Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Confessions of a Misfit

It was the year I started first grade. The day of "promotion Sunday" had come and I was leaving all of my friends behind. (My mother had gotten a little over zealous about starting me in School, so she started me a year early. You can do that in homeschool.) So there I was, trembling in my frills and curls, hoping someone would be nice to me.

"Bye sweetie! I hope you have fun in your new class!" said my mother as she kissed my cheek.

Reluctantly, I put one foot in front of the other as my teacher escorted me to a table to introduce me to some other kids. I didn't want to be there. I missed my Kindergarten friends. Still, I tried to gulp down my shyness and say hi. The other girls at the table were playing "make-up" with some of their new "chapstick." You know the kind...Lip Smackers. They had a Hello Kitty kind, ones that smelled like watermelon and bubble gum, some that had sparkles, some that were pink, purple, name it. They all promised to make you cool if you just owned some. It was all the rage at the time.

"Do you have chapstick? We're trading." one of the girls asked me.

Suddenly a huge lump in my throat came into existence from out of nowhere.

"No, can I share?" I managed to utter.

"Sorry. This table is only for cool girls. You're only allowed to sit here if you have chapstick." the leader of the group told me.

REJECTION. Boy, did it sting. With my head as close to the floor as it could get, I wandered over to the cardboard blocks to play by myself for the rest of Sunday School. And lies soon filled my head.

You'll never belong.
You're worthless.
They are so much better than you, don't even try.
You'll never be accepted.
You don't have what it takes.
You're not smart enough.
You're not pretty enough.
You're not cool enough.
Just give up.

It's been a long time since first grade, but I still feel like I don't have the right "chapstick" from time to time. Even as a "big girl" I sometimes feel like life has handed me the "You're-Never-Going-to-Make-It" ticket for the "Looser in Life" train. I see someone else who is inevitably better than me at some thing or another and the lies flow into my head. Other times I just feel like I can never be "good enough" at everything I touch will screw up. Or maybe it's just that I'm not where I want to be in life.

I'm stuck here.
I'm such a screw up.
I'm not a good enough Christian.
I'll never get it right.
Something must be wrong with me.
I'll never get past this.
I can't live up to it.
I'll never know what I'm supposed to do in life.
I'm just wasting my life away.
I'll never know God's will for me.
I can't make a difference.
I'm just not good enough.


All of them.

Ever felt that way too?

This morning I had a revelation. It hadn't occured to me that these thoughts of dispair and worthlessness did NOT come from my Savior. (Sometimes, you just want to hit yourself in the head for not remembering such a simple fact!) My soul has an enemy and he wants to do whatever it takes to paralize me and keep me from living a purposeful life.

Since getting back in town from PASSON 2011, I have felt extremely down and unmotivated, with a general distaste for being happy. Why? So this morning I asked myself in the words of David:

"Why are you downcast, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him,
my Savior and my God."
- Psalm 42:11

I didn't have a good answer, but I certainly did feel useless, worthless, tired. I've been studying Philippians for a few weeks and this morning I read this:

"For it is God who works in You both to will and to work for His good pleasure."
 - Philippians 2:13
And I remembered this:
"For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassions to his childresn,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear Him.
For he knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust."
- Psalm 103:11-14

Epiphany! It's not about my ability or my worthiness. It's about Him. He alone is worthy and He alone is able to work His will in me. Suddenly I was overcome by my Savior, and oh did I praise Him! I'm not perfect, I will make mistakes, and I am not good enough...nor will I ever be. But He is enough.He remembers what I am made of - dust. He alone can do in me that which is perfect. What a releif to remember that He is not done with me!

So when I feel like I don't have the "chapstick" it takes to be good enough...or whatever, I can rest in Him. He works in me to will and to do for HIS good pleasure. My Savior hasn't given up on my misfit self. In His presence there is GRACE, MERCY, LOVE, and PEACE.
And He, my friends, is ENOUGH!


kELLO! said...

wow. what a great post and reminders. sounds like passion was awesome (as usual)
i often find myself thinking, "i can't pray now, God will think it's just because i want something." or "my life is stale, so if i start reading the bible, God will think it's for selfish reasons or not bless me.." I imagine God being the smug version of myself. and like you, I was driving the other day and it hit me. like brick wall. That's not God's nature to think those things about me or to do those things. God does not act proud when we come crawling back- thats our human nature and like you said, lies. I was so encouraged and thankful that God finally revealed that to me!

Jeanine said...

Great post. Can totally relate with this. The enemy truly is insidious. And I've noticed, in my life, after I have had an awesome experience in the Lord or reached a particular encouraging mountaintop or whatever, he is always there lurking around the corner to try and bring me down hard. Never fails!
But thank God that he is Always there throughout it all to keep us strong and encouraged. God is so freaking awesome.

Megan said...

wonderfully well written post. Oh my heart just broke for little first grade you! I know and remember those feelings SO well...and am of course am still plagued by them in certain moments...what a wonderful reminder though of who is really in charge in our lives...

thank you.


Ashley Reale said...

Wow! Such a beautiful post. You are such a gem in the eyes of the Lord!! Thanks so much for sharing this. It's so funny how we can allow ourselves to be decieved so easily. Thank God that He sticks with us even more when we feel this way. I can totally relate to your post, and how when you finally get that revelation it seems so simple.

Oooh, and I love your blog! Following ;) Can't wait to read more!!

jenchristine said...

Ladies, thank you all for your wonderful comments. It seems I've been learning so much about living with purpose, God's will, and His Spirit lately. I know that the enemy wants to keep me from striving after those things by throwing my weaknesses in my face. Getting rid of those thoughts is really hard sometimes.

Thanks for the encouragement girls! I love reading about all of your journeys!

Victoria said...

What a cute and inspiring post! We all have been there. All of us. Even those girls. I'm so glad that as we get older we learn more about ourselves and those around us and while those things still happen to a certain extant we can handle them more easily! Thanks for sharing!

p.s. we got married on the same day! how exciting!

jenchristine said...

Thanks Victoria! And that is so cool that we got married on the same day...I know about 5 other people that did too! It was the day to get married apparently!

Jenni Austria Germany said...

so well-written. and may i say that your little 1st grade self is precious! those blue eyes, unreal.

Jenni Austria Germany said...

and ps - why are little kids so mean? the chapstick? seriously!


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