Walking past my daughter’s bedroom one evening I noticed with concern the sullen expression on her face. Alarmed, I entered her bedroom and sat on the edge of her bed. “Hey sweetie, what’s wrong? Why the long face?” I asked.
She heaved a deep sigh and replied sulkily, “Nothing mum.”
“Well it certainly looks like something to me,” I said, brushing a strand of hair from her forehead. “Tell me what’s bothering you,” I urged, but she lay on her bed, tight lipped refusing to speak.
“You know Lesley; I can only help if I know what the problem is,” I continued.
“I’m just tired mum that’s all,” she said irritably.
“Ok! what kind of tired sweetie. Are you physically tired or mentally tired?” I questioned. Exhaling loudly, she sat up looking down at her hands twisting her thumbs anxiously. Seconds later, tears began to flow down her cheeks and her shoulders bobbed up and down as she wept quietly. Overcome with emotion, I wrapped my arms around her hugging her closely. It was as though she were six years again not sixteen. Rocking her back and forth I waited till her sobs and subsided before I asked again.
“Tell me what’s upset you so much, please Les.”
Between sniffles and sobs she finally began to open up.
“It’s just that… err…life is so hard mum, I never seem to have a break. Everywhere I go people expect so much from me. At school I’m expected to perform and get top results in all my subjects. On the sports field I’m expected to be the best. At home you and dad expect me to excel in everything I do. I wish sometimes that I was like other girls my age. They don’t seem to have the pressure I have. I just want to be normal and have a normal life that’s all,” she said, pleading with me as though I had the power to change what she was feeling.
“Honey, you know that dad and I love you very much and that we will never expect more from you than what you’re capable of. Ever since you were a little girl you’ve been winning awards for your achievements. You’ve set your own high standards sweetie, and now you’re feeling the pressure. You must try and find a balance dear, or you will crack up under the pressure. Your teachers know your capabilities, dad and I know what you’re capable of so when you seem to lag behind in your results we have to check up on you and find out why. It’s so unusual for you not to do well. Do you understand honey?” I continued, trying my level best to make her understand.
“I know mum, it’s just that I feel so bad when I don’t do good all the time, it’s as though I’ve let you guys down,” she whispered.
“Dad and I will never be disappointed in you. You feel bad mainly because you have such a competetive spirit. You will never be satisfied with second best, you never have been,” I replied.
“So what do I do? How do I cope with who I am?” she asked desperately.
“Lesley, God has blessed you with so many incredible gifts and talents. You are a remarkable young lady with so much ahead of you. You need to pray and seek God’s will for your life in order to know what God wants you to do. You're never too young to find out your purpose in life. Always remember honey, God’s gift to you is life. What you do with this life is your gift back to God. Find ways of taking these gifts and talents and turning them around to glorify God. I can think of no better way of pleasing God and yourself.”
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