Sunday, November 15, 2015

Not Enough

Since I've withdrawn from college after this spring semester, I've mostly occupied my time with trying my hand at different art and craft projects. I've redecorate my room, painted furniture, scrapbooked half a decade of my life, brushed off my sewing machine from high school, build bookshelves, you name it. I've always enjoyed a good project and I've been proud of how all my projects have turned out, but I can't seem to escape this gnawing need to do more, to have some goal I am working towards, some accomplishment I can contribute to the world.

This is a driving need I have felt most of my life. It's good to an extent in that it pushes me to work hard and to correct mistakes, but it also is somewhat torturous. I can't seem to enjoy the things I've made because I'm constantly thinking about what I need to do next that's better. I feel unsatisfied with myself. I am never good enough. And I even feel afraid to do things I love, like write, because I feel such an immense pressure for it to be perfect.

I was thinking a lot this weekend about my experience in religion over the years, and as my dissatisfaction with my work as an artist has culminated this evening, I realized that this drive towards perfection played a significant part in my religious experience as well.

As I helped with a church event this weekend, I reflected a lot on how alienated I feel from God. This is a place I never really thought I would be in. Starting in sixth grade, I became very passionate about being a Christian and having a relationship with God. I read an memorized my Bible and became very involved in my church, leading Bible studies and teaching younger youth about the faith. I went to a Christian college, hoping to have my faith further nurtured. Always I was propelled by a drive to be a more virtuous person, to grow closer to God, to do what I knew was best. I felt an immense pressure from within to pray enough, read my Bible enough, identify shortcomings in my life, identify a lesson I could learn in each sermon, find a way to use my gifts to serve God...

Sound familiar? For years I have felt so frustrated with my inability to be disciplined enough to have a focused devotional time each day. I can't seem to follow a schedule I set for myself. Every semester of college, I committed at the beginning to this time spend time each day reading my Bible and then panicked and felt so ashamed of myself when I didn't follow through. Same with my commitments to be better about procrastinating on writing papers or keeping up with textbook reading.

I don't have much of a point for this post, but I guess I wanted to process this realization because I think it may be a crucial one. And maybe it's a first step to accept that I can write something that has no point to it. I've always tried to figure out a purpose for things that happen or try to justify the way I spend my time or money, but I know it will be more freeing just to let go and enjoy the process of each thing. Otherwise I'll always be holding back from doing things. Maybe it's time to take a breath and tell myself it's okay to just be. Not everything has to have a purpose. Some things can just be for enjoyment.

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