During vacation over Christmas, I saw this post on X (Twitter) and it made me laugh - and then it made me think:
As you can see, Kevin’s post went viral, reaching millions of people who shared his struggles.
It reveals how much pressure we place on ourselves to accomplish great things - for ourselves, our spouses, children, parents, nation, maybe for God - even during seasons that we intend to be restful.
One way I respond to this? To try harder not to try so hard.
I think there’s some relief in confessing that we are imperfect and flawed. We ask God for the strength to mature, to gain wisdom, and to love others faithfully. But we never arrive, and it’s okay to admit that it’s not easy to meet the demands of each day in a way that glorifies God.
How does Kevin’s admission make you feel? Does his vulnerability help you accept your own shortcomings?
Interestingly, today I had a conversation with someone who is on the fringes of Christianity and looking in. She observed that every Christian she’s known always ends up in burn out and guilt. They want to do things for others as part of their expression of their love for God, but it always seems to end up with a sense of guilt if they don’t step up to others’ needs. I felt really sad that this was her perception of Christians, and then I thought that it sounded just like me. As Christians, we feel called to ‘perform’. Not that we see it as a performance in the moment, but on reflection I wonder if there is an element of worry that others will doubt the sincerity of our faith if we don’t step up to the next good deed. Personally, I’m aware that I have a terrible fear of letting people down. When I judge that I have, I have an awful sense of guilt! Hence, I try extra hard not to let people down. When it gets to that point, I realise that I’m doing this for others but not for God. My focus has become skewed. Burn out is always a reminder that I’ve lost sight of knowing the difference between doing good things, and doing things that God has called me to do.
@alison , I think I have a very similar mindset as you. Most of my friends are not Christian, and I find myself so worried about what I might say or do wrong that might turn them away. Whenever I mess up I feel like what if it was all my fault that they will not become Christian. It gives me an incredible sense of guilt. As well as almost anything in life. …if I feel I am not giving enough money to charity, what might it mean for the people the charity is helping? Sometimes it gets to the point where it’s nothing wrong that I’m doing, and yet I feel so guilty for any of the options, which gives me a sense of hopelessness. like I should be perfect and I’m failing. It’s sort of perfectionism I suppose, and I constantly have to remember that I am a sinner, I cannot be perfect, and to not be so hard with myself when I fail, because I can still follow God’s will.