Posted tagged ‘falling short’

Fleeing The Embarrassment

August 4, 2016

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                               August 4, 2016

                                  

Yesterday I was at a stoplight waiting to turn right onto a six lane road in our area. The green arrow to turn left was lit for the vehicles coming towards me. I waited for four cars to make the turn, and then the green light appeared for me. I did not see the young lady who was beginning to cross the street. She noticed that I was beginning to turn and hesitated out of nervousness. I should have just stopped at that point, but, instead, I swung wide around her to the far lane and proceeded.

My thought at that moment was some guilt and shame at causing her a moment of questioning her safety, and my embarrassment at seeming to be in a rush to go…nowhere!

But then I noticed the car that had been behind me in the turn lane correctly pausing to allow the young lady to cross in the crosswalk before proceeding in the same direction I was going.

My thought at that moment was “He/She saw what I just did, and if that person catches up to me at the next red light they are going to give me “the look”, yell at me, and tell me that I’m going to Hell.”

I speeded up to get away from the pursuer!

Isn’t it interesting in our world where everything seems to get filmed by cell phones how we worry about those we fret are watching us?

Kind of like belching in a vacant area of a store and then looking around with embarrassment to see if anyone heard it!

What is it about that moment? The fear of being discovered to be a lawbreaker, the anxiety of being seen as doing something our mom would have scolded us for in our growing up years? What causes us to look in our rearview mirror to see if we got away with it?

The car that was “pursuing me”, actually turned right at the very next block. I experienced instant relief, like a get-away vehicle from a bank robbery.

Why?

Like David and his reaction about the after-effects of his Bathsheba rendezvous, I like to think that I get away with things that would cause me embarrassment. It is how I am wired. In fact, I think it’s how most of us are wired. In a world where the gray area is growing like the creature in the 1958 film The Blob, I believe we’re still fairly clear on what is right and what is wrong.

Some of us just like to think we’re getting away with things! Fleeing the embarrassment is the certainty of my imperfections, the signature on my humanness.

The Pressure To Be Perfect

March 3, 2016

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                        March 3, 2016

                                

A recent study out of England has concluded that parental pressure in many cases causes young athletes to resort to doping to enhance their performance level. Daniel Madigan, a PhD student at the University of Kent, writes that these “tiger parents” push their teenaged children to high levels of achievement. The athletes choose to turn to doping in order to meet their parents’ expectations and dreams.

The pressure to perform has been raised to now be a pressure to be perfect. I see it quite often in athletes who are more afraid of not meeting their parent’s expectations than letting their teammates down.

What now seems intolerable is failure! The reality, however, is that every game between two teams has a winner and a loser. The middle school boy’s team I’m currently coaching has won most of it’s games, but the other side of that is there are other teams who lose most of their games. Is that a bad thing? No, losing a game is just as much, and maybe even more so, a teachable moment as winning a game.

How often, though, do we look at falling short as total failure? “Falling short” is the reality of each of our lives. For some of us it surfaces in our athleticism, for others it appears in our school report card, and for others it becomes evident in the falling apart of our marriages or separation between ourselves and those who used to be close to us.

“Falling short” is part of our DNA.

Enter into that a reluctance to failing. Not a “Rocky” kind of perseverance, however, but a pressure to win that causes us to cheat, and fabricate, inject and falsify. Having perfect kids  becomes what parents press for, no matter the costs.

Little Johnny gets his own personal trainer who makes a living off “tiger parents.” The parents, however, expect Johnny to make them proud. They will not accept the fact that their son can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. Johnny feels the pressure to perform and perfect and looks for that substance that will give him the advantage.

The pressure to be perfect is casting an ugly shadow over our schools and communities. Here’s the thing! Wherever there is some kind of unnatural or “unholy” pressure there will be an unhealthy reaction.

A high school junior gives up the sport he’s been playing since he was four because the pressure to be perfect has made the whole endeavor detestable to him.

A volleyball player suffers a major shoulder injury because she has overused the parts of her body that she spikes the ball with.

A student gets rushed to the ER because he has consumed too many high-caffeine energy drinks in his attempt to study for endless hours and hours in order to receive a 4.0 GPA.

A college student drops out of church, because his parents made him feel guilty all through high school if he missed any kind of church function. He began to think that God loved him only if he had perfect church attendance. Now he rarely goes, as he wrestles with this new thought of a God who is gracious.

The pressure to be perfect happens in just about any area of our culture, and it is often a very unhealthy experience.