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My husband and I planned to meet my family for dinner one evening. To make a long story — filled with blame, self-pity, mental road rage, and maybe a few tears — short, I was late.
Thirty minutes late. Forty minutes late if you count my family arriving early. While I joined the conversation and laughed with the littles, my internal posture was tightened, resentful. I hate being late.
By the next evening, my attitude had improved, but my clarity surrounding the anger had not. Then I remembered how anger is oftentimes a secondary emotion — the outpouring of indwelling shame and fear. As I journaled a confused confession, this phrase emerged on the page before I had the chance to self-edit or deny it:
“I feel like I can’t uphold my end of the deal.”
What deal did I make? Who was involved in this deal that I don’t even remember making?
Me. I make deals with myself all the time. I will be punctual. I will remember to send birthday cards. I won’t let anyone down.
In some form, things like maintaining our commitments and celebrating others reflects the loyalty and intentionality of Christ. But instead of honoring God with my reliability, I often desire to meet expectations to maintain my image and prevent others’ judgments. So I make deals with myself, shaking hands with perfectionism.
But you know one truth I’m continually learning? I will never be able to uphold my end of the deal. And that’s precisely the point.
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