My personality is such that I’m always trying to get to the next stage of something – whether it’s the next stage of mastery, or of a relationship, or of life. Sometimes it doesn’t look that way on paper, but something inside me always says that until I’m doing something perfectly, I am not doing it at all. (This is especially difficult when it comes to making art, like creative writing: you’re never really done with an essay or a story.)
So I really appreciated my friend Kari’s thoughts on the same subject, in a blog post she called “The Winding Path (or, why I don’t want an accelerated faith)”:
For many years, a toxic combination of my personality and our culture and the messages I got at church caused me to approach the spiritual side of life with this same “level up” mentality. Rather than seeing it as a winding road that sometimes turns back on itself, I attacked faith like a mountain to climb, or, since I am not much for hiking, like Donkey Kong. I was sure that I would reach the pinnacle if I just kept going. I packed my bag with all the right resources: memorizing the books of the Bible and then certain verses and even some chapters. I trained by starting a prayer group and facilitating a Bible study group and being on leadership in my campus ministry. I lamented the ways I felt I was behind. I worried that other people wouldn’t know how hard I was working.
Worst of all, I never seemed to get anywhere and I became resentful when all the things I was doing never seemed to be enough. I was trying to be an accelerated student of God and to have answers for all of life’s mysteries, not so I could learn anything, but because I wanted to have learned everything.