Monday, August 22, 2011

I Am 11 Again


I was never picked last for teams in gym class. I was never picked first either. I was somewhere in the middle. After all the fast, athletic kids were picked, I was called because I wasn't bad at sports. I wasn't amazing, I wasn't awful. I was just average. You'd think stuff like that wouldn't affect me so much as a now 28 year old girl with a life of her own.

But it does.

Because really, I am most aware of all that doesn't measure up in me. Aren't we all? We are our own worst critics? Or rather, we imagine that everyone else is our worst critic, sizing us up in every way that we do or do not qualify.

Physically. (too tall, short, skinny, fat, brunette, blond, curly hair, straight hair, you name it.)
Personality. (Not funny, not talented enough, awkward, loud, annoying, apathetic, insecure.)
Situational (unemployed, in debt, divorced, single parent, too old, too young.)

I sometimes feel like I'm still standing against that matted blue gym wall wondering when all the sticks will be drawn and my name will come up next. In friendships. In career. In life.

A few months ago a friend and I were chatting about love and relationships and he confessed this about the guys he knew..."Truth is, a lot of guys think there is always someone smarter, prettier, younger, so it scares them to commit or fall in love at all." That stuck with me, mostly because it's every girl's worst nightmare. To hear those words aloud. But he went on to say that falling in love has less to do with those things, and more to do with the adventure that comes after you commit to someone. "That's where the story is," he said.

And I'm back listening to all the names called ahead of me realizing it's true. There is always going to be someone smarter, more talented, better looking, younger, funnier, fill-in-the-blank more than me.

Who knew grade school was such a reflection of "real life"?

As a single parent, I fear the disqualifications. Wring my hands over them. Expect them, even. And I'm not solely talking about relationships here. I'm talking about the things I won't get invited too, because I'll have my daughter. The opportunities I have to turn down, because I am a mother first. The boxes I have to climb out from, the labels I'm ripping off, because people/friends/well-intended strangers think they know what life looks like for me from this side of things.

And can I just say... I'm tired of feeling like I don't measure up.

And honestly, it's completely anti-gospel.

{Hello root of my problem.}

What it comes down to is I honestly don't believe that because of Christ,
I am complete,
qualified,
enough,
accepted.

In me there is still this thing that craves hearing it from someone else's mouth. That yearns for the early draw, to be on someone's team, to not be left standing knocking my heels together with the leftovers.

I just don't believe it, as much as I want to think I do. Doubt seeps deep into my bones, so familiar that I don't even recognize it as something wrong anymore. I'm familiar with it. I know how to speak its language, and make it sound less than what it is...

Disbelief. My sin nature once again running my heart ragged on some treadmill that I really need to discard.

I don't know how to drain myself of this pernicious rot. Other than pray for Grace. For eyes to see and a heart to understand the good news of the Gospel.

Maybe then one day I'll mentally walk out of that grade school gym all together, leaving those teams and straw-drawing days behind me.

"And Grace calls out: you are not just a disillusioned old man who may die soon, a middle-aged woman stuck in a job and desperately wanting to get out, a young person feeling the fire in the belly begin to grow cold. You may be insecure, inadequate, mistaken, or potbellied. Death, panic, depression, and disillusionment may be near you. But you are not just that. You are accepted. Never confuse your perception of yourself with the mystery that you really are accepted." — Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

15 comments:

  1. *sigh* - thanks so much for writing this, dear friend. I have been having similar downhearted thoughts/feelings particularly this summer. what a beautifully written reminder of true identity. thanks for bearing your soul for the benefit of others [like me]. knowing you is a gift. <3

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  2. charis - i'm so very glad this encouraged you. hard to write, hard to say outloud, but better walked out with others than trying to fake it on our own. love you.

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  3. This is good. It speaks to me.

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  4. Thank you so much for writing this post. It touched me in such a deep and awesome way.

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  5. Bethany - thank you. thank you for letting me know you stopped in :)

    Kylee — i'm so encouraged to hear it met you where you're at. it's never easy to write about this stuff, so i'm glad to know that it echoes in other hearts too.

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  6. I am always so touched and moved by your words. You amaze and inspire me my darling

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  7. amen! what a great blog, Andrea. your words make me so very grateful for Jesus.

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  8. Brenda - thank you, so much. You are dear to me.

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  9. Bleecker - thank you, for your comment and for stopping by! :) i'm really grateful for jesus too.

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  10. I am just beginning to understand that I am really accepted, not on the basis of what I do, but because of who He is and what Jesus has done. Freedom, indeed.
    Also, "pernicious rot"...what a fabulous word combination! Yes, I am a word nerd! Love you~

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  11. Andrea, can I just say that you have never, not ever once, come across as average to me. In each post, I see your beauty and the amazing work that He does in you. Every. Time.

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  12. Jen - thanks friend. you would've picked me first for your team, eh? ;)

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  13. Maureen - I feel like I'm still understanding it too. Every time I find I need to learn it again, it's a cool glass of water in the desert. Every time. And I'm glad you're a word nerd too. I'm kinda obsessed with them myself ;)

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  14. Oh, friend. This is unspeakably beautiful and true.

    You are wise beyond your years.

    <3

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  15. Ashleigh - thank you, thank you, so very much.

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