I've discovered something. He loves to take what's rightfully mine. My joy. My motivation. My peace. He's so cruel and so sneaky. And so...well...deceptive. You all know who I'm talking about. That ugly old devil. And you know how he does it? By making me feel guilty, condemned, unworthy. By holding my failures to my face and rubbing them in it. By relentlessly pounding my doubts through my mind. Sometimes he uses my own doubts and feelings of failure and sometimes he uses other people and my inability to please them and live up to their standards. Either way, the result is the same. My exuberant joy and zest for life is sucked out of me, my peace of mind is completely wrecked, and my motivation, drive, zeal, and passion are totally quenched. I wish I didn't listen to him every time. But he makes it all sound so true. And sometimes perhaps it is true - I have messed up or been less than or not met that or the other expectation. And other times I have really done the best that I possibly can but he makes me feel that it just wasn't good enough. But, a couple things:
1. I am enough in Christ. I have to remember that God has covered me with Jesus' blood and I am under grace.
2. No one is perfect. I don't know where I have gotten this notion but somehow I have it in my head that I am the only one that fails or messes up. Or maybe just that my mistakes are worse than everyone else's. But this simply isn't true.
3. Since no one is perfect, I am not perfect, and I am therefore going to mess up. So, when it happens, I need to forgive myself and put it behind me. I saw/read/heard something about how great athletes have short memories. They put their failures and mistakes behind them as soon as they happen and move on. I think it's a good life principle as well. Unfortunately, I tend to do the opposite i.e. beat myself up over the mistake or failure over and over and over again. Mistakes are going to happen. I can't change them. I need to find out what I can learn from them for the future and then move on.
4. I can not actually control whether or not I please other people. And technically it isn't my job. Small confession.. I am a people pleaser. Just in general. I mean, random stranger I meet at the grocery store? Guess what. I want them to like me, think well of me, be pleased with my actions, appearance, etc. Now multiply that times a million (I exaggerate only slightly) for any authority figure in my life. Teachers, coaches, bosses, etc. I would basically do anything (within legal and moral bounds just to be clear) to please them and earn their approval, respect, and trust. And if I feel that for any reason I have let them down or failed at this mission of pleasing them, I am crushed. Totally crushed. But, the truth is I cannot actually make people like me or be pleased with me. It is possible that even if I was the most perfect person, student, athlete, or employee ever that it still would not be enough for some people. And since I can't actually be perfect (see point number three), there is even greater possibility that my best is just not going to be good enough for some people. And then there is also the possibility that they may actually be perfectly pleased but just not believe in expressing it or know how to express it. Whatever the case, I have got to stop worrying about what any person, authority figure or not, thinks of me and just do my best and believe in myself regardless if any one else does or not.
5. I do not want Satan to win! I mean he is the enemy and all. I don't want to give him the satisfaction of stealing away my life from me.
6. I have only this one life and I want to live it to the fullest, enjoy every droplet of it, and accomplish as much as I possibly can (actually more). So I am taking my joy and peace and motivation back. So there.