In case you can't tell by now, I have sort of a wicked inferiority complex. It doesn't matter how many times you tell me I'm good at something; I always think you're lying to me.
I have this idea that people let me try. That they give me the chance and then get someone qualified to come in behind me and sweep up the mess, someone to come in and do it "right" after I've given it everything I've got and still come up short. I appreciate the opportunity, though. Really.
It's dangerous thinking because it can easily be twisted into a devastating inner dialogue. And, at least for me, it was precisely that for the longest time. Thinking that the world just kind of makes space for you without making any actual space, thinking that people let you try without expecting anything from you except more trouble...it can make you expect a great deal less out of yourself. Until you wake up one morning and you expect nothing.
Then not even God can convince you there's anything good in you. Not even God can expose your created side.
You won't believe Him when He does.
The funny thing is that the less qualified, able, or valued you feel at whatever it is that you do (or try to do, if you're being honest with yourself), the louder you are about your absolute ability to do it. You get this mock overconfidence, this false bravado because there's this place deep inside your heart that wants someone, anyone, to expect something more of out of you. Or expect something at all. And you want to dare to expect something of yourself. Although you wouldn't dare. So you're loud about how well you can, even when your heart is resigned that you obviously can't. Even when you know that nobody really expects you to. Even when you don't even expect it of yourself.
It's dangerous because there comes a point in all of this when you think yourself nothing at all. And you lose the ability to touch anything, let alone everything, that God has put in you.
It seems kind of noble on the surface, doesn't it? That you would think yourself nothing at all? That you could be so devoid of ego that you can't get lost in even a shred of goodness in you because you're not thinking of it? That's not noble. It's not even good.
God does not ask us to think ourselves nothing; He tells us to think nothing of ourselves. Therein lies the difference.
It's a hard switch to make, a hard thought to wrap a wounded mind around. You get this inferiority complex in you and you spend your life trying to prove yourself, trying to prove that you're something, desperate to believe that you're anything at all. Then God gets in you and you realize you are something and all of a sudden, it doesn't seem worth proving any more. So you sink into the quiet life you could have had if you'd just figured all that out in the first place.
Yet, something in you still wants to scream that you're something, you are in fact something!, so that a world that thought you nothing will notice that it's different this time. And you end up shooting your gift in the foot and wrapping it in ego, which just days ago it seemed you didn't have, and everything is tarnished and spoiled and stained and now that you know you're something, your insecurities make you feel even more of nothing because nothing's really changed and there's still no place for something, only nothing, and you ought to expect more of yourself but you don't and then for awhile you do and then that seems tainted and you get lost in this cycle of being something and being nothing and wondering what anything means and trying to figure everything out.
Is it just me?
I don't think so much about me doing the things I'm doing any more, although if you give me a quiet moment, the demons are still there. I don't think about me saying the words I'm saying, writing the words I'm writing, drawing the things I'm drawing, creating the things I'm creating. I'm thinking more about the writing, the drawing, the creating itself and the incredible gift it is to be able to do what God has created me to do. I don't worry so much about being something, and I don't agonize so hard over whether I'm anything. I am someone, and I am Someone's, and I like just being that. Just being someone created. It's really cool.
I still don't believe it when someone says that I am good at this or that thing that I'm doing - leading prayer, as I've been talking about for a couple of days now, writing, crafting, cooking, playing. Whatever it is, I still don't believe you. Because I am keenly, painfully, agonizingly aware that I am not qualified to do any of this. Not for the grace of God or for anything else.
I am just very, very blessed.
And I appreciate the opportunity. Really.