My brain was screaming Shut up! Stop Talking! What’s wrong with you???!!!
It took a while to recover. To make myself feel better in the wake of my social suicide, I was self talking like Stuart Smalley in the SNL sketch’s: “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”
Why did I stumble and fumble over my words and act all goofy? It was a question about the weather for cryin’ out loud!
No, it wasn’t the question that left me verbally tripping and looking like a schmuck. It was the day and the situation…I blame it on my perpetual adolescence.
After a ball game, a group of parents stood in the hall. I was decidedly the outsider but I was with one of the “cool kids” so the others felt it might be safe to talk to me. Who knew that a simple query about the wind on the roads would unleash my inner awkward adolescent self.
But it didn’t start at the game. The whole day was characterized by a massive identity crisis which in turn led to insecurity. If I wasn’t inarticulate about the weather I was second guessing my words to a friend or feeling like a poser talking to the savvy woman about her upcoming Italian adventure or rethinking my vocation or obsessing about the alarming number of gray hairs adorning my head. Overloaded, I felt like my brain was on the verge of exploding–or imploding. Either way, it would have been nasty.
Calm, cool, collected on the outside no one would guess I heard “fail” in my ear every time I said something or wrote something or spoke to anyone.
I’m beyond being someone I’m not. I can’t help but be me. But what about when me falls flat on me’s face? I’d love to don an alter ego and escape from me once in a while. But alas, I’ve tried and it doesn’t work. So I’m left with me. And most days it’s ok. In fact I’ve learned that I like me. I’ve learned that as I grow and change and struggle and trust that God doesn’t make mistakes, I see glimpses of the me He intends. But that fact doesn’t make the identity crisis or insecurities any less a reality.
A few weeks ago someone near and dear to my heart wrote “Eat, sleep, work, repeat. Is this what life becomes?” I consider this young man a kindred spirit: pensive, reflective, analytical, searching, spiritual and discontent with good enough.
Eat sleep work repeat…
Is what we do who we are? work, cook, clean, eat, sleep, work
Are we what we feel? happy, sad, angry, jealous
Are we simply the sum of our roles? mother, daughter, wife, friend
Why am I a 44 year old who still feels like a teenager when I lose who I am and become insecure?
We all want to be liked. We all want to be important to somebody. We all want purpose. But you don’t have to live long before eat, sleep, work, repeat takes over and you have no idea who you are.
Is this the life God intends? Or do we fall into identity issues and insecurities because of pride–because we don’t think we’re getting what we deserve from life or work or those near to us? I know that’s at least partially true for me. Somehow I’m fooled into thinking I got gypped along the way.
Then I read this quote by Oswald Chambers and a light begins to dawn on the horizon and I see my pride and futility. “The tendency is to look for the marvellous in our experience; we mistakethe sense of the heroic for being heroes. It is one thing to go through a crisis grandly, but another thing to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, no one paying the remotest attention to us…The test of the life of a saint is not success, but faithfulness in human life as it actually is…Our human relationships are the actual conditions in which the ideal life of God is to be exhibited.”