Do you ever wake up and think well here it is, the day everyone finally discovers how much of an impostor you are at playing this thing called life? Like it’s something everyone but you managed to figure out and all your spinning plates are about to come crashing down? I sure do and lately particularly when it comes to my job. My God, I often think, why on earth do these people continue to pay me when I have no idea what I’m doing?
Luckily these thoughts don’t take up permanent residence in my head as they once did. I am also pretty sure that absolutely nobody has Life 101 down 100%, which makes me laugh at my own Why-Me-Itus hyperbole in more reflective moods. This term by the way comes from an outstanding post on elihu’s corner on the harmful effects of comparing ourselves to others. Give it a good read, it’s well worth your time.
For me and perhaps others, this at the abyss feeling speaks to insecurities about not measuring up. For years I lived with this mindset, always feeling deeply flawed. Not likeable enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not funny enough, just,….never enough. Needless to say, I didn’t value myself much during those times and felt very empty.
What is value anyway? We value items for their benefits but we value people because of how much we care for them and for the simple fact that they were created by God. At least that’s how it’s supposed to work, but things get all twisted up when we look to those people and things to fill up our emptiness.
Unfortunately, I’ve done this, many times. The irony was that the people and things I was grasping at for validation only made me feel worse. The shine always wore off new things, trips never went as planned and people always disappointed me, while the hole in my life seemed to get bigger. This continued for many years until I finally turned to God to fill it up.
Since doing things the easy way was never my style, this process took a long and painful time. I resisted, kicked and screamed the whole way until finally I realized the ridiculousness of blaming my misery and the world’s ailments on a God I didn’t even believe in. That was my light bulb moment and God used its opening to show me myself through His eyes and realize the enormous value He assigns to me.
For the sake of brevity I will say this came about via many books, people and sermons showing up at exactly the right time, one proverbial scale dropping after another. The long version is for another blog post, probably several.
The point is nothing will ever take the place of God in your life and it’s a dangerous road to believe otherwise. We may love and enjoy people and things (and we may even not), but without God as your anchor, your primary motivation becomes about clinging to the perceived fulfillment of emotional needs they provide. Your best interest becomes secondary and you begin valuing people like material goods and the benefits they can bring. Not good for them, not good for you.
This all ties in to how we feel about ourselves and is where things get tricky. Shame, embarrassment and fear built up over the years can eat away at your self worth and create self-loathing. Whether it’s from things you did, or things done to you, this constant assault on your spirit warps your thinking about God and how you feel about yourself and others.
This gummed up wiring can trip you up in many ways; I know it certainly did for me. We start believing the lie that we have no value and that our flaws are so great no one could possibly love us. Many poor choices are made in attempt to “fix” things, one is layered on top of the other until the bondage becomes too difficult to break away from.
Life then becomes about feeding the false idol whatever it may be; fear of disapproval, the need to feel wanted and loved, an intense belief in “your way”, your looks, political ideology, athletic ability, career, etc…It could be anything and once you put it above God, you become a prisoner to preserving it.
We were never intended to live like this. God loves and values us beyond reason and wants nothing more than for us to drop our barriers and seek Him out. It’s in our wiring to do this you know and this constant searching for fulfillment will not stop until we do.
And when you do, you will find yourself not caring a whit about those spinning plates crashing to the ground and whether your faults become exposed. You see it’s your authentic, God given self that emerges from this; where true freedom is found as your ego and pride go, poof.
Do I live this? Not every day, not by a long shot, but I do know my value as a loved and purposeful child of God and that can never be taken away. My hope and prayer is for you to realize this too.
“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; My hope comes from Him; Truly He is my rock and salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 62:5-6