Tag Archives: perfectionism

Daring Greatly

Okay, I’ve been reading about vulnerability.

I had intended to read the book Daring Greatly several times this year, but coincidentally, I picked it up last week, during one of the most vulnerable periods of my life–the week after my mother died. If you believe in Fate or in God, the coincidence makes complete sense. Vulnerability scares me, and I’m willing to admit it. It scares you, too. It’s why we lives such busy lives–why we’d rather text than call and why we’d rather email than speak face to face. We’re that scared.

Vulnerability feels like out-of-control, exposed weakness–like you’re on a runaway train, careening toward a cliff, bound hand and foot, and gagged. Oh, yeah, and you’re naked and out-of-shape. And there’s no John Wayne/Harrison Ford/Tom Cruise character to rescue you from certain death at the last second. (Which is actually somewhat of a relief, since you are naked.)51CnRqFnS5L._AC_US160_

I am reading Daring Greatly by Brené Brown, the great shame researcher that you read because everyone recommends her and you don’t think you have shame issues. Then she pounds your head into the pavement until you get her point, and remarkably, you don’t have a headache afterwards. She’s that crazy good.

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Got life under control?

 

I’ve got to get my life under control! Clean my closets. Organize my bills. Exercise daily. Plan my vacations. Read those books. Finish writing that novel.

Although I realize the erroneous perception of control, I still crave the success of a well-organized and predictable life. Somewhere along the journey, I have bought into the mindset that a stylish wardrobe and a beautiful home will make me happier. That if I make good choices, bad things won’t happen to me. I believe–though I may not adhere to its rules–that a gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, sugar-free, range-free, low-calorie, grass-fed or vegetarian diet will insure my health and longevity. But the question I should be asking is this: have I created a lifestyle of perceived control because somewhere deep inside myself, I doubt that anyone else could supervise the details of my life better than me?IMG_0879

Perhaps control is politically correct for the old-fashioned word idolatry. Essentially, control is the worship of legislating my own life–insulating, defending, promoting, comforting.  It’s all about me. Control is the greatest deception of all time. The ruse began somewhere in the heavens, descended to the Garden of Eden, and from there proliferated throughout the world, infusing humanity with the desire to control everyone and everything around them, at any cost. Is there any injustice that can’t be traced back to control?

Me? A control freak? I might respond with, “No, I am confident, organized, and self-motivated. Appropriately both passionate and agreeable.” Ahh, the perspective of a person with control issues! Someone living blissfully in self-imposed ignorance. The driver of my own destiny. A puppet master, manipulating marionettes without any strings and considering the undertaking as successful. I believe myself to be master of my life. In reality, my life is controlling me.

The skeptic would call God the Puppet-Master, an uncaring, selfishly-motivated manipulator, akin to the Greeks’ Zeus, sending unfair trials and temptations our way to see how we’ll handle the pain and the stress and the indecency of it all. That’s a worthy consideration.

But then why would God send Jesus? Yet no game is clever enough to warrant horrendous, personal sacrifice by the game-maker.

Because of God’s value for our free will, He allows us to move stringless through life, yet He hovers above the stage, ready to guide us toward fulfilled purpose, if only we’ll give over the sticks.  Good advice for all of us detail-loving perfectionists.