As a nation right now, I believe that we are all in the midst of recovering from an illness. And, while it’s been the topic of news article upon news article, and broadcasting story after broadcasting story, this illness is not COVID-19.
It’s a performance-driven life.
Years ago, when I was still a young teenager and fairly new in my faith, I read the popular Rick Warren book “A Purpose Driven Life“. It talked about living a life infused with purpose, given to us by our Creator. But I believe, in recent years as a society we’ve been living something much different—something that, for the purpose of simplicity in this post, I am calling a “performance-driven life”. And I was as sick as the next person.
For most of my life, I’ve noticed that my greatest kryptonite too often is my tendency to equate my self-worth with my ability to live up to my own ideals and standards. And, too often, I can ignore my own emotions and internal warning signs in an effort to try to live up to who I think I’m supposed to be, or who I need to be, in order to keep my life from exploding in a grand volcano of chaos.*
I can remember times, when I wanted so much to be the perfect leader, even in the moments when I felt I was struggling to lead “me”. When I’d work so hard in school, or a part time job even as I was dying and withering away on the inside. When I felt so much pressure to be the “positive” one even as I was literally crying inside—cracking beneath the weight of my own expectations. Moments when I still felt like a little girl trying to be an adult. When I’d sit in guilt over thoughts that I tried my hardest to push out of my mind. Moments when I forgot, on some level, that grace applied to me too.
I’d see people’s social media feeds and feel pressure to live a life just as perfect and interesting and I’d do my best to create the best version of myself through pictures. But recently, so much of life has come to a stop. And it’s forced me to do some serious evaluation. And, it’s made me realize a couple of really important things.
We’re all a mess. As much as we love our organized social media feeds, and the narratives that we tell ourselves about our lives those things are only a fraction of who we are. And as people we need each other—even the most introverted and independent among us. We weren’t created for this world that we’ve created for ourselves. Where we airbrush images and call it beauty. Where we follow each other on social media and call it friendship. Where we talk about the weather or the latest music video by our favorite artist and think that we’re truly connecting.
Through this quarantine, as awful in some ways as it has been, I’ve had so many heart to hearts with friends about the real stuff that we’re dealing with. The rawness and the places where light invades our cracks that makes us humans. Through this “thing” that we’re experiencing as a society I have learned to appreciate people so much more. And I don’t want to continue life after this thing is over like nothing has changed. I don’t want to take people in my life for granted. I don’t want to look at the mundane as insignificant. And I don’t want to stay on surface level conversations—rarely going deep with the tribe of people God has placed in my life.
Maybe something had to die (normalcy) for us to learn how to truly live.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to go through the motions one more day.
I want to live a life infused with a passion bestowed by our Creator—creating a better “normal” for myself and the people around me.
Because that is what it means to live. And that is what it means to be alive.
“A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter,[a] and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, [b] more than you expect[c]—life in its fullness until you overflow!” – John 10:10 (TPT).
*Yes, I can be dramatic sometimes.