One minute, you are whipping through homework and job tasks, planning an amazing night out with the girls, and generally feeling on top of life and expectations. The next, everything you try to do takes three times as long, your desk and closet are a mess, and the kids you babysit decide they don't really like you.
Ever feel this way? It's like a great roller coaster ride between failure and mastery.
And really, it's just called life in a broken world. But I'm learning that we need to be aware of the dangers in both.
When we feel in charge, capable and on top, that's when pride becomes our best friend.
Who is in control of this situation and this project? I am. Who doesn't need any help because she's just so amazing? Yep, that would be me too.
We're tempted to prove ourselves, over and over. It becomes a race to stay in control, to stay independent. But unfortunately, none of those three things are where we should be.
If I'm proving myself, I'm saying that I need to be recognized, liked, and appreciated by others. That it's up to me to make my way in the world. I'm always striving, not resting in what Christ has already done - that who I am has nothing to do with what I can do, but it is in simply being Christ's. He's already proven Himself for us and fought that fight.
If I'm the one in control, in my heart, I'm not letting God be in control. I'm trying to claim that power, that position, and that glory.
Likewise, when I try to be independent, I'm really saying that I don't need God. I can do this life thing very well on my own. And maybe I even trust myself more than I trust Him. After all, I know that I always have my best interests at heart.
But the flip side isn't so pretty, either.
When we feel like a failure, inadequate and stressed, that's when we forget who we are.
So often, we forget that we don't have to go it alone. We forget that our ultimate worth doesn't come from Christ, and stress because we think we need to earn in.
The times that we just can't do something are exactly the times that we need to lean on Christ's strength and see it as an opportunity for him.
The problem with feelings of failure and pride, and with the systemic struggles of perfectionism and people-pleasing, is that it ultimately elevates people.
People tell us whether we're good enough. Or other people - or us - tell us that we're definitely not good enough, we've officially failed.
In perfectionism, we base our value off work and performance. That could be the excellence of schoolwork, your skill in sports, or your ability to make people laugh. Either way, we are always judging ourselves harshly on those fronts - or placing way too much stock in other reactions.
Both of these are making people higher than God, and that is always very dangerous.
But if you instead let this push you closer to Him, you'll hear a different message.
He is already pleased with you.
He has given you these gifts to use for His glory.
Your weakness is His strength.
Your performance doesn't matter. You have been chosen, ransomed, cherished and honored.