Jesus shows project manager His acceptance
C grew up with a subconscious vow to prove herself to her mother, without realising the destructive effect this inner vow had on her relationship with her boyfriend. As she sought the Holy Spirit’s counsel through prayer, God showed her that she didn’t need to prove anything to anyone and that He loves her for who she is. Praise God!
Christian family? Not quite…
I grew up in a family where everyone is baptised, we would go to church on Sundays, my sibling and I went to Christian schools, and so on – but honestly, God was sadly never honoured as the centre of the family.
I grew up under the influence of my high-achieving sibling. Loved and blessed as I felt, there was always pressure to attain equally high results and deep shame if I couldn’t achieve them, especially with the resources and opportunities I was given.
My mother was another influential figure in my childhood.
She was strict, controlling, and had a fluctuating temper. I grew up in a household where there would always be sudden emotional eruptions, and I would always fear to do something unintentionally to provoke her.
Due to the high and expressed expectations of my mother, I grew up forming an image of who I was based on those expectations.
This drove me to become very independent, disciplined and always striving for excellence.
I told myself I need to be independent so I no longer need to live under the control of my mother. I told myself I need to do well, exceptionally well, so as to prove my mother wrong for not believing in me. I became a perfectionist, believing I needed to have everything meticulously planned out so I don’t miss out on any opportunity to do well and don’t ‘waste’ any resources that I have been given. I disciplined myself very harshly, using the high standards of my strict mother, having high expectations on myself during school and even as I started work.
This spilled over to my relationship with my dating partner.
I started having equally high expectations on him, not considering his upbringing, abilities, or God-given gifts. I would use my ‘knowledge and experience’ to judge the health of our relationship and drive plans for us, thinking these would be the best plans. I failed to acknowledge his uniqueness, given he was very different from me. Totally forgetting he is also God’s handmade masterpiece, I always tried to impose my standards of excellence and expectations on him, thinking I knew the better.
I also had an inner vow to not be like my mother in how she treated my soft and gentle father.
I put extra pressure on myself to love my partner to the best of my knowledge, with all my strength and ability. I read books on how to be a loving partner, I always considered him first in everything (well, so I thought), and as a result, I also expected change and response on his part. Unfortunately, all this was out of my own strength and ‘plan’. I thought I was being considerate, understanding, and patient. But now, I know I was far from all those things.
This, of course, put a lot of pressure on my partner.
I was expecting him to be someone God hadn’t made him to be. I was expecting the relationship to go in a way that, now with the benefit of hindsight, God hadn’t intended for it to go – at least not at this time.
Our relationship nearly came to a breaking point. Finally, we reached out for help and had a prayer session, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to us what is in our heart; what are the lies or patterns that we have become so accustomed to that is so badly distorting our vision of God’s will for us.
During the prayer session, the Holy Spirit revealed to me that I have idolised my mother.
I had made her the source of my identity.
The prayer counsellor was somehow prompted by the Holy Spirit to ask about my growing up years. Deep pain, fear, and sorrow came gushing out of my heart as I started to talk about my childhood. Through several incidents and flashbacks, I realised how fearful I was of my mother as a little girl. Driven by fear, I subconsciously put meeting her expectations, or proving her expectations wrong, at the front and centre of my life.
After all my tearful confessions, the Holy Spirit told me that God loves me.
My Heavenly Father thinks I’m beautiful. He is pleased with me for who I am. He will also use everything in the past and who I have become now to make good out of it. The Holy Spirit went on to show me flowers as well as a path, though winding, but bright and full of hope, lined with flora and fauna.
It was as if God was telling me that despite the lies that have led me to where I am, He is able to redeem anything.
He is able to use what has become of me – independent, disciplined, with plenty of experience to share – to do His work, as long as I am willing to follow the path He has prepared for me.
After spending some time praying and distilling the visions and emotions, I have been able to connect the dots and draw out (amongst many) the below truths that have given me freedom ever since:
- Learning my own identity – as God’s masterpiece, as God’s daughter who is loved, who is equipped, who is called for His purpose. No other identity that this world or any human gives me can trump this God-given identity.
- Learning to understand how He has gifted and equipped me – Learning to appreciate how He has made me, rather than trying to be someone He never intended for me to be.
- Learning to appreciate my partner more – In the same way, my partner has been made uniquely and perfectly for God’s purpose. It is not my business to judge or change any of it. But rather to acknowledge his gifts and encourage him to pursue God’s calling for him.
- My one and only role – It really is not my role to ‘fix’ my partner or plan our relationship. Nor do I have the right or ability. I finally realised God’s role in our relationship, and His power and strength are what we need to rely on instead of our own. Even with the best intentions, the enemy can use them to drive us away from God by leading us to believe we can play certain roles in a relationship, or do such and such to make a change. My one and only “role” is to be obedient to our Heavenly Father and focus on my relationship with Him. Nothing else matters as much.
- Change of heart – When we feel stuck and want a change, we often look to changing our actions, behaviours, or attitude. But it is only the Holy Spirit who can change hearts. And only when hearts change, can there be hope of true change, and the selfless love that comes from within.
- Truly putting Him first – It’s important to intentionally let go of other obligations that life throws at me, making sure I spend time with God as priority. Just like any relationship, having time together is step one for having connection and communication. If I am to understand my Heavenly Father and be able to listen to him, feel loved by him, spending time with him is step number one!
- Less burdened in the relationship and life in general – I no longer think it’s my responsibility to ‘fix’ things that aren’t working in the relationship or to plan how the relationship develops. I now have the best ‘Planner’ in the world (Heavenly Papa!) to do the planning for me, to ‘fix’ the issues for me – all I need to do is to pray, listen, and follow. This applies to my relationships with my partner, family, work, and anything else in life.
- Truly ‘independent’ – I no longer thirst of the love and care and recognition from others. To no longer look to my mother for approval. To no longer look to my partner for attention and love. To no longer put the burden on another human being to care for me. For God is the one and only one who’s love will never fail us, who can take care of us 24/7, who will always look at us and be pleased with who we are.
Do all these sound familiar? Yes, it’s all written in the Bible! To have no other idol, to love God, to not worry and leave it to God. It’s in the Bible that God loves us and is our sole source of living water, that the number one commandment is to love God and put Him first, that our identity is His beloved child, and that He will always be there for us.
How did it take me so much time and tears to figure this out? If only I had listened and obeyed!
By the way, the Holy Spirit also showed me something else that day. On the path Heavenly Papa has prepared for me, I could see my partner, but he wasn’t exactly walking with me. Why is that? I don’t know. Will we end up walking together on God’s path? I don’t know. But what I do know is, God gave me a sense of peace to keep walking. My Father in heaven told me that all is okay, He is with me. I don’t need to know everything now. He will reveal to me one day when the time is right. All I need to do is keep walking. Keep trusting in Him.
The story, my story, is still in the writing.
But instead of trying to flip to the end chapter, or trying to control how each chapter is being written, I am living out the story page by page, with faith, with excitement, knowing that the greatest Story-writer has the pen. It’s going to be wild, but I know it’s going to be great because it’s going to be full of Him.
#perfectionist #motherexpectations #bestplanner #identityinChrist #wildgreatfullofGod
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