Have you ever discovered in your life that you had such high expectations of yourself that not even a saint could meet them? Well I have in my life actually attempted to live at this level. Really trying to measure up but never setting standards for how others should treat me. In fact, my own father once called me a saint saying he honestly believed I must be one and my mother authentically said that I had some sort of special place in heaven. It’s no doubt I win the award for trying my best to do what is right, make better decisions and figure out how NOT to screw my life up, and I genuinely really do love people…but let’s just get something straight…I am not a saint, there is no special place I am going and I am a screw up just as much as the person next to me. I refuse to try and live up to some sort of picture of perfection that doesn't exist.
There are many people who will try to walk around acting like they are perfect and float above their bed but you don’t see them 24/7. Guess what? They poop too. And if you live thinking you have to be perfect you will never succeed in business or in life.
I mean just about a month ago I was driving down the highway giving a dude the bird. Usually I try to just hold my entire hand up and yell, “Read between the lines!” But you know, we all have our levels of conviction. My point is that if you think I am halfway perfect you have not seen me in traffic. Let’s just say I am still a work in progress and one day I will reach perfection…but I am not there yet. Haha The truth is you have to allow yourself to mess up big time if you want to do big things.
Now I don't want to hash out the past but I do want to use some of my experiences to help some of you out there who follow me...not to do what I have done. Meaning, don't allow others to treat you like I have allowed and be willing to get up and walk away if they do.
I don’t know about you, but in my own life when I was about 13 I decided to become a born again Christian. That was great! But then I ran into the religious people. These are those that live by rules rather than relationship and instead of trusting God to be their good, they trust themselves on how good they can be. Then I somehow got it into my head that I wasn’t going to be loved unless I was perfect. I think my first encounter with the outward religious was when I was forced to kneel on the ground to see if my skirt touched the ground and I was made to sign a contract saying I wouldn’t smoke, drink, dance or the like and I was the ONLY child in the church who had to sign it…cuz you know I came from a divorced family.
You know the people I am talking about here. They are the ones that will make a list of all the things you could possibly do wrong and publicly shame you for it. They are the ones that if they saw me driving down the highway with my middle finger flying in the wind that would take a photo of me and then post it on social media (at least now if you see it you won't be shocked). They are always looking out for what you could do or say that in their eyes is “wrong”. They somehow think they can see into your heart to judge you and therefore will take every advantage they can to cut you down to size. What is even worse is when you actually look up to and respect them and then walk down the path of “trying to be good enough” not out of low self esteem but just not wanting to go to hell.
I remember gosh a number of years ago, I had posted on my public Facebook that for the first time in my life I realized I actually needed a man. Now that coming from someone like myself who has lived extremely independent and never slept around is actually a very good thing…because I was seeing for the first time why men are valuable. But this one religious man sees it and immediately thinks I am going to become a prostitute and as I am on my way to Arizona for a meeting he goes and tells the woman who is leading the event what I said, with his personal judgement. She then gets up in front of everyone and condemns me for it. Yeah we are talking REALLY healthy folks. I mean I had NO relationship with this lady, she just thought she could condemn me because she was self-righteous. She later in fact attempted to close my ministry out along with another woman known for her “love” who turned out not to be so loving but pretty jealous if you ask me. The sad thing is this is the norm in many places. But when did anyone die and become God and become perfect to even judge others like that?
Other ways this happens is being told you cannot go and fulfill your dreams. You are told to wait to “hear from God” or that if you just serve (without growing any of your skills in the meantime) you will one day be handed your dreams. Woman are largely the victim of this and if you cannot sing, cannot teach in the nursery you are of no value really.
In my own life I have had to have a HUGE reality check with the level of “religious” rules I have allowed in my life. One that has caused me to be able to be honest about my shortcomings and not ashamed of them. One that has allowed me to look at my false beliefs and challenge them with truth. For example, one lie I have listened to is “if you promote yourself you are in sin” or “if you follow money you will find the devil”. These are not biblical statements and if they were then we would all be going to hell because even making $10 at McDonalds is increase and going after money. Creating a resume alone you are promoting yourself…
I think there is a BIG difference between being confident of who you are, confident of where you have come from and confident of what you have accomplished and arrogant thinking you are somehow better than other people. Clearly the people who act self-righteous are the ones who think they are better than everyone else or they would never see the need to cut others down.
How can you be better than someone else? It is impossible because we are all so different how can you compare a rose to a diamond. But that doesn’t mean the diamond doesn’t shine and the rose doesn’t smell good.
I remember being in Italy serving doing charity work and part of what they wanted us to do was to clean the public toilets where we were staying. This was somehow supposed to build character. Well while everyone was eating, I decided to go clean all of the toilets…there were about 12 of them. My thought was if I cleaned it all, it would get done fast and then everyone could have time to relax…I was trying to be nice. Well I was outside resting after all that cleaning and I got in trouble saying that I was lazy and wasn’t pulling my weight. Later I was asked by a leader not to tell the main leader I cleaned the toilets because he would just create more work for everyone and then they continued to punish me for being a slacker.
This is the type of environment I have allowed in my life for many years. People who think that they somehow accessed the holy grail and there is no room for the rest. But I realized that I have listened to a lot of lies. I know better now and I know that nobody is allowed to control me, my destiny and how I live my life. I believe Jesus is perfect therefore I don’t have to be.
I wanted to share this with you today because many of you have watched me over the years, do a podcast, do ministry, write books etc. And you need to know that you never arrive to perfection, you will never be ready, there aren’t any new levels to reach…there is only one and a life-long process of growth. It is ok to make unwise decisions sometimes, and you are not a bad person if you go after making money nor are you bad if you promote yourself. In fact, I would venture to say that if you are not promoting who you are that is a slap in the face to God who made you. So celebrate who you are and celebrate others as well. Love your neighbor as you love yourself…but you can’t do that unless you first learn how to fully love yourself. And by all means just go do what you are called to do and stop waiting.
I saw a woman make a comment about my website since I listed some of my relatives on it. She said that success doesn’t come from who you are related to. First of all I think I have had enough success in my own life that I am not relying on them to produce it for me. Secondly, she is absolutely correct about that, but there are things that they have done, ways they have lived that have produced success. They have achieved greatness not because they were better but because they understood how. So it is my heart to show others how while I honor those who have gone before me. I may not have all of my relatives actively in my life, but there are truths that are passed down in your family that you learn that produce great things.
If you are reading this and you find yourself feeling held back, as if you know you are supposed to do something bigger but you have been just waiting. Now is the time to do something about it. You are one decision away from a new life. Don’t listen to those who would tell you that you can’t. And make sure you fill your life with those who lift you up, not try to break you down for any reason. Choose to live in freedom and NEVER allow someone else to judge you, tell you how to live and control you unless they are willing to give up their life for you.