Healthy Introspection

Introspection: the examination or observation of one’s own mental and emotional processes.

I am an overly introspective person.

Is there a group called Over-Introspective Anonymous? 

If so, I need to go because the amount of time that I spend thinking things through is astronomical.

And annoying…..

There’s nothing wrong with knowing what you believe.

There’s nothing wrong with critical thinking.

It’s just that some of my “thinking” is actually tied to people pleasing. 


I am a recovering people pleaser and perfectionist. Old habits die hard. Just when I think that I’ve gotten it under control….

Well, you know how that sentence ends.

If your thoughts constantly revolve around “What will people think of me?” then that’s a sign that people pleasing is your motive. 

Eleanor Roosevelt once said:

“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”

Loosen up!

It’s okay.

You’re okay.

Keep moving towards your dreams.

Put away the measuring stick. There’s no need to compare yourself to others. You’re not them and they’re not you. 

I say all of these things as reminders to myself, but I know that we’ve all been there.

This is when the healthy use of introspection comes in handy. 

I only noticed my old habits creeping back in after reading through my last few posts and thinking back on several conversations from earlier in the week.

Now I know what areas need more attention. 

And it has nothing to do with what someone else thinks and everything to do with me growing, which is the natural byproduct of healthy introspection.

Getting past minor snafus 

I had a messy moment at work today. 

My attitude needed adjusting and perfectionism tried to pick a fight with me–and at the same time, too!

I am a Christian, which means I don’t have to be controlled by feelings, but I’m also human. 

Choosing to not react to my feelings and frustrations is tough. 

The situation I faced was not a big deal at all. Some poorly written instructions collided with my first time using a computer program. 

Despite the challenges, Step 1 of my project was completed. 

The minor snafus of life are true tests of our ability to respond instead of react. 

I didn’t fail the test, but I didn’t make an “A” either. 

It’s easy for me to become cynical about whatever I perceive to be the problem. 

Not everything, though, has to be a tragedy. 

Life happens. 

Most of the things that irritate me are small in scale. I just have to get over myself. 

It’s not the end of the world to make mistakes, to mess up, to drop the ball. 

What’s important is to learn from your mistakes and move forward. 

Did you hear me?

Move forward!

Quit your pouting.  

And if you can’t tell already, this post is more of a note to myself. 

Change of plans

This Monday did not go according to plan, but it turned out much better than I could’ve imagined. 

Some days everything gets changed on a dime–and that throws me for a loop. 

I’m learning, though, that a change of plans doesn’t mean the whole day is ruined. 

Goodness…I’m a slow learner. 

Rolling with the punches is not my strong suit. I have to consciously say, “Life will go on.

(I try to be as easy going as possible, but my perfectionist side sneaks up on me.)

Keep this in mind as Christmas gets closer. 

What’s most important is not having everything go according to schedule. 

And I hope you guys are faster at learning this lesson than I am.

The things left undone

Many years ago, a friend of mine introduced me to the Book of Common Prayer. I must admit that it didn’t take at first…

Everyone saying the same prayer?

The entire gathering scripted from beginning to end?

The notion seemed backward and antiquated. 

(I’m thankful the Lord forgives us for our ignorance.)

Eventually, I understood the value of this style of worship. I fell in love with the poetry and the historicity of liturgical literature. 

Here’s my favorite prayer:

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent, for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

What’s been left undone can haunt me. We’ve talked a lot about what it means to be enough. 

The things left undone can send me spiraling into “I’m not enough” faster than anything else. 

Friend, you’ll never be enough on your own. If you could do that Jesus’ sacrifice would be unnecessary. 

Do the best you can right where you find yourself. There’s grace for where you falter. 

There’s nothing wrong with recognizing your own limitations or acknowledging areas that need improvement. That’s why the above prayer speaks to me so much. 

I need help, I mess up, but my confidence remains firm in a gracious God who equips me to do all things. 

Perfectionism is a choice

IMG_1566If perfection is unattainable, why do we keep striving for it?

Nothing will ever be perfect. The sooner you and I realize this simple truth, the sooner you and I can enjoy our beautiful, yet messy, lives.

Social media is filled with “inspirational” quotes and pictures about how no one is perfect. Thank you, Captain Obvious, this is not news.

Or is it?

Our obsession with warning others about the trap of perfectionism is an indication that many of our friends and family really believe it’s an obtainable goal.

And this is coming from a girl who knows its a trap and frequently makes the insane choice to walk right in it….

Notice, though, what I said: I know it’s a trap and I choose to step in it.

It’s time to get honest.

We all know that perfection is unobtainable, but continue to chase after it.

Maybe what we need is for our friends and family to say, “Stop it!” instead of hearing another inspirational message about embracing the messiness of life.

So, my sweet friends, I think it’s time for us to make a few changes. In order to do that, though, we’ll need to acknowledge the facts:

  1. You will never be perfect.
  2. Life can be hard and unfair.

Now, let’s look at those facts from the gospel’s perspective:

  1. Perfection was never an option. If we could be perfect, we wouldn’t need a Savior. Jesus lived the perfect life and then gave us all the wonderful benefits that go along with it.
  2. Even though life is not fair, we have God’s promises on our side. Everything–both fair and unfair–must work together for our good. Those are some great odds when faced with a challenge.

If you struggle with perfectionism, know that I understand your struggle because it’s my own.

My only request is that you be proactive in your efforts to avoid the trap. In the end, it’s your responsibility to make the necessary changes.


The problem with being spiritual

I’m more spiritual than you.

  • I read my Bible more.
  • I listen to cool worship music.
  • I never miss an opportunity to be at church.
  • I have 12,000 pictures on social media dedicated to Christian activities.

Because that’s what Christianity is all about.

Being spiritual.

Except that it’s not.

And, besides, how can anyone be more spiritual than someone else?

We’re all spirit beings. Every human on this planet is a spirit, has a soul, and lives in a body.

So please drop the “everything I do and say must be perceived as spiritual” act.No one is buying it.

I have this recurring thought that will not go away:

What if all church buildings were closed down?

What if every trace of Christianity was wiped off the internet?

Would Christianity survive such a fate?

Your faith has to be planted deeply in the soils of a rich, intimate communion with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Most Christians do not have a deep understanding of their beliefs.

Maybe that’s because we spend more time posting “spiritual” things online than we do reading our Bible or even living out our faith.

I’m including a link to a study conducted by the American Bible Society titled “The State of the Bible: 2014” for those who want to read more on the subject.

I want us to think about the heart behind it all.

It bothers me that our precious faith is so marginalized–both inside and outside the church–when it’s potential to change hearts and lives is beyond compare.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

What are some of the problems you see with the quest to be more “spiritual”?

Building Windmills

Choices, choices

Choices, choices

Today I needed pens for my office and I had 518 options.

Not everyone has these kind of options.

In The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, William Kamkwamba built a windmill using parts from a junkyard. He did it without modern tools too. 

There were no trips to Lowe’s or Home Depot to agonize over 50 brands of hammers.

And William still managed to bring electricity to Malawi.

A whole country found hope because one boy got busy.

What could be accomplished if we stopped complaining about not having the right tools? The right education? The right job?

You can own 518 different pens and never write that book. A garage full of tools and never rebuild that classic car. harnessing wind

Are too many options crippling us as a people?

My circumstances will never be perfect enough to do ___________.

Yours won’t either.

As a kid, I rarely had a complete set of toys.

I collected toys from yard sales and thrift shops. I made my toys houses out of cardboard boxes.

Countless hours were spent weaving stories in my own little world.

What I had was enough. My imagination had no limits.

And then adulthood crashed my party.

“You’re an adult now. Play time’s over.” is something I’ve heard a lot since graduating college.

But I don’t want to spend half my life hating my life.

I’m willing to pay the price for doing things differently. It’s better, to me, than waking up one day and realizing I’ve been asleep for 50 years.

Which brings me back to having enough….

Here’s my favorite definition of contentment:

Contentment is knowing that I already have everything I need to be happy.

What I have–right now–is enough.

There’s nothing I can’t accomplish if I already have what I need.

It’s time for you and I to build some windmills.

One Uppers and Comparisons

We’ve all told a story and had someone pull a one up.

I’ve told a one up story or two or twenty….

It’s something that I am more conscious of now as I hang out with friends because there’s nothing worse than being one upped.

No one likes a One Upper either.

Here’s an example:

My first bass

My first bass

I went fishing this summer and caught two (small) large mouth bass–my first–along with a few brim and trash fish. It was a big deal for me! I was excited. Pictures were taken and hoorahs were shared with my family.

A few days later, I told an acquaintance about the trip.

“That’s nothing. I’ve caught 25 fish during one trip.”

My first catfish

My first catfish (It was a baby)

I had to admit their story was better.

Fishing is something I enjoy, but I’m not very good at it. I could’ve caught a lot of fish that day. However, my dead cat like reflexes, combined with being distracted by the beauty of the scene around me, meant that many fish passed me by (after eating my bait, of course).

I was still proud, though, of my two fish.

My conversation ended like this:

“Wow. It sounds like you had a great time. I’m pretty sure I haven’t caught 25 fish in my lifetime. But I am proud of my haul. I had fun too.”

Remember how I told you perfectionism is the enemy?

Comparison is an enemy too.

Someone will always be bigger, better, prettier, more talented, and smarter than you.

But what the world needs is for you to show up.

There’s only one ____________ (insert your name here).

You are special.

I know it’s easy to forget–I do it all the time!

Some days it feels like I’m the most average, boring person in the world.

But that is not true.

Put your measuring stick away.

You are special.

You are enough.

Facing old enemies

Perfectionism really is the enemy. 

Everything you’ve heard about perfectionism is true. 

You will never win and nothing will be enough when you’re a perfectionist. 

I am a recovering perfectionist. 

  And today I experienced a major relapse. 

Normally, as I learn sign language, making mistakes does not bother me. 

Today, though, I froze while voice interpreting and I did not recover well from the stumble either. 

I allowed my mistake to throw me off. A few tears were shed…

My old fiend, Perfection, mocked me and I listened. He’s close friends with Satan, so he’s really good at his job. 

Thankfully, my friend and mentor refused to let me stew over the mishap for too long. 

I’m glad she stopped me from hanging out in that ditch. 

If you find yourself in a ditch today, I want to help you get out too. Don’t allow perfectionism to steal your joy and happiness. 

Do your best and move on!

Keep trying!

And know that I–and all the other encouragers in your life–will not let you stay in the ditch. 

Get back on the road where you belong.