I don’t like games.
I should rephrase this to be a little more accurate.
The real trouble is this: I really, really, REALLY hate losing.
When I was a little girl, I would experience tonnes of inner turmoil and trepidation if I didn’t do something right, if I didn’t come out on top, if I wasn’t the best at something.
I think this “perfectionistic complex” really flared up when, as a pre-teen, I moved in with my grandparents. As I was uprooted from my parents, many well-meaning adults told me how fortunate I was to be taken in by other members of the family and that I should be grateful. In the meantime, my tender heart was pierced and bleeding, throbbing and wishing for nothing more than to grieve the loss of both my parents.
…you should be grateful…
Amidst the confusion that came along with a family splintered into dozens of unreachable pieces, my heart was never given the chance to grieve. I felt like there wasn’t time for me, instead, I had to shoulder the pain and move on for the sake of others. In other words, I had to act like I had it together so others wouldn’t be burdened by me.
As a disclaimer, I don’t say all of this for the sake of a pity party, I say if for a point that will be helpful to you. So please, stick with me.
In all honesty, I never felt like a part of my family. Instead, I always felt like a separate entity. In desperation, my heart told me: if you do something to tick them off, you’re out. Remember that and you’ll be just fine.
…if you do something to tick them off, you’re out…
As time when on, the anxiety worsened and crept up in sports, music and dance. I dropped many activities because I was terrified to fail and let others down. Fear crippled me. I wound up in the hospital, while I was in the downward spiralling, addictive process of trying to “perfect” my body.
As the years have rolled on, that fear never really went away. If anything, it worsened and manifested in different ways. My feelings about my outward appearance, the way I conducted myself with others and the occupation I was working towards became quick and easy targets.
This desire to get everything perfect in relationships, career and school drove me away from any kind of risk, even calculated ones.
Just yesterday, I was listening to a message by Kris Vallotton. Kris was talking about an interaction he had with a follower of his, we’ll call him John. The young man was immersed in sexual sin and having a tough time accepting God’s love because of these struggles.
The whole situation resonated well with me.
See, that fear, although it has lessened in the past couple years, still permeates little pieces of my story. There are days when I don’t feel like approaching God because I don’t feel like I’m going to get my words perfect. There are some days when I don’t feel worthy to come to God because I don’t have it together. In short, I understand the young man’s struggle.
There are some days when I don’t feel worthy…
Ultimately, Kris’s response to the young man was really what hit home. Kris did not start writing a checklist of all the things his follower should do. Instead, he moved as the Holy Spirit led and took John in his arms. They sat like that, Kris, like a good father, with his arms draped over his “son”. At the end of fifteen minutes, the young man dropped to the ground and started bawling. He told Kris he had never experienced love like that, the love of a father.
As time went on, that love was what helped heal John’s heart completely. Once he realized how loved he was by Father God, the things he did that didn’t honour God melted away, like dross exposed to purifying flame.
Perfect love casts out all fear!
Through a lot of trial and error, I have come to find that the only remedy for the perfectionistic tendencies is love, perfect love, unconditional love straight from my Heavenly Father’s heart. When I am not feeling good enough or when I am afraid to try something new because I might fail, I stop, wait and listen to the sound of my Father’s words: “there is nothing that will separate you from me. You are perfect, loved forever. I died for you. I live for you. Katie, you’re perfect and so pleasing to me. You are perfect. You are perfect. You are perfect.”
…the only remedy for perfectionistic tendencies is love, perfect love, unconditional love…