“I messed up,” she said, in a small, wavering voice.
It was the end of Sunday school and we were working on a maze.
“Don’t worry,” I told her, “mazes are made for messing up. Just keep looking for the way out.” Her older brother was quick to reassure her as well.
I commented that the maze seemed a little tricky. “Did you mess up?” her brother asked me, in all innocence.
Of course not. I eyeballed every possible route before committing my colored pencil to the paper.
That’s pretty much how I handle most of life. Cautiously and slowly.
I allow for all the factors that might affect any given situation, and carefully consider the options. To me, making the correct decision is more important than the time it takes to do so.
And you know what? It’s exhausting. I wear myself out—and others—as I calculate all the pros and cons of each alternative…especially the cons. I spend most of my time thinking about the risks and what might go wrong.
I can come across as negative or unnecessarily critical with my incessant questions and comments. (I’m working on this.) From my perspective, I am gathering data, as much as possible, whatever information is necessary to understand the situation or improve the outcome.
Sometimes it’s too much data. I am about to take a trip overseas; I’ve known about it for months, I have enough information to plan four different itineraries, and I am only just now finalizing the details of my travels.
That also happens frequently. I make decisions at the eleventh hour…after hours and hours of deliberation. I can’t figure out if I’m a procrastinator, a perfectionist, or just over analytical. Perhaps all three.
Sometimes I am so wary of taking the leap, that I don’t. And then miss out on something wonderful. On other occasions I make major decisions quickly, only to be plagued by months of second-guessing myself.
It’s pretty stressful. I don’t like living this way, and I don’t recommend it.
On the inside, I’m just like that little one in Sunday school, terrified of messing up.
My heart aches every time she is in tears (it happens frequently), knowing that the self-inflicted pressure can crush a 6 year-old girl just as much as a 40 year-old woman.
Whenever possible, I hold that precious girl after class, and whisper prayers into her ear that are for myself as well: