone in our group had left for some reason or another and I was sitting by myself just watching the thousands of people in Invesco Stadium. At first I just lost myself in thinking about people and their differences and how much God loves everyone. Then the wave started. I’ve never seen that many people do the wave. The wave actually went around the whole Bronco’s football stadium like 7 times before it started to die out. That was pretty fun to watch. I found myself feeling amused watching the silly excitement of people, but I had no desire to join in. I had a moment where I wondered if this should be a problem…that I like to watch and analyze and take in and think about things so much more than I like to participate a lot of times. Again, I started to question my personality and wonder if my kind of personality gets people like me (or myself) anywhere. Of course then there is always the question of where am I trying to get myself and what’s so important about it?

On to Sunday. Went to church and thoroughly enjoyed it. After all the stuff I’ve been thinking about, just letting go and worshiping God with everything that I am was wonderful. It’s great to be able to take all my thoughts, all of the things I don’t understand, and all of my perceptions of myself and such and just lay them at the feet of the Lord. It was a precious time for my heart.

Sunday afternoon Lindsey and I got some Indian food and then saw the 4th Pirates movie. It was so good! On the way home we walked downtown a little to get to where we parked. While I was walking I was getting lost in my thoughts again. I was feeling weighed down by all the striving that goes on in my mind. Striving that looks a lot like a hamster wheel.

Over and over I think about where I should work, if I should work, when I should write, what I should write, what I should do, how I should do everything I do, on and on and on. I’ve always had this issue. This problem of obsessing about every little detail in my life because I think I need to be something or be doing something that is “other” than who I am or what I’m doing. Even though my life really is in the best place it’s ever been, I still deal with the same old crap I’ve always dealt with…..second guessing my dreams, putting lots of pressure on myself to be something that I can’t even define.

It really was like my eyes were opened, and I could see my life from a different perspective as I walking Sunday afternoon. I suddenly realized that all the things that have the most impact on me and my life are things that I’ve had very little control over, haven’t seen coming, or haven’t asked for (or even wanted!). I didn’t ask to go through a lot as a child, I didn’t have any choice in the family or time period I was born into, I didn’t ask to be or try to be gay, I didn’t plan on meeting Lindsey, I didn’t plan out my personality with it’s quirks and introverted analytical tendencies…..yet, these things effect my life in the largest ways possible!

I realized that the things that I “strive” over on my hamster wheel aren’t the things that “create” my life or who I am….I realized that trying to get every choice right and every day perfect and every situation ideal did nothing for my life at all. The question that came to my mind was one that asked if the things I try so desperately to control actually do anything for my life, actually change the course of my life, or actually create the life I love….and the answer was a resounding “no!”.

The things that have shaped me and continue to shape me into the person that I am are actually things that I have very little control over. I haven’t “made” my life happen. Life just keeps happening whether I want it to or not. In fact, life would keep happening whether I existed or not. Ok, so I know this isn’t rocket science, but this idea was like discovering gold in my mind. Do you know how much anxiety is created in us when we try to control things we can’t control? Or when we try to reach something that isn’t actually there? Like perfection?

The truth is that God is the author and perfecter of my life. Not me. Living my life doesn’t require a lot of obsessing, striving, worrying, etc. My life already exists…I can’t create it. What I can do is lean into the life I have been given. What I can do is “show up” (as my good friend, alison, says) for the life that God has created. I can’t do anything more than live today as the person I am, as the person He’s created me to be and is shaping me into. I can show up as that person and own who I am and enjoy who I am and love others.

I still can’t quite wrap my mind around this new idea. I’ve been so used to pressuring myself to be something I can’t even define, and I do it so automatically. I start a conversation with my sister…and instead of just being present and being myself, I start to obsess in my mind about saying all the right things and communicating love perfectly. It happens so fast and all of the sudden that in most situations I’m like, wow, I’m doing it again. I start writing in this blog and all of the sudden I’m not being myself anymore and I go into “must communicate what I’m thinking perfectly” mode.

But that’s not what life is about, and it’s certainly not the way I want to live my life anymore. So I would say that I’m on a different track, but that would just be feeding my old way of thinking. What I will say is that I’m listening and keeping my eyes open for God’s working of this change in me….keeping myself open to being aware of when I’m in perfectionist mode….and letting myself be a little raw…

I’m looking for signs of life in me instead of striving in my mind about how to create it.

I’m looking for a job as just a job and not a huge statement about me.

I’m leaning into my introverted, quiet, thoughtful personality instead of wishing I could play games with the best of them at Dave and Busters.

I’m enjoying my tendency to watch instead of worrying that I should be doing the wave with the rest of the people at Invesco Field.

I’m letting my writing be a little confusing and a lot of processing instead of trying to be the best communicator out there.

I’m embracing the things that I love instead of worrying about how to keep them special.

And I’m allowing myself to be imperfect so that maybe I can take my eyes off of myself and take in the view that God is constantly creating all around me.

I’m falling apart a little bit, so that maybe I can live from a place of wholeness that only God can create.