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.
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.
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.
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 stupid. Don’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 🙂
Alright, peace and love xox