giving up on good

tinytwig-baby

I have this fear. I am terrified to not consistently make the best choices. I grew up in a high performance family, in a high performance town, with grandparents that were extremely fiscally responsible. To top it off, my parents split up when I was a tween–and I lived trying to not add to the conflict (did anyone watch the New Girl when, in a flashback, tiny little girl Zooey/Jess was tap dancing and singing Cheap Trick’s Surrender to lighten the mood between her arguing parents??).

I try to do right by everyone, all the time. Can I tell you something you probably already know? It is an exhausting way to live.

Why am I terrified to make a “less than perfect” decision? I’m certain I simply want to be liked (really, deeply though…loved) and to not rock the boat.

I hate being dictated by fear.

Hoping to make good decisions and hoping to never (ever!) make a mistake are two very different pursuits. I think I have a deep down fear that if I make a mistake, I will lose out on love. Bridging the gap between mistakes, disappointment, and reconciliation has never been a strong point in my family. I’ve carried that tendency into adulthood, sins of our fathers. It’s birthed this great, big, uglier than ugly, disabling fear.

We all know what happens when smoldering patterns aren’t stomped out when recognized…they breed and plumb the depths and send down tenacious roots. I can’t possibly pass that legacy to my children in good conscience…one where my love and affections are earned by living a flawless life.

Will you share what “good” you are giving up on this week? You can link up here or over at Jessi’s.

19 Comments

  • Reply May 24, 2012

    HopeUnbroken

    oh, how i know this! and then, finally, my sister asked, “when did you start thinking that everything depends on you and your choices?”
    and i felt the shackles fall. a little bit. i keep shaking them off a bit more here and there, refusing to take them back on again.
    is not God ultimately in control? for that’s what she was really asking me. do my choices matter? sure. but are they the ALL IN ALL?
    NO.
    and so i continue to seek Him and the rest He gives by His ability to carry all things effortlessly.
    you’re right. it’s exhausting to live the other way. much more peaceful to let it all go. :-)

    steph

  • Reply May 24, 2012

    Rebecca

    I can totally identify. It’s something God has been working on with me, especially in my marriage. My husband comes from a stereotypical, loud, Italian family, and I come from the quiet, brooding, don’t rock the boat family. Add in a verbally abusive boyfriend in HS to the mix, and there I was, several years into a good marriage, still scared to death to “fight well” with my husband. I was so afraid I would say the wrong thing that if we had an argument, I would just clam up. There was so much freedom when Ben finally told me to just say something, he didn’t care if it came out wrong at first. If I at least started somewhere, we could work through our differences. It helped me let go of that unfounded fear that he would love me less, or even leave me if I did or said something wrong, and our marriage is so much stronger now.
    BTW, I really love this series. Thank you for sharing. It really helps with the insecurity and comparison that can so easily come up when reading blogs and FB.

  • Reply May 24, 2012

    Ashley

    Hayley,
    I can completely identify with this. I, too, seek to make others happy even if it sacrifices the happiness for my self. I appreciate this post & your un-canny ability to make me feel more calm about the way that I am. It is not a negative feeling – but something that I can, in fact, change. Thank you for the encouragement and helping me to know that I am not alone. I feel better knowing that I don’t have to be perfect, I don’t have to make perfect decisions, and not everything in life is absolutely perfect.

  • Reply May 24, 2012

    Nicole J

    I’m not a fan of rocking the boat either. Looking back, I think I missed out on a lot of things because I didn’t want to make a decision that would be “weird,” “different,” or “wrong.” I usually make the expected decision or a decision because I fear the other way.
    I often let fear and worry be my companions–instead of God’s truth. I, too, hate to be dictacted by fear (he’s not an encouraging companion!). Thanks for speaking these words today!

  • Reply May 24, 2012

    Christina

    Hayley,
    I love this. When I was a kid, everyone constantly harped on “my potential” (still hate that phrase), and I have always worried about “living up to my potential.” Is this the absolute best decision to make right now?

    I can even feel anxious about really stupid stuff. (What should I do this weekend? What else is going on? Is there a better pair of blue jeans somewhere else that’s more worth the money? Is someone having more fun than me right now?!?)

    Love this series, too…I’ll be linking up later, hopefully. About giving up on good hair. :)

    • Reply May 24, 2012

      jennifer

      I hate the whole potential phrase, too! It’s so limiting, and adds so much unnecessary pressure….

  • Reply May 24, 2012

    jennifer

    I am so with you on this! I’ve actually been struggling with this a lot this week, and I’m glad to know I’m not alone. I think once you’re in the “perfect”-all-the-time mindset, it’s really hard to get out of. I find it’s especially hard when you receive positive reactions from others for making the “right” choices. I think my fear of not pleasing or helping others keeps me stuck in this place.

  • Reply May 24, 2012

    Jamie

    I can totally identify! Unfortunately, I would never write a post like this for fear my mom would read it. That kind of defeats the purpose huh? God has really been working on me in this area. My husband and I are seeking God’s will about having a 4th child, something I’m well aware my parents are against. The Lord has been challenging me to seek to please Him alone. Thank you for your bravery and transparency, it’s so encouraging!

    I’m so thankful for all the awesome women I’m encountering thanks to #SheReadsTruth.

    Purposedpath.com

  • I have often made choices based on whether I was doing my best. Sometimes it seemed like whatever I did, it was never enough for approval. I think a lot of that was in my head. Regardless, I am trying to make good choices for my family and I, and be willing to make mistakes. An action doesn’t always have irreparable consequences. And, I also don’t want to subject my children to the same bondage. I am trying to loosen up with them. Laugh more at spills. Cheer their interests and successes.

  • Reply May 24, 2012

    Corrie Anne

    totally saw that new girl episode. :) i’m loving this series as well. i have sort of an all-or-nothing mentality that can be harmful at times when i’m giving my “all” to something that’s not necessary or “the best.”

  • Reply May 24, 2012

    Renee

    I am slowly weaning myself off of the people pleasing. Some people like the change while others do not. Oh Well! Have a Great Day:)

  • Oh gosh! How many times are we defined by “good” instead of “best” or “truthful”? In my own life, I’m learning to give up all the expectations I have on myself to be perfect. I hate making mistakes. I’ll forgive anyone for their sins, mistakes, flops, etc. Yet I have the hardest time forgiving myself.

    The funny thing, is that if I hold myself to perfection, I never trust myself to do the job I know I’m capable of. My fear of my own ability holds me back from actually being the woman of God I know I’m supposed to be. My being redeemed (and not “good”) is what perfects me in Christ. And that true perfection through redemption is more holy and godly than my own definition of “perfect”.

  • Reply May 24, 2012

    Virginia

    I love this linkup! In my quiet times I’m reading through Romans and laughed as I ran across the verses in chapter 12 and wrote a post. Then God brought me to this post at the end and I remembered the challenge. He’s calling me to give up a lot of good to do what He has gifted me in.

  • Reply May 24, 2012

    Robin morgan

    Hayley,
    I think you’re doing a GREAT job breaking that cycle. I love to watch how affirming you are to your boys. And your boys will pass that along to their families, etc. etc. You have a very special little family!

  • Reply May 24, 2012

    eileen marie

    You described me.exactly. (I have to say the photos of you as a child are precious, but the last one looks like it could have been taken yesterday -I forget how young you are!)

  • Reply May 24, 2012

    Stacy

    You sound like me. I have divorced parents and need to always make everyone happy and I feel the need to be perfect. I too hate making people upset. Thanks for sharing

  • Reply May 27, 2012

    Tracy

    You are NOT alone! I’m so fearful of making the wrong choices that I can’t make a choice, talk about frustrating! I have gotten better, but its a difficult challenge. For me, it stems from guilt. I’m a people pleaser and when I feel like I’ve failed someone I feel a tremendous amount of guilt that its my fault.

    As I’ve gotten older, approaching 40, when my Mother tries to guilt me into something I can instantly say “you cannot control me with guilt, I love you, but it won’t work” We laugh it off and move on, but inside it still effects me.

  • Reply May 27, 2012

    Chelsea

    Identifying with this.

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