Unfiltered: The Pressure.

photo credit: Moriah Elisabeth

I feel it all the time.

The pressure to live life a certain way. Or to be more like this. Or that. Or fill-in-the-blank.

I’m constantly feel like I need to live up to a standard. And so many days I feel like I’m failing. And rightfully so. Because those standards aren’t even ones I created.

It's like I’m trying to make grades in a class I never signed up for.

Do you ever feel that way?

I’m measuring my life against hers and I’m coming up short. Because I’m trying to succeed at things that do not matter to me. I’m allowing someone else’s standard of success to control my contentment and my peace of mind.

Like my dad says, “A for effort, F for wrong assignment.”

Those things for me?

There's a voice inside telling me that I'm a woman in my twenties so I should grow up and start acting like a wife and a mom, that I should be pursuing a family and that I should have all the skills to sustain that. That I should be a good housekeeper, keep a tidy space, and sweep the floor more. That I should be a little more sacrificial and that I should follow a timeline that is considered appropriate. That I should get my crap together and that I should make my business follow the pattern that's considered successful.

Maybe it’s not so much pressure to do those things.

I think I just feel less because I can’t live up to it.

And that's not to make light of those specific callings because those are beautiful dreams, ones to be honored and respected.

But that's not my season.

And I can’t keep viewing myself as inferior because I’m not meeting all of those requirements.

I’m just tired of should.

I should be tidier, I should be more like her, I should want to settle down, I should be more domestic, I should be a slave to the grind, I should kill myself for success. I should, I should, I should.

And it's 100% my fault for deciding to give those expectations power in my life.

But instead of holding myself to the standard of Should, I just want to be a child of God. I want to be everything He created me to be.

And that’s a lover. An encourager. A writer. An explorer. A deep-feeler and a dreamer.

At the end of the day, at the end of this life, I want to have loved well. I want to have encouraged others in their gifts and their struggles. I want to have explored the world and explored what God is doing it it. I want to have let my sensitive heart bleed across pages and into relationships because that’s how God moves me and shows up in my life. I want to have never let go of the dream that life should be shared with people and lived in community.

Whether that's as a daughter, sister, mother, wife, photographer, writer, business owner, mentor, leader, or friend, I want this is be true of me. Regardless of whether I can keep a neat house or a successful business, I want to have kept good relationships and have been committed to pursuing God’s heart above all else, above any standard of this world.

And I want to tell you this.

Give yourself permission to release the pressure.

Whatever it is. Whatever is distracting you from living the life you were meant to live. Whatever is drawing you away from the thing that matters most.

Define yourself by how you live rather than what you do. Make sure that you are purposefully living a why rather than a formula or a status quo, just because it's been a success story for someone else.

Stop borrowing goals from others and stop stacking expectations on yourself that were never meant for you.

The only thing required of you is you.

All of you.

And I pray you do it wildly, passionately, and without reserve.

What are the expectations you need to let go of? What's the pressure you need to release? I'd love to hear about in the comments.