Have you ever gotten to the end of your day and felt like a total failure because of all that you did not get done? Were you focused only on the gap between expectation and reality?
This is something I have struggled with for as long as I can remember. Every. Single. Day. When my husband gets home from work, he always asks me, “How was your day?” And my answer is always something to the effect of, (sigh) “I didn’t get as much done as I’d hoped.”
I could have 20 things written down on my list to do for the day, and even if I got 15 of them done (not to mention multiple things that popped up along the way that I took care of without writing them down), all I could see was the 5 things I didn’t cross off.
Then a couple of weeks ago, I was reading a book called The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. I came across a passage that talked about how overachievers (and I’m willing to bet that most women fall into this category) have a tendency to focus on the gap. He said:
“Constant gap focus can be detrimental to our confidence and self-image, causing us to feel like we don’t have enough, haven’t accomplished enough, and that we are simply not good enough, or at least, not as good as we should be. High achievers are typically the worst at this, constantly overlooking or minimizing their accomplishments, beating themselves up over every mistake and imperfection, and never feeling like anything they do is quite good enough.”Hal Elrod
Wow! That zapped me right to the heart! Why do we do this to ourselves?
As I contemplated what I had read, my past behavior, the feelings that this gap focus brought, I came to the conclusion that this is not the way our Savior wants us to feel. Rather, this pattern is a very human tendency. This “gap focus” is always accompanied by feelings of shame, defeat and unworthiness. These are tools that the enemy uses to keep us spinning, making us feel distant from the love and approval of our God.
Jesus loves us! He is so pleased with every effort we make for good. Even if that good is simply caring for our children, making sure that they are fed and loved. If that is all that you accomplish in a day, it is enough. If we are able to do another thing or two to reach out to others to share His love, that is a bonus. And when we feel like we are not measuring up, He wants us to come to Him and share our frustrations so that He can comfort us and validate our efforts.
The Coin Theory
Now that we are aware of these tendencies, what can we do? We can fight it. We fight the enemy of our souls. We can start practicing becoming aware of the things we have accomplished and dismissing the rest. We can flip the coin.
Some years back when I was going through a rough time, I was seeing a therapist who taught me a wonderful concept that he called the coin theory. He asked me to imagine that he had handed me a quarter. He asked me if I could see both sides at the same time. I told him obviously I wouldn’t be able to. He pointed out that I had to decide which side of the coin I would look at, reminding me that the other side was still there, I was just choosing not to focus on it. He equated this with things going on in my life. He told me that in every given day there were a handful of good things that would happen and a handful of bad things that would happen. I could choose which ones I wanted to focus on. It didn’t mean that the other things weren’t there, just that I was dismissing them from having power over me. From that point on I thought about that theory every time I started to worry or focus on the negative things that were happening, and I chose to mentally flip the coin.
I have decided that is exactly how I am going to deal with this gap problem. I am going to intentionally focus on the things I do that move me in a positive direction, even if it is just one or two of them in a day. After all, that is one or two things that moved me forward. The rest of things on my list are things I will look at as opportunities for another day.
Life is not a scoreboard. Jesus is not a referee waiting to tell us whether we have won or lost at the end of each day. He is our greatest cheerleader and every single day that we move forward even just a baby step, He is rejoicing. Not only that, but He makes up the difference. To Him, you are enough exactly as you are. Don’t mind the gap!
Song: Enough by Koryn Hawthorne
Song: I Am Enough by Daphne Willis
A Little Help for Little Friends:
Once upon a time, someone asked me to create flannel board pieces to go with the story of the Paper Bag Princess. Ever since then, I have been in love with it! It is such an amazing story of a girl learning to have confidence in herself, exactly as she is, regardless of what anyone else thinks. Such a great message that is so needed today! Check it out at my Etsy shop Rising Moon Adventures!