“Be kind to yourself,” I felt God’s loving voice say to my heart.
I had been studying material completely new to me, and wasn’t doing too well on the practice tests. Yet, I unrealistically expected myself to know the answer to most every question, and each one I missed fired a missile to my heart.
I would become agitated and frustrated with myself – like an unkind teacher slapping a student’s hand with a ruler, I too was being unkind & expecting near perfection.
However, God lovingly reminded me to drop the fear of failure I have carried with me for so long, and to let go of the need for perfectionism I so often pursued. He reminded me my value was never and is never determined by my performance – for He already values and loves me, win or lose, and pass, or fail.
I was there pursuing an interest, and like most dreams, work and sacrifice was required, but not perfectionism. The enemy would love to destroy and vacate any sense of joy, and so my fear of failure was a perfect platform for Him to use against my heart.
Yet, I had a choice – and God reminded me to this. All I was learning was new. So, be kind to myself, and don’t expect to know it all immediately. Enjoy the learning and growing process. Invite patience, and kindness into the mix, and do away with the pride, perfectionism, and unrealistic expectations I had of myself.
For me, this was a powerful moment of introspection and truth from God. I knew I demanded too much of myself and could often be unkind anytime I failed. I would feel guilt, embarrassment and even shame for such things.
Again, God’s voice was gentle, loving and kind – “let it go”. Yet, those words spoke so much more to my heart – let the perfection and performance go. Enjoy the journey with Me. Put in the time, and trust Me to help – invite Me into the process, and to be kind to yourself throughout.
God invited me and reminded me to take this journey together with Him. After all, that’s why I was really taking the time to pursue this interest in the first place – it was an invitation to go alone with Him – to take an adventure, and to learn, grow, and fellowship with Him along the way.
This reminder, was just what I needed – and as I took a break to digest it all, quite literally, the rain clouds that were hanging overhead cleared away, and as I paddled out off the beach, dolphin began encircling my kayak – close enough I could nearly touch them!
I could easily overlook these things of beauty – but I believe it was God showing His kindness, power, and love – reminding me He was with me.
I was then able to return to the books, with less fear and expectation of perfection, but with an eagerness to learn and to pursue something with God – something I was interested in, yes, but more importantly, to engage the invitation to experience the love, communion, and gentleness of my Heavenly Father – and to learn new truths about Him & myself along the way.