You would think after blogging for nearly a year I would have run out of confessions, but you would be wrong.
So, confession: I have a hard time liking myself.
For every good thing I accomplish in life, I see 20 mistakes.
For every gift or talent I have, I see 50 flaws that hold me back from being more.
I have a seemingly insatiable desire to earn respect and admiration. And not just a little bit – I want to be a world-changer.
I have a clear vision in my head for who I’m supposed to be, and I constantly find myself falling far short of that idol.
Because, you know, I was the kid with the potential; I was supposed to be “somebody.” I came from the great family, had great grades, and excelled in most of the things I tried.
And I soaked-up the expectations. Lavished in the achievements.
And then found out that, for most of us, life happens.
I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to study in college. So I ended up muddling through.
My psychological issues – that I tried so hard to keep burried inside – would not be kept quiet. Those demons ate at my hope.
The same desire to be recognized stemmed from a deep hole in my heart, desperate to be loved and appreciated more than others.
Every day after graduating from college I have been painfully aware that I have a regular job, earning regular money, in an average college town, with a lot of the same problems as everyone else.
This is humbling to admit because I sound like a prick, but it’s true: ugh. Average. How could this be?
So inbetween sessions of beating myself up for being a loser instead of on top of the world, I set out to complete my vision of being the Best Christian Ever.
Yet, I kept falling short. In my own strength, I faltered. I still falter. For a variety of reasons, things just didn’t work out. And largely due to frustration, pride, and stubborness, my world imploded.
Even while the pieces have been slowly being put back together (through fits and starts) over the intervening years, the same basic premise has to some extent remained in my heart: God will work this out and in some way I will end up on top of the world, even though it may not look like I thought it would.
Because, you know, being the Best will just mean I have to be the best servant, like Jesus said, so I’ll just be the Best at being last.
Come to find out, though, there’s still a core problem with that line of reasoning: pride.
This is to my utter shame to admit: for so long, for reasons I am not entirely conscious of, I have thought that I was better than most people – smarter, nicer, more talented, you name it.
And through the shear force of my will and determination, I could move myself from being better than most to being Best. To admit otherwise was unacceptable because, as they say, aim for the stars and at least you’ll hit the moon.
But today I find myself in a place where maybe all the things I’ve known in my head for a long time have, to some extent, finally completed the journey to my heart.
Just like that scene in “Good Will Hunting” (which I make fun of: “It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault”), the simplest ideas the head knows make all the difference in the world when your heart believes them: I don’t have to be the Best.
I don’t have to be “better.”
In fact, I’m not the Best, can’t be the Best, and we really do – all of us – have parts to us that are better.
I don’t have to be a pastor, or a priest, or a teacher, or a counselor, or a scholar, or a musician, or a writer, or anything in particular.
I don’t have expectations to meet from anyone – friends, family, church, society, whomever – except God, and He just wants me to be more like His Son; but He’ll take me how He can get me.
Maybe it’s the weight of life finally “getting” to me, or the realization that I still sin epically and fall drastically short, or a combination of these and many other factors, but for whatever reason, maybe for once I can be OK being me as I am.
Not forcing a destiny upon myself but just taking one step at a time and seeing what happens.
Being content with being a beggar at the foot of God’s door as long as I’m near Him.
Not worrying about missing out on anything, because it’s all moot in His presence.
Maybe my heart is finally, agonizingly beginning to get a grip on the reality that, honestly, my life isn’t about me.