I am going to attempt to be better. In a lot of things, in the little things, in all things.
Is this desire to be better really a desire for my competitive self to be the BEST?
No. Well, not really in the personal sense.
You see, I am a very driven individual. Left to my own demise I could probably railroad just about anyone to make sure I came out on top. I have this inner desire to be the best at everything.
I am a winner.
I like the idea of being number 1--I like the praise that comes with being number 1. In school I would bend myself into a pretzel to make sure I was in the top of the heap. I would study, practice, smile, and do everything I needed to do to make people like me for me.
And that "me" was a winning combination--or at least I thought so.
It's funny how I determined my worth on the amount of admirers I had, or the way my friends spoke to me, or how the teachers praised my hard work. What I lacked in scholastic ability (mainly of the math variety) I made up for with respectful behavior and good manners. Even if I was dangerously close to failing trig or the other advanced maths, my teachers loved me because I was very nice.
I didn't try to be fake about being nice, it was just the right thing to do. My feeble attempt to be better actually wasn't all that bad. And it wasn't about being an impostor, it was me actually trying to be the best--Miss Manners-style.
This crazy sense of competition is what drives me. I like the thrill of the challenge. I like knowing how to play the game to win. The unknown freaks me out, but I can master the routine.
In the meantime, I have gotten married and had two cute little girls. The desire to be numero uno has been replaced trying to encourage them to be the best they can be. Sometimes I get sooo frustrated with Chris and his lack of motivation to be the best. Yes, he likes to do things well and get things done, but to him it's not important to be the best (at least not for the things that I feel are very important--like keeping the house clean, children wearing matching clothes, eating well-balanced meals, or avoiding clutter). His motivation is to be a good husband, good minister, good daddy, and a good relaxer. I am the tumbleweed in the family--blowing in, swirling things around (Quick! Molly needs her lunchbox packed! Quick! There is clutter overtaking my world!!! Quick! We have 782397029743 things to do in the next hour!!!)
I think my sense of control hit an all time high after Molly was born and I realized that life was so precious and at any moment she, or I, could be taken away.
And I was NOT ok with that thought.
So, I went into a horrible place in which I controlled my world and shut Jesus OUT.
I'll just say it was not cute. I was not the winner. And it was not praiseworthy behavior.
I'm trying to let my life not be about winning or losing.
How do I lose if I put others first?
How do I lose if I commit to love my husband better than I love myself?
How do I lose if I commit to take care of the needs of our house and family?
My aim has shifted. My desire to be number 1 is still in tact, but in different ways.
When I look at things I dislike about myself I see where my desire to be number 1 has moved.
Not happy with body image? Yeah, because I let my food and exercises choices control me. Gluttony. (Ew. What a terrible word fitting of a terrible sin!)
Not happy with clutter? Yeah, because I choose to spend my time on meaningless activities OR over-booking our family with activities and commitments. Not taking time to rest like we are commanded.
Not happy with my wardrobe? Yeah, because I am too concerned with appearances. Pride. "Consider the lilies. . ."
The list goes on and on.
Sometimes I think about where I've come from and where I'm headed and I'm not always sure I made the right decisions along the way. Did my feeble attempts to be better put me in the best situations? Can I really be the BEST homemaker, the BEST friend, the BEST teacher, the BEST person?
No. (oh, how a little piece of me dies when I admit that out loud. . .)
It's draining to be the best. Even in a ministry family it's emotionally, physically, and spiritually exhausting to be the best. Everyone's needs come before our own at times. We must keep up appearances of realistic perfection. We must be there at certain activities because it's expected--we know how people talk about us when we're not there (thank goodness at Christ's Church that's not a huge problem. I love worshipping with rational people!!!!)
So, I'm going to be better.
A better me. The girl that loves her Jesus, her husband, her family, and herself.
I will continue to strive to be my personal best, but I will stop making myself emotionally vulnerable for the pleasure of others.
I do not have to be THE best, just the best me.