I’m going to post something intensely personal and open myself up wide to critique and injury. But it’s been rattling around in my brain today and I just gotta put it out there.
I grew up fearing failure. So much hinged on being able to perform well and please those around me. There were times that I felt my very acceptance into humanity depending on if I could act right, say the right things and “fit in”. I spent hours in grade school learning and mimicking the behaviors of those around me. I would study the girls around me in line waiting to go to lunch. I’d watch how they stood, how they talked and how they held their hands when they spoke. I desperately wanted to be a part and not be the “outsider”. I went to school in a very small community and “belonging” was very important. If you didn’t belong…it followed you forever. I never felt like I belonged there and still don’t. But I’ve learned that’s okay.
At home I mastered the art of doing what I was told and trying to limit the “waves” that rocked the boat. I should clarify that my parents weren’t horrible monsters, but they set the bar high and I felt the need to hit the mark. Hitting that mark often determined if I was allowed the privilege to attend a ball game or go on a date.
When I married my husband I had become a really good rule follower and really good “people pleaser”. Tell me what to do, tell me what you expected of me and I would follow your instructions to a T. In fact, I think that my ability to fit in to most situations is because of my ability to “read” people and mimic what I see and hear. I have learned to “fit in” so that I don’t look out of place or like a failure. Growing up I felt that my acceptance, love and inclusion was very conditional and based on my “performance”.
have spent a good portion of our marriage learning to be comfortable in my skin and learning what it’s like to be unconditionally loved. It was and is a difficult concept for me to understand sometimes. I still have trouble grasping how someone can genuinely still like me when I mess up or say something ridiculous. I mean, I know that I unconditionally love and care for those around me, but I have a hard time feeling that in return.
I think that my difficulty in understanding unconditional love stunted my growth in God and has stunted many relationships. It took me a while to trust Kerry to know that he would really love me if I messed up. It has taken me even longer to believe that I have friends who will still like me if I am less than perfect. I stress when I’m put in a position where I feel less than adequate, because of my huge fear of failure and judgement.
My fear has been magnified lately, mostly to myself, in church. I have been playing drums each week for our worship team. I played drums in high school and was comfortable with that. It’s a lot easier to play drums when you have a huge pep band behind you. But when you’re playing in a smaller group, in church, in front of people you know…it’s a whole different ball game. But here’s the thing…I’m surrounded by people who genuinely care for me. They don’t judge me based on my drumming, but I’m still fearful. I have been concentrating so much each week on keeping a steady beat (because I don’t want to be responsible for throwing the song off and “ruining” the moment for someone) that I have forgotten to let the Spirit lead me. I have forgotten that this is WORSHIP. It’s not a “don’t look stupid”, but it’s a GLORIFY GOD time.
Today our worship leader (who happens to be about 5 years younger than I), told me to “feel the vibe” to just work from the “spirit of things and worry about mechanics later”. He said “I don’t care if you mess up…” Whoa! You don’t know how freeing that was for me to hear. I didn’t rock it out during the worship set, but knowing that I was free to make a mistake without feeling like there was a penalty was fantastic. I mean seriously…that little bit of permission felt like it broke a dam. And I have to tell you…it’s not like our worship leader it this big music dictator. But I have been so paralyzed by fear of a mistake and failure that it has prevented me from being able to worship, or even enjoy playing.
I am so thankful that God can use me in my weakness. I am so thankful that he loves me even though I’m imperfect and that I don’t have to do anything to “earn” his forgiveness. I feel very blessed to have a husband to loves me regardless of my imperfections. And I’m learning that I have friends who really do accept me and aren’t going to put me in friend “time out” if I screw up the beat in worship on Sunday morning.
It’s a hard lesson to learn and it’s hard to trust. But lately I’ve been reminding myself that God’s power is perfected in weakness. That is so reassuring! So I encourage you to “feel the vibe” and embrace all you are in Christ. Be thankful that God will use your weakness to show His power.
2 Corinthians 12:9
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.