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So, about competition...

Updated: Mar 26, 2020

Before the Corona virus hit hard, I was completely humbled to be a finalist for a spokesperson of the year competition a the mentoring group I’m in. Applicants submitted videos, filled out applications and then four of us were given 5 minutes each to speak live to a conference of 500 artists and industry leaders. The attendees then voted electronically.

When the call to apply initially came out, the achiever in me said, “That would be a good step.” But this group is full of people whose art paths have intersected all three levels of the program while I have camped out in just one area until I got it… or it got me.

My journey of getting healed from the straightjacket of perfectionism happened in the safety of this group and I ached for the opportunity to be “the one who came back” (Luke 17:17) to give God the glory.

But I knew immediately who would win this. She’s a treasured friend and her journey is ahead of mine in the career realm of art. In light of that, I said, “Lord, this is really not my time. Maybe in a couple of years when I get further along in the business side of my art.”

Long story short, three days before the deadline to apply I was praying for our leader and his wife in particular early one morning. “Lord, we need to hear more from her. Every time she’s on the screen, she has something important to say.”

Three hours after that prayer, she was on the screen in a live feed giving a final “last chance to apply before the deadline” call. She looked at the camera and said, “If you’re saying It’s not my timeIt’s your time.”

So I made a video standing on my head. Yes, literally. Ask Davis. I kicked him in the face 3 times trying to do a headstand with his help because, um, I can’t do that on my own anymore.

I told how being in this group turned my world upside down. I have been able to get untangled from perfectionism and, unlike my old me, I was happy to submit my video which was slapped together in a last minute raw cut format. And I actually like how it turned out.

Then I received an email saying I was actually one of the finalists!

There was an amazing cash prize on the line. But from the beginning, I didn’t even care about the money. Rich and I had already decided that I could just give it away. I knew I wouldn’t win. And to be really core honest, deep down I knew I wasn’t prepared to do it if I did win. I knew this so deeply, I didn’t want it - not because it wouldn’t be wonderful, because it is a HUGE honor!!! - but because I knew quite certainly that I didn’t want to fail not only myself but my mentor. But I knew why I was there. It was for a side gig.

If I had really wanted to win, I would have worn something really tailored and “Spokesperson-ish” to speak live to my peers and the guest speakers who were all phenomenal. I would have had my speech practiced, polished and timed to the second. I've won my fair share of awards. I knew what it would take.

But I wore my ripped knee jeans with a nice jacket. I was totally me.

I had my speech down to 3 minutes (I think), but then we were given 5 minutes and I took 7.5 according to the video. I didn’t care at the moment. I completely forgot there was a counter as I told how generational perfectionism for me was like being born into a beautiful little baby coat that was meant to be grown out of. But as I grew up it became too tight, like a straightjacket that began to strangle me. But, like Lazarus, God was calling me out. Apparently, there were people in tears. Testimonies do that. They give us hope.

Like most everything else I do these days, God has me do things “sideways.” I can never quite be like everyone else, no matter how hard I try. I can’t unhear His whispers and sometimes it makes me feel odd and left out. I’m pretty sure Jesus’ mother, Mary, might have had a moment or two like that as God’s dream grew in her and became apparent to others. I’m pretty sure Hannah got frustrated with the priest when she was bleeding her heart out in tears at the altar and he thought she was batty.

I knew I was chosen to be there on that stage because Jesus was giving me the desire of my heart, to stand up publicly and creatively story-tell how I got healed from a thought pattern I was born into and never consciously chose to have; perfectionism served in a bucket of shame.

I told a story of a compass Papa God gave me. I’ll save that for a separate story. I’m trying to get to the point. I promise.

But here’s the deal. (I know, I know. There’s always a deal.)

When I was on the elevator headed to the conference room where 500 people would listen to my story and size me up on a scale of spokesperson or not-spokesperson, I felt guilty.

Suddenly, I realized I wanted to win. I didn’t need to win. I didn’t even want to compete. But this was a competition and I wanted to win. I tried not to want to. It felt like the way I tried not to want to be married as I watched my 20’s go by and slipped into my 30’s. I felt I shouldn’t want to be married since it seemed it wasn’t going to happen.