Raising the Bar

If there’s on Olympic event that is simultaneously the most mesmerizing, and yet the most head-scrating thing ever, it’s…pole vaulting.

No, not rhythmic gymnastics. Although, that’s a close second.

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Pole vaulting. I mean, I’d like to meet the guy who invented that event! Like, Okay, I’m going to willing catapult my body through the air, over a ridiculously high bar, using a freakishly long pole that I pray to God doesn’t snap in half midair.

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Yeahhh…He was a real thinker…

But all jokes aside, watching the pole vault, I feel oddly connected to those high flying athletes. But maybe not in the way you’re thinking.

I had been tossing around the idea of doing an Olympic-themed post, but all the angles seemed so cliche: Running the race with perseverance a la Hebrews. Snore. Training like an Olympian for Heaven. Overdone. My mind kept finding it’s way back to … the pole vault.

Back in my earlier posts, I talked a lot about how perfectionism played a big role in my development of anorexia in high school.

You see, growing up in a family of over-achievers, excellence was kind of…not expected, but juuuust…kind of the end goal.

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Let me just pause to interject that I never felt this pressure from my parents. They just wanted me to enjoy my childhood and be a well rounded kid. I put that expectation on myself.

Not to be…whatever…but I did have kind of an affinity for success. Especially in the acting realm. I won a regional Emmy Award for the lead role in a television pilot at the age of seven, just as an example.

But growing up, I really put the pressure on myself to be perfect – with grades, clothes, appearance, achievements, sports, drama…I kept setting the bar higher and higher and higher. It was addictive. Intoxicating. It was suffocating.

So watching those pole vaulters literally throwing themselves up in the air, striving for this completely and obscenely high bar — I could strangely relate.

And, to be completely honest, the anorexia was my way of getting out of this pattern of achieve achieve achieve. I couldn’t give up, or quit. No way. The anorexia was a way for me to quit by default. It was my big red emergency stop button.

And…after countless therapy sessions at inpatient…I finally began to realize the why behind that.

Why I clung to perfection with a death grip that would make David Blane impressed.

And it was because I was defining my self worth – my value as a human – by what I could achieve. I honestly believed that. To my core.

And looking back now, I can see that that way of thinking, that way of living to always be pushing and striving and achieving and more more more…that’s an ugly stepchild of pride.

Because in doing so, in saying that my value comes from what I can do…that’s in essence discrediting the work and the sacrifice that Jesus made on the Cross. Because truthfully, that is where I get my worth and value.

Not from straight A’s. Not from any award or accolade. Those things have nothing to do with my value.

Because it all comes from Him.

I feel like, if Jesus were a judge at the Olympics, He’d do away with the pole vault all together. He’d be like, Pssh, that is so stupidDon’t you know I permanently got rid of that bar a long time ago? 

But it’s true. He took care of it. He defined our value – He claimed our worth – when He chose the Cross.

So where am I in my battle with perfectionism? Well truthfully, it can still trip me up if I let it. But I am a long long way from where I was in high school.


I continually remind myself that what I do, what I look like, how I dress, etc. none of that has any impact positively or negatively on my self worth. None. So I can stop striving. Stop throwing myself at an impossible standard only to wind up discouraged and exhausted.

I can just rest. Rest in His grace.

So that’s all for tonight. Thanks for all your wonderfully kind and encouraging comments  on my video I released last week on YouTube. Posting that photo from my anorexia was  definitely not something I thought I’d ever do for various reasons, but I really wanted to let you into every aspect of my story, since you’ve played such a big role in it 🙂

I’ve got a lighthearted and fun video coming up probably end of this week, maybe next, that will be a hoot….Feel free to subscribe so you don’t miss it, if that’s your bag, baby 🙂

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Alright, peace and love xox

 

 

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174 thoughts on “Raising the Bar

  1. Yes this is so right – we are called to persevere (Hebrews 12 v 1) – we win the race by persevering to the end. James 1 v 12 promises the crown to those who stand the test, just like the two athletes who fell and one stopped to help the other complete the race were rewarded we are to persevere and help those who fall get up and complete the race. We don’t have to be first, second whatever – we have to finish

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  2. Pingback: Raising the Bar | Low-Carb Lifestyles

  3. Thank you for sharing your story; your writing, sense of humor, and insights are lovely! I guess we are all works in progress : ) but you clearly have many gifts as well as a beautiful place, here. Carry on, and happily! ~ Peri

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  4. Great post. Lot’s to take in. We sure put unrealistic expectations on ourselves don’t we? We need to be kinder to ourselves, especially as females. So glad you are sharing your journey with others who may need to read it. Nice job.

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  5. What a great metaphor! Trying to find our identity by vaulting over whatever standard we have proudly placed upon ourselves, much like the religious leaders of Christ’s day. I really appreciate how you write God’s response, “Don’t you know that I got rid of that bar ages ago?” There is only one standard we should strive for: righteousness. Wonderful reminder that Christ vaulted over it for us, so all we have to do, as you said, is rest in the great gift of His grace. We no longer strive but rest.

    Thanks for liking my post “Excellent Sacrifice” by the way 🙂

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  6. Thank you for sharing a very personal and honest story. And you have reached the right conclusion. Your value is in Jesus, for in Him our weaknesses show His strength. And His unending love for us was shown on the cross…

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  7. Yes. “I was defining my self worth – my value as a human – by what I could achieve”. That’s me. Trying to get approval and self worth by achieving. Grades. Degrees. Presentations. Articles. All because i have never had any self worth. It’s still a mighty struggle, mighty struggle to my core. I sadly struggle with it and God as well….because you know that the church judges worth by attendance, memorization, tithing, posture, position, conformance…so it still drives me crazy.
    But I keep coming back, and working to let my hands open. And to rest in His.
    cheers sister 🙂

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    • Thanks Jeff. I’m glad this resonated with you. You’re so right – hands and hearts open. That’s the key. Those struggles are definitely real. But give yourself some patience 🙂 one day at a time. hugs xox

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  8. Pingback: Raising the Bar – Beauty Beyond Bones | cultural atheist

  9. Thanks for checking out my post!! And thanks for sharing this story with us, i really related to all the pressure to be “perfect” growing up too, to the point where it drove me crazy with all the standards i had to keep up. Its nice to know someone else has been through something similar 🙂

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  10. Pingback: Raising the Bar — BeautyBeyondBones | Fresh Perspectives

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