Every day, we hear subliminal messages about how we fall short. Everyone has a list of all the things we must do to succeed in life. If we don’t do all those things, we must be failing, right??? The internet is full of articles written by “experts” who claim to have more ways for you to strive to be perfect…
10 Things You Must Do with Your Child Today (Tomorrow Is Too Late!)
5 Things Healthy Couples Must Do (Those Who Only Do 4 Are Doomed for Misery)
54 Books Your Child Must Read (Or You Will Ruin Them Forever)
93 Foods That Are Killing You (Stop Eating Them or You Will Die Next Week)
The “experts” are full of new information to save you from yourself. With each new article we read, we feel more like failures.
Today, I was reading through a study guide for Vicki Courtney’s book, Move On. Vicki was talking about the pressure our culture places on us to appear perfect and flawless. We must have a perfectly decorated and organized home…just ask Pinterest. We must have beautiful children who pose for perfect pictures on dream vacations…just ask Facebook. In the middle of maintaining a perfect home and holding down the perfect job to pay for our perfect vacations, our church also expects us to volunteer for this or play for that. Oh…and the non-profits also want a chunk of our time and money. Wait!! What about the kids?? I have to teach them how to read by age three and make sure they have all the latest craft supplies so I can make them the coolest doll accessories.
As I was wading through the study questions, I felt the pressure to finish all of this week’s assignment. After all, I couldn’t have people thinking I was a slacker. Don’t I have to appear like I have it “all-together”? Then I sensed God questioning me. “Carol, what is more important? Blowing through all the questions so that I can gain the approval of man? Or taking time to find out what I want those questions to reveal?”
Enough. It’s time to rethink all of this pressure.
The answer was actually handed to me yesterday. One daughter was upset because someone called her a name. My mother-in-law intervened with a story from Max Lucado about little wooden people who lived in a village near their Creator. These little Wemmicks had a bad habit of placing stickers on each other. If a Wemmick was talented or attractive, the other wooden people placed star stickers on them. If a Wemmick was awkward, clumsy, or unattractive, the others gave them grey dots to wear. One sad little man was covered with grey dots…until he met a Wemmick with no dots at all. He discovered that the more time the stickerless Wemmick spent with the Creator, the less she cared about what the others thought about her. They tried to give her stars and dots, but the stickers just fell off. The sad little Wemmick followed her advice and soon he, too, was only concerned with the Creator’s opinion. He was no longer sad, but peaceful and contented.
Just like the imaginary Wemmicks, we must also spend time with our Creator to free ourselves from the chains of popular expectations.
The next time I am stressing to accomplish something, I will stop and ask: “Am I doing this for the approval of people or God?”
“So don’t worry about having enough food or drink or clothing. Why be like the pagans who are so deeply concerned about these things? Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.” —Matthew 6:31-33 (NLT)
For more information on the books mentioned above: