Wednesday, June 27, 2012

the problem with being a thinker

I tend to over-think things. I'm sure that statement causes the jaws of those who know me to just drop straight off. Just kidding. I'm painfully aware of the fact that I over-analyze most situations. I'm pretty sure that causes me to try to handle things that I really should be leaving at the feet of Jesus. Therefore, my tendency to over-think is a problem.

I love texting so much because it gives me time to think before responding. Most of the time, I still say the wrong thing. Go me. Super effective system, huh? If I had to guess, I'd say my wrong responses stem from moments of over-thinking. I'm so concerned with how my words are going to affect the person on the other side of the conversation. I don't think being concerned with how my words affect others is a bad thing. The problem is, I'm putting myself in their place and trying to figure out what they're thinking. But they are not me. I am not them. So they won't respond like I would. Do you ever play out conversations in your head before they happen and then get disappointed when they don't happen like you planned? Have you realized that the other person was not present at your little role playing session, so they obviously have no idea what their lines are? It's becoming clear to me that most of my disappointment in other people comes from my having unrealistic expectations. People will disappoint you. We live in a sinful, fallen world. The one constant is God. Everyone else falls short. No matter how perfect a person seems, there will come a time when they will falter and not live up to expectation and they will disappoint you. THIS IS NOT THEIR FAULT! If I have not made someone aware of what I expect from them, they are not responsible for not living up to that expectation. Even if I do make someone aware of my expectations, that doesn't mean they're capable of living up to them.

Sometimes I  Most of the time I  I always create these perfect versions of people in my head. And then I'm audacious enough to blame them for not being the Stepford versions of themselves. How boring would it be if everyone acted like I wanted them to? I haven't created anyone. God has. He's WAY more creative than I am. I can say that I love the little nuances that make people different from each other all day long, but until I start really appreciating those little differences, I'm just blowing hot air.

So. If I have to stop holding people to my crazy, unrealistic standards...what standard do I hold them to? What standard would I want other people to hold me to? The answer (both "Sunday School" and legit...) is Jesus. I would want to be compared to two people: me and Jesus. The marching band I worked with in Tennessee had a mantra that we all lived by. We would always try to make each show better than the one before, and only strive to beat yesterday's band.

Compare me with yesterday's Alicia. Am I better than I was yesterday? Even just a little? Am I more like Jesus than I was last week? I'll try to do the same for you. Only compare you to yesterday's version of you and to Jesus. I can't promise that I'll always be perfect at this. Or that I'll always be better. You won't either. And you know what? That's okay. Because, as Ann Voskamp says, "All is grace." I'm really starting to believe this. And I love what that's doing for my relationships. Thank you, Jesus, for grace in all its forms.

PS... Ann Voskamp has had some of her friends guest blogging at her place this week. Yesterday's post (aside from the fact that I am not a mom or a farmer's wife in Iowa) could've been written from my heart. If you'd like to read it, you can find it here.

PPS... THIS SONG! Yes. Right now. I love it.

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