The desire for “Perfection” can lead people to living their life in what I refer to as the “Loop of Condemnation”. This is a mental state that can lead to a perpetual existence of self-doubt, self-ridicule, and many other negative things followed by self. The million dollar question is why? This loop is brought on by the mere fact that your internal feelings and objectives, do not align with external guidelines and objectives constructed by society? For example, let me share to you how I’ve engaged in this unproductive cycle. I decide that over the next two months, I plan to lose 15 pounds. So at the start of any of my ingenious plans, it seems like my fire is lit by God himself. I mean, I truly am a force to be reckoned. I create these meal plans and even pencil in my workout times. I write out my positive affirmations and place them all around my home and even on my desk at work. Ten or Eleven days in, temptation begins to creep in and your girl begins to fall victim to those cravings. In the moment, I am on cloud nine, as I had previously deprived myself of these delicious treats for some time. But now that my high has come down, I’m stuck with a feeling of defeat and disgust. How could I allow this short moment of bliss, to derail my meticulously designed plan? In this moment I believe that I only have two possible decisions … kick my plan and continue with my old ways, or start over and redesign my plan. But where’s my third option to pick up the pieces and keep moving? In that moment, it didn’t seem like a viable plan for me. I couldn’t understand that struggling through temptations and learning from the brief moments of conflict is actually what strengthens us and prepares us for moments in the future that we may face the same predicament. But because I opted to start over, I was unable to step back and appreciate the beauty in the struggle. I negated the golden lesson that life was presenting me; instead I missed the exit in this loop of condemnation and zoomed right on towards what I thought perfection was.
For me personally, I believe that the desire for perfection can be attached to condemnation, and bravery can be attached to conviction. If the difference between the two words is not so clear for you, please allow me to elaborate. Condemnation is an inward feeling that hinders us from progressing in life. It keeps us in the state of “woe is me”, not allowing us to move past guilt and mistakes from the past. Conviction on the other hand, is the very thing that helps to bring awareness and light to what we have done. The cool thing about conviction is that it doesn’t hold us hostage to our past transgressions. It provides us with the tools to change our ways, and move towards better days.
Sometimes in life, people get so concerned with riding the wave (be it today’s trend) that they put themselves in a position to drown. To give you an example of how condemnation and conviction work, let’s use the idea of drowning in life. When you begin to drown, some people begin to look outside of themselves to be rescued in these situations. The truth is that we all have a life guard inside of us that is ready to swoop in while we are engulfed in life’s deep blue sea. This life guard is conviction. As the life guard approaches to lend you a hand, you begin to attract a great white shark. This shark is called condemnation. The shark leads you to believe that due to the fact that you’re drowning, you might as well be consumed by your circumstance. Condemnation will allow the guilt and shame to eat at you, leaving you in a position to constantly fight for your life.
In this situation, conviction came along and threw you a rope, to pull you to safety. Do you grab hold of the rope, traveling to shore? A place where you indeed have to face your decisions, but rather than drowning in them, you can begin a new journey towards restoration. Or do you refuse to take the rope and continue to drown? Drowning in your sea of regret and poor decisions, fighting for your life? If you have been caught in the middle of a poor decision, will you grab the rope of conviction, or drown in condemnation?