Editor’s Note: DCSC volunteer Kate reflects on a sentiment offered by a good friend that has helped re-shape the ways she understands both herself and her relationship with God.
These are the words that a good friend and spiritual mentor of mine, BryAnna, told me to repeat to myself when my soul feels torn. When I start comparing myself to others. When I feel undeserving of God’s love. When my temper is short. When I am tempted to gossip. When I am feeling less than whole. When the world is telling me that I could be better and I repeatedly fail to meet its expectations.
I never considered myself a perfectionist because I hated the negative connotations that came with the word. What’s so wrong with wanting to be your best? This need to excel at everything became apparent in school, artwork, friendships, and relationships. Most of all, I have strived to be perfect in my personal relationship with God.
Theology is not a passion of mine. I have tried time and time again to be consistent with praying the rosary, participating in daily meditations, and learning about the Catholic Church. But every time I fail to continue these patterns, I feel deeply disappointed with myself and can’t help but think that God must be disappointed with me too.
Living in a house with 13 other people, comparison has been a long-time guest in the back of my mind. Always thinking about how I’m too opinionated, too blunt, not a good Catholic, and not enough. I am growing to love living in an intentional community, but it is hard. There is always someone around to look at and think “why can’t I be more like them?”
When I tell BryAnna these thoughts, she immediately puts me into place, saying “Kate, those thoughts are not God. God is only love, he is not the pressure to be perfect. He is not the voice telling you that you are a failure. God is patient and kind and he loves us more than we could ever understand. He created us to be unique, not the same.”
It’s the human condition to fail. I’m not supposed to be perfect because it’s not possible! I am not supposed to strive to be anyone but my authentic self, and that means excelling at some things and failing at others.
Every single person I live with brings a unique contribution to our table. Some people are quiet, others loud. Some nights are full of lively conversations and others are quiet with no noise but the sound of our forks scraping our plates. Just like my relationship with my community, my relationship with God will have ups and downs and will always require effort. But in both, I am striving to involve God in every thought, word, and action that my soul partakes in.
Reflection: I encourage you to try repeating “If it’s not of you God, I don’t want it” and see how your mindset on some things changes.