From ourselves. It certainly surprised me when I discovered that fact. So what am I talking about?
Here was my pattern, no matter what I did it was not good enough. Perfectionism was “my master” and I thought that was a good thing 🙂 . But, not so much.
Before I go any further, let me clarify that I had wonderful, loving parents. So I am not parent bashing here. We were the house where all the kids in the neighborhood always wanted to be. My parents literally gave me all the love and everything else they had to give. But you know what – I was created for MORE than that, as are you.
Picture an x/y axis (and no you don’t have to like math to get this 🙂 ). So, 0,0 is the worst parents around; abusive in every way. Go up to 1,000 points and you have June and Ward Cleaver from Leave It to Beaver (for those of you younger than me – think the “perfect” family). Keep going up the scale to 100,000 points and that is what God had in mind for each of us to experience before things got off track in the garden of Eden. That difference between 1,000 and 100,000 is what I’m talking about here — no person can provide that for another person and so as little kids we look for some explanation for whatever lack we are experiencing and that’s where faulty building blocks get formed in our lives. The best way I’ve heard it described is “our childhood solutions become our grown-up problems.” We don’t even know what is transpiring, because we are just kids living our lives, trying to explain our world to ourselves.
So how many details of your childhood do you remember? To give you an idea of what I’m talking about – people that truly study this stuff estimate that each child has approximately 26,000 experiences by the time their are 6 years old!!! Don’t know about you, but I don’t consciously remember all 26,000 experiences but they are still part of me and the beliefs that were formed through them get tucked away in my heart somewhere and become “secrets” (some true, some false) that drive me on a daily basis until I am willing to truly listen to what my heart has to tell me about what I believe on a “gut” level and why I believe it.
Here’s what it looked like for me to have just one of my “secrets” revealed to me.
It was the fall of 1998 and I was about to take another “flying lesson”. I was participating in an inner healing weekend and when it was my turn to process what God brought to mind was a memory of a game my mother used to play with us. We would all be in our kitchen waiting for my Dad to come home so we could have dinner. Dad was a surgeon so his hours were anything but predictable. We had a big picture window in our kitchen and Mom would have me (I was the youngest) stand by the window and watch every car that drove by trying to guess if it was Dad. What I remember most is the winter evenings and in Canada there are alot of those (in the summer we would be outside playing). It was very dark looking out that window watching for the headlights. Many nights Dad never came and we would have dinner without him. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, right? WRONG.
If there were a cue card here it would read “enter faulty belief”. It felt so dark and lonely standing by that window. Why didn’t Dad come? What was wrong with me that he didn’t come home? My 4-6 year-old heart couldn’t rationalize that Dad’s not coming home didn’t have anything to do with me. All my child’s heart knew is I waited and waited and waited on so many nights and he didn’t come. Obviously I was not enough or Dad would come home. What a set-up for perfectionism to enter as “my savior” to try and make me enough to be loved.
As I was reliving that moment of feeling so stuck, so lonely, so not enough suddenly I saw the ceiling of that kitchen literally rolled back like clouds and all this light flooded that room. I felt myself literally lifted out of that place of “just not being enough” straight into God’s embrace. I was free of the darkness of that “secret place” that had driven me for so many years as I was consumed with God’s love.
For me that’s how the barrier of “I’m just not enough” = “I’m not lovable” got put in place. And it truly was a barrier not just for me, but for those around me. I can’t tell you how many times my husband had told me he felt no matter what he did it was never enough. Well, let’s see, how could it be enough when I was not able to receive the love he was offering to me because I believed at my core I was not lovable. Without even knowing it, what I believed about myself was sending him the message thank you sweetie, I know I asked for your love but I’ve gotta bounce it back your way because I don’t deserve it. Talk about confusing signals for the poor man. On the one hand I’m telling him love me, love me, love me, and at the same time I can’t receive his love because I believe I’m unlovable, not enough. I literally apologized to him after this revelation for how my woundedness had hurt him over the years.
Remember I said there was a time I thought perfectionism was a good thing? Well after this revelation I saw perfectionism for what it was: an unforgiving, slave-driver that would never let me rest; a barrier that was like a “force field” that bounced off any compliment I was told or any love that was expressed to me because at my core I just didn’t believe I was “enough”. It wasn’t because love and kindness weren’t being extended to me, it was because my filter of perfectionism would not let me receive it. Sooooo, now are you beginning to see why having perfectionism as my master was not such a good thing?
In that moment of revelation God revealed to me the “secret” that had been driving me all those years and what had put in place my enslavement to perfectionism. In exchange for letting Him show me the secret that had been hiding in my heart I experienced the gift of I know, that I know, that I know – I AM LOVEABLE and LOVED .
Am I perfect – not even close, but I am loveable and loved unconditionally and that is more than enough! All along I had thought what I wanted/needed so desperately was to be perfect; what I had really wanted was to be unconditionally loved. God removed the barrier to receive what had been mine all along and continues to be mine every minute of every day. Do I still aim for excellence in what I do, absolutely! But, when I miss I can still love me; still receive God’s love and still receive the love from those around me … such a deal!
So what “secrets” are driving you?