Thursday, June 2, 2011


Part of the military mindset is that "we can do anything" - you can survive weeks or months without dad, you can pick up and move every three years, you can make new friends, etc...

Combine that with an attitude toward my cancer in which complaining, or being sad, or resisting any tests or procedures was met with "Yes, honey, I know, but this is how it is."  Afterwards, anyone who ever said to us, "I don't how you managed it", received the reply, "You do what you have to."

My whole life, I have never had permission to fail.  At anything.  I had a 4.0 GPA in high school, and a 3.6 GPA in college.  I hated myself for that college GPA.  Still do, really.

I was raised with the idea that if anything in life is remotely worth achieving, one should buck up and summon all one's willpower, moral courage, and physical effort to accomplish it. 

I cannot count the number of times I have heard, "You're so good at everything you do, I know if you just put your mind to it (being more organized, losing weight, keeping the house cleaner, studying, etc...), you would do wonderful at that, too." 

I will never wear my mother's wedding dress.  I could weigh 80 pounds and still be fat.  I will probably not score in the 95th percentile when I take the GRE this fall.  I chew my fingernails.  I keep too much "stuff."  I reward myself with food.  I have not read nearly as many books as I planned during my internship. I am not a "lady."  I walk like a freak.  I hardly ever wear skirts.  I say "yeah" instead of "yes".  I sleep late. 

These are among the many moral failures in my life. 

I put so much pressure on myself to be 100% perfect, tops, the best, most amazing person ever at everything I even contemplate attempting.  If I say, "I'm not very good at  __________"  I immediately follow it up with, "but I suppose I could be if I tried."  This applies to everything from losing 20 pounds to running a marathon to becoming a desert hermit ala Anthony of the Desert. 

I would love the freedom to fail, except that if I had that, I wouldn't even know what to do with it.  I don't really like rural ministry.  But I could do it, and be good at it, and rural people need pastors, so maybe I should just suck it up and plow forward and do it, because I can. 

I can live a lonely life without friends or family to love, or talk to, or engage with intellectually, because, you know, God is all I need. 

I should get a PhD because I would be good at it, and we all know my intellectualism is about all I have going for me, so there's no stopping until I get to the top.

I don't know how to not be a perfectionist, but I need to.  I'm going to give myself a heart attack by the time I'm 40. 


felicitouschick said...

Ack! Be gentle with you! I love you because of everything about you--it is okay for me not to be perfect, because you aren't either. You make it safe for me to be me. Don't "should" and "supposed to" yourself. You are wildly gifted; now just figure out where you are called! I know, that is a pretty huge "just," right?! ;) God has called you into an earthly inheritance that He has equipped you for; He wants it to be joyful for others, but ALSO FOR YOU! He loves you, we love you--because you are Katie, and you persevere, and you triumph, but you are not plastic. No heart attacks ever--whatever it is you are destined for needs you too much! <3

Elizabeth of Hungary said...

Thank you. I ♥ you too. (And if you want your hearts to show up as ♥, hold down "Alt" and press the 3 on the number pad (num lock has to be on)

felicitouschick said...

Hmm--not noticing a Num Lock on my laptop, but I did some weird function-y thing to get my apparent 10-key that I never knew I had, working, so we'll see if it shows up all heart-y...Thanks!

Well, based on the preview, not so much-arrgh!

Kevin Haug said...

Elizabeth, do you have a hard time with grace?


Elizabeth of Hungary said...


Not when it comes to dispensing it to others... :)

Kevin Haug said...

LOL!!! That's a good one.

But in all seriousness, I'd encourage you to meditate a bit on what it means to also receive it. Been behind the collar for 10 years now, and I would have never made it this far without knowing that grace also extends to me.

Perhaps it's not exactly what you want to hear, but don't sell yourself short on God's grace. When you hear those words of forgiveness being offered in the Confession, they are for you too. Whenever you hear the words "Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins," they are FOR YOU too. Realizing such a gift brings extreme freedom and a powerful sense of humility. I hope you can find this.


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My Comments Policy: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23