Painting heart-cries, word by word

Confronting My Fear of Failure (New Year’s Resolution) December 28, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — verbosevictoria @ 8:40 am

Last year for New Year’s, I actually made a resolution. I don’t normally do this. Resolutions for an entire year are beyond me. I can barely keep a week-long goal. In fact, I barely make any goals at all.

I have a paralyzing fear of failure. I am what some would call a “closet perfectionist.” When I see something that needs to be done, it’s all or nothing; if I can’t do it perfectly, right now, then I would rather never even try. Since I’m not perfect, I tend to avoid and procrastinate quite often. The result is a messy, sliding, mud-mountain of expectations and failures.

Whenever my husband or a friend talks about setting a goal, breaking my tasks down into managable pieces, or making a list of prioritized tasks, I panic. I hate the pressure I put on myself every time I say “I WILL do such-and-such by this time today!” It seems the more determined I get, the worse I do. I can feel the mounting weight of expectation on myself and I start to crack.

Last New Year’s Eve, I was fed up with being paralyzed and panicked. I asked God to show me how to break the cycle I’ve been in since I was a little girl. He was faithful! He told me to make a goal for the whole year of 2012. (I admit, I felt very skeptical about that.) He told me,

“Resolve to make a goal every day.”

This was brilliant! This completely nullified my fear of failure because even if I completely missed the mark of my goal on a day, or on EVERY day, I still fulfilled a year-long resolution. 2012 is about to end and I’ve done what I set out to do. I faced my fear and set my sights ahead at least a little every day. Sometimes I accomplished what I set out to do, sometimes I was partially successful, and sometimes I completely screwed up. And yet, here I am with a year of God-motivated success simply because I was not afraid of looking forward and working hard. I was not afraid to mess up a day. It has been a beautiful thing.

So, what will my 2013 resolution be? I believe I can actually BUILD on last year’s resolution. I will continue to make goals every day and I will take it one step deeper. This coming year, I resolve to honor God with whatever I choose to do.

What I hope is that by honoring God with how I prioritize my day, I can take the power out of my personal expectations for myself. I’ve wrestled for so long to see myself the way God sees me, but my own self-loathing clouds my vision. I won’t go into it, but I have a serious issue with appreciating who God created in me. There is always a voice shouting over God’s gentle whisper that I am not good enough for the life God’s given me. So this year, by God’s strength, I will shut that voice down and listen to my Father-King instead.

If all I get done is keeping the kids alive and fed, I can be confident in that day as long as I give God the glory.
If all I can manage are two things on my page-long to-do list, I can rejoice in those two things done well by God working in me.
If the one thing I accomplish each day is to talk with Him and listen to Him, I will count every one of those days as eternally valuable becauseI will have lived alongside Him.

My God is faithful. I know He will increase where I am too weak and I know more will be done than I may even realize, just by looking to Him all day instead of at myself.

And who needs New Year’s anyway? I started this last week. ūüôā


Christmas Is Not My Favorite. December 26, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — verbosevictoria @ 11:43 am
Tags: , , ,

I get as sparkly-eyed as the next person around Christmas-time, and I love many things about it. The¬†snow¬†and sparkling icicles are magical. The celebrations with friends and family are¬†fantastic.¬†The joy of knowing Christ put on humanity in order to give the people God the Father cherished abundant life is wonderful. The hunt for personalized, meaningful gifts is thrilling. Still, it’s never quite been my favorite time of year.

I’ve struggled to put it into words before now, but I think I’ve finally understood.

My favorite time of year is Easter. It always has been. I’ve never gotten much in the way of presents on Easter, although my mom tried to make sure I always had a basket of chocolated to find and maybe a new dress for church. There wasn’t anything that marked our Easter feast more special than the ones we had at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Yet, it’s always my favorite celebration of the year.

I love Easter because it heralds the warmer weather, growing things, and new life. I love Easter because I really can’t think of anything more exciting than celebrating Christ’s defeat of death and the victory we are all able to access! And I think what pushes my love for Easter in front of even Christmas is how focused Easter is.

Celebrating Jesus’ victory is hard to eclipse with a silly bunny that leaves candy in eggs. It’s not about the challenge between secular and Christian, vying for social power on the holidays. As a Christian, I still find it difficult to maintain the balance and connection between Christ’s birth and the gift-giving fun we have together. I get it, but the lure of shiny things really is DISTRACTING. I find it much easier to completely ignore and downright scoff at a confused rabbit that delivers treats in plastic eggs. Christ has defeated DEATH. That’s a concept so powerful, it’s hard to diffuse it with commercialism (in my opinion).

With Easter, I find so much more freedom. I’m free to rejoice in my God-given victory over sin and the sting of death. I’m free to ignore the lame attempts to distract me from the celebration of my King. I’m free to be motivated into service by God’s joy in my heart rather than wrestling with feelings of obligation and guilt-trips. I’m free to remember who I am in Christ and my spirit soars with the knowledge that I am His and He is mine!

Don’t misunderstand; I love Christmas and I am doing what I can to reclaim the celebration from commercialism and Santa Claus distractions. I’m actually planning to read up on incorporating Jewish holidays into our every day family life this coming year to combat distractions of all kinds. I believe celebration is vitally important to us as Christians and should have a regular place in our lives. I also believe God is the author of celebration and wants us to enjoy as well as work hard, to keep focused on why we do all that work in the first place. All I’m saying is I find that focus easier to keep during Easter celebrations than at any other time of year.

What’s your favorite time of year? Do you know why you like it so much?


Pain. December 19, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — verbosevictoria @ 2:40 pm

Just when you think you’ve reached a place where “normal” actually means something, turmoil swirls beneath your feet yet again. You’re in pain. Your heart feels wrenched, your soul is wailing, and the agony is all the more horrible for being contained behind a smiling face.

It may not even be your own pain. Sharing someone’s pain is just as necessary, just as unexpected.

Every time it hits, a part of me steps back and wonders–what will I do this time?

There have been times when I’ve been left gasping, swirling hopelessly in emotional typhoons until I crash headfirst into the Rock of my salvation. I don’t like it when I do that. Crashing leaves me a little numb at first and it seems to take a longer recovery.

There have been times when I’ve summoned all my willpower to section off and store what is hurting me behind a door I never open. Of course, the door is never sealed properly and the bitterness leaks out, smelling foul for stagnation and soul decay–until I let the purifying fire of the Holy One burn away the filth. I don’t like it when I have to burn away bitterness. It leaves me much more vulnerable than I would have been if I’d dealt honestly in my circumstances.

There have been times when I somehow turn all that pain into a rage and I find myself frantically beating down a mountainside of trust with my raw fists. I scream and flail, half-blinded by debris, insatiable for the complete destruction. Only, I always end up having to rebuild, even if I was the one wronged, because my Father has taught me to value trust. And somehow it’s harder to rebuild when I’m so tender with self-inflicted wounds.

But there have also been times when I go straight to the King with my grief. The typhoon is still there, but I’m already on the solid Rock. The hurt still oozes, but it’s clean, purified, and ready for healing. The rage still threatens, but hope perseveres as my Father holds my hand.

Pain is part of our destiny. We don’t like the truth of it, we sometimes try to blame God for it, but if we are realistic with ourselves, we might start to understand. I haven’t wrapped my mind around it yet, but I’m getting there. Somehow, against every instinct, I am learning that pain itself is not good or bad. Pain is opportunity. Pain is meant for progress. Pain is a reminder that the true Center of the Universe–He, in His holiness, deserves so much more than we tend to give.

I don’t mean to sound callous, but when it comes to self-interest, most of us have that down to an art. What if I could train myself to react to pain with the question, “What will You teach me, God?” instead of the dark-edged, “WHY, GOD?!” I have a feeling the “why” always has something to do with the undeniable fact that this life is not about me.

It’s simply not about me.