Little Miss Perfect

 What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?

Psalms 8:4

At three years young, I sang my first solo “Silent Night” in the church Christmas musical, very loud and off key. It was SO bad, that I was not allowed to lead solos at church for a few years after my dreadful performance. By age seven, I was allowed to redeem myself and without fear belted every solo I was given with perfect pitch and passion. At age ten, I began to realize the pressure adults placed on people and children who are in the spotlight. That realization was like eating the fruit in the Garden of Eden for me. When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, sin entered humanity changing the course of human nature forever. Just as their eyes were opened to something they should have never understood (sin), my eyes were opened to FEAR, and I slowly began to lose the joy in singing. 

I forgot that it was really between me and God and focused too much of my attention on what people thought of me. I would get sweaty palms and become anxious when it was time to sing. I knew people expected me to sing well, and that pressure I placed on myself lead to extreme butterflies in my stomach. It was so bad, I can remember asking my dad how in the world did butterflies get in there!  I was convinced there had to really be bugs in my tummy bothering me...

As the years have gone by, I now no longer worry about the butterflies I get before a performance.  Instead, I have had to work through letting go of pressure.  Pressure placed on me by people and expectations that I should not have to hold on to. I know I am not alone in having struggled with allowing pressure or stress from people affect my life. I would like to share ways I have overcome this. I hope what I have found can help you too.

The first time I competed in the Miss Georgia Pageant I was extremely overwhelmed. I had no idea what I had involved myself with. I was so concerned with making sure I did everything right and when one little thing went wrong in my pageant prep, I would feel so defeated.  I had this theory called "almost perfect", which is what I've used as my formula to a pageant win. It is where you are so well rehearsed in the five phases of competition that when you compete, you're "almost perfect" therefore, solidifying your win. Of course, I am not really attempting to attain absolute perfection, and really the outcome is based on a combination of your well-practiced performance and the judge’s prerogative. Even if you are ‘perfect’ to yourself and audience members you may not be the flavor of Fanta the judges desire that day. You could have just the right amount of sugar and carbonated water as the next; if you’re strawberry flavored and they want orange then God had it in mind for orange to take home the crown. Don’t get mad….(I DIGRESS) What I am implying is “almost perfect” was a mentality I carried from childhood. One I thought would always help me succeed and it wasn’t true. Though consistency is key, I learned winning isn’t everything and worrying about being perfect isn’t either. I really messed up when I had taken on the expectations of any and everyone my first trip to Miss Georgia. 

I headed to Columbus for Miss Georgia week in tears! I’m talking about I cried the whole two hours of travel. HAHA!  I had no faith that God would meet me there (HE DID IN AMAZING WAYS), and I was so worried I would fail everyone who invested in me. In the months leading to my first Miss Georgia Pageant, I had won four titles in a row. I had won three Miss Black and Gold titles a local, state and regional title, as well as the Miss Fulton County Pageant that qualified me to compete at Miss Georgia. I put so much pressure on myself. I literally had to stop on the very first day of competition and tell myself; “you know what Gab, go out there and just live in the moment.” I heard God in my spirit comforting me.. “Trust me and my plan. I brought you here so free yourself from the expectations of people and just live.” When I made that decision at the end of Miss Georgia week, I came home with a talent prelim-award, best interview award, and some CRAZY WONDERFUL MEMORIES WITH AMAZING YOUNG WOMEN. 

My second year was even better. I came home with a top ten placement, another talent win, and even more spiritual growth than the year before! It was because I dedicated my pageant prep to simply being the best I could be and complete rest in God and his plan. I did not worry about a single person, not even my parents. (They have to love me anyway lol) I made the choice to free myself from people by choosing to love them GENUINELY instead of trying to please them. Attempting to please is no good anyway. When we choose love, God will see the intent of the heart and allow all of those people you feel obligated to please to see your beautiful spirit and release you from the pressure to please. Whether you win or lose they will have felt you were a gift to have at least encountered. 

After I chose to love, I also found freedom in another concept. That concept is this; earth IS NOT MY HOME. One day I will be in heaven and the only thing that will matter is what I did for Christ. Therefore, it is my job to love him first, seek him first, and place him at the center of all I do. After all of those things are placed first everything else will fall into place at the right time. He will place you amongst the right people, and the right doors will open without you even trying to turn the handle. The creator is writing your story and it will be an amazing one if you let him lead! He doesn’t want us stressed with pleasing people and other created beings made from the dust and dirt (Gen 2:7). He wants us to be completely AT PEACE focusing on him. Fill yourself with his love so it flows to others. I hope this helps someone because I’m telling too much of my business in this post..HAHAHAH! HERE I GAB AGAIN!