“I’m learning over and over again that connection heals me more than achievement ever could.” Shauna Niequist
Often times we believe when our dreams come true, everything else will fall into place. That we’ll be content, happy. That we’ll be the person we want to be. Finally.
The shocking truth is it doesn’t happen, Even remotely. Because if you’ve attached your emotional health, your worth to achievement then you are sitting on a rocky foundation. It will be shaken at the first criticism or self-doubt.
With success and achievement come the whispers that you can do more. Be more. It will never be enough, especially if we believe we aren’t enough to begin with.
Why? Because we’ve attached ourselves to a black hole that can never be fed enough. There will always be someone better, faster and smarter. There will always be another level to conquer. Another award to win. It’s become all about us. It’s a ton of pressure.
I’ve been thinking about Shauna Niequist’s quote since I read it a week ago. It was in my Overcomer study on Philippians by Margaret Feinberg.
Niequist is right but I don’t really want to admit it. It’s a bitterly hard pill to swallow for this introvert and recovering people hater to admit that we need each other. It’s one of the hardest struggles I have in ministry. Sometimes I drift to the “dark side” and think ministry would be so much better if not for the people. We might actually get God’s work done. Oh yeah, that’s right, God’s work is people. Shoot.
Why is connection, key to healing and not achievement? Because it is through people we get glimpses of God, His love for us and his acceptance of us. Achievements, success, more money, awards are momentarily great but they can’t do what people do. Love us. As we are. Achievement always demands more. That we be more. Do more. Acquire more.
Connection is relational. It only requires we engage. That doesn’t necessarily mean talk either. Sometimes it means just listening for our benefit or someone else’s.
Connection is spiritual. I totally believe in kindred spirits. But I also believe connecting to someone totally different than you can be equally as rewarding.
It’s spiritual because it comes from God, who created us for relationship. It also points us back to God. He’s the only relationship that can totally heal us. He uses other people to help us down that road and direct us back to him but He is the true physician. He gifts us with other people and the connection they bring to our hearts.
People who genuinely love us let us be who we are, while at the same time they inspire us to be better. It’s not the same as achievement. They love us even if we hadn’t written a book, got a promotion, won a race. It will never matter what we do. It only matters that we be.
Love. Acceptance. Understanding. Kindness. These are a few of the building blocks to health and healing. Kids who are loved, accepted, and are understood and grow up in a kind environment, usually grow into healthy adults. For those of us who missed out on those things, as adults we can still do ourselves a favour and learn to love, accept and understand ourselves. Be kind to ourselves. It’s never too late to grow into the person we want to be.
If we in return show love, acceptance, understanding and kindness, they can help us on the road to healing. Every time we choose to give them away, we become more of who we were meant to be and that is healthy. If I make the effort to join in and be a part of a group, instead of hiding, I find that my heart gets lighter and my mood better. (Usually 🙂 Knowing you did the right thing too, can certainly make a difference in feeling better about yourself.
How did I learn this? In community. Of. Course.
In many different communities; a course that helped me deal with anxiety, many different churches, MOPS, family and friends. My life is richer because of them all. The awards and accomplishments have added to it too as well as the failures but they fade, the friendships, the love do not.
Maybe I’ll take that pill with a little bit of jam!