Updated on April 14, 2016
There has been an intense battle raging within me for the past two weeks. Intense.
I have felt worthless. Expendable. Invisible. The list of feelings goes on and on, but you get the idea. Not good.
I have completely hated myself and believed myself to be utterly void of redeemable qualities. I figured I might as well cease to exist. I was certain that if Clarence the Angel (if you haven’t seen “It’s a Wonderful Life,” watch it), visited me and showed me what a world without my presence would look like, there would be no recognizable difference between that world and the one that I was living in. Ok, I admit there would be a slight change—but simply because other people would not be forced to bear the burden of dealing with me.
[Ok, I know this doesn’t sound very positive so far, but keep reading…]
Almost every day, I would wake up in a daze. I tried to read scripture and truly listen to what God might be saying to me, but the tears and negative thoughts would always interrupt the silence. And oh, did they do a wonderful job of running roughshod over Truth.
Do you know why? Because I allowed them to. I ALLOWED it. Isn’t that awful? I chose to feel sorry for myself, and in so doing, placed myself in the darkness, inviting you know who under my “roof” (Matthew 8:8). I chose to ignore the voices of my roommates who desperately tried to help—my roommates who spent hours encouraging me and pointing me back to the One. But no matter what they said, I had a multitude of [very human] rebuttals and excuses lined up. As soon as I came home from work each day, I ran straight to bed and burrowed beneath the covers, waiting for the tears to flow that I had been holding back all day.
And why, you may ask, was I continually choosing to live (I use the term loosely) in this manner? The answer: fear. Fear that I wasn’t enough. I’ll let you in on a [not so hidden] secret: my biggest fear was that I wasn’t enough for others (yes, we just got deep…but did it really surprise you?)…
I knew that my “accomplishments” (such as where I went to school, what I chose to study, or the number of places I’d traveled to) could never make me “something;” however, feeling so alone and desperate to be seen, I once again placed my worth in these accomplishments. I compared myself to others, and I judged—a lot. I did all of this in anticipation that I would finally feel like I was worth it. Until I was enough.
My entire life, I struggled with self-worth and only felt I had value when others acknowledged its existence. Paradoxically, I was choosing to allow what I feared the most—people—to determine my worth and give me value. Sounds exhausting, doesn’t it?
And it was. It still is. Yesterday, after feeling the most physically exhausted and tense that I have felt in quite a while, I realized that the mind games I was constantly playing were taking a huge toll on me. God made obvious my mental issues by highlighting the physical.
I realized that I needed to ignore my fear of not being enough, step out of my comfort zone, and act like I was enough regardless of my feelings. I’m learning to embrace my fear of failure. I’m working somewhere I swore I’d never be, working on sharing my story (a story I’ve been ashamed of my entire life). But I can’t allow my risk-taking to end here. I need to constantly push myself and stare fear in the face every day. Every day.
Risk-taking looks like initiating conversations with people whom I want to get to know and learn from. It looks like actually showing that I care about others with whom I already have relationships with. Most of all, it looks like not constantly fighting for the affirmation of others—and not shutting down when I don’t get it…
I have come to realize that regardless of the amount of positive feedback I receive from others, unless I believe myself to be worthy, I’ll always be searching. I’ll always be waiting to be enough. And in waiting, I’ll be missing out on this gift called life…
…because right now, this is life. I am living. I have air in my lungs. I don’t need to constantly try to prove myself—to feel like I am something in the eyes of others…because I already am something. And I’m something, not because of what I’ve done, but because of what He’s done.
So, I want to learn to fail. Because even when I fail, the worst thing that could happen would be that others would think negatively of me…and honestly, as much as I think I can control what other people think of me, I can’t. Their thoughts are outside of my control…and that’s ok.
I’ll say it again, you can’t control what people think of you.
I am done living for people—there is no one that I need to impress. I am already a success in the eyes of God. Therefore, my only mission on earth is to follow Him and do what He tells me.
Failing scares me beyond words, but I know that through my failures and most of all, through my trust in Him, He’s preparing me for something big ahead.