My whole life, I've been afraid to fail.
I don't know why.
I am more than certain that my parents did not instill this in me. They pushed us to be the best we could be, yes. They had high expectations for us, yes. But I can't remember a single time when I tried, failed, and was made to feel unworthy by the two people charged with raising me up.
Still. Failure equals fear.
Somewhere along the line, fear of failure turned itself into fear of mediocrity.
What if I turn out normal? What if all that can ever be said of me is that I am average? What if I never achieve greatness? What if I struggle to make ends meet? Always, always this has been wrapped in the idea that I must reflect the work, the love and the care that my parents put into my life.
It took a lot to get me through those many years until my husband stood at the end of an aisle and I became his problem.
I thought, "My parents invested time, energy, and money into my competitive swimming." I must achieve swimming greatness.
"They put much into my education." I must get myself a good career.
"They are good parents." I must find a way to be equally as good.
The list was/is extensive, this feeling that I want to be the very best so that they have something to brag about. Honestly, I've lost sleep at night wondering what they tell other people when they ask. "She's doing well. She...um...raises a couple of kids. The end." And that's all fine and good except most of the time I feel like the kids are raising me.
I'm speaking at a conference in a week and a half and my session is called Pursuit of Perfection. I've studied. I've prayed. I've contemplated the topic. I've done a great deal of self reflection. Why am I the way I am? Why does it matter so much to me that other people see me--and my husband and children, by extension--as more than just average? I don't have an answer beyond wiring--beyond the fact that I was born a ball of bones and sinew and competition. Because, like I said, no one else put this on me.
Yesterday I was driving alone. Praying and thinking and doing a lot of self exploration, I ended up circling the issue again. And it came to me by divine suggestion.
There is only one thing I want for my children, really. There is a great multitude of things I wish for them but there is only one thing that I truly want for them. I want them to love the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind. That's it. That's all I really want.
I can't speak for my parents and the expectations they had/have for their children. But if their wants boil down to this one thing, perhaps I am not living such an average life after all.