My obsessive compulsive tendencies, demands for perfection, and mask of confidence all secretly and unanimously whisper my closest held fear: I believe I am a failure.
I couldn’t tell you when this belief began; I guess it never really began anywhere. My knowledge is more of a collection of self-discoveries that accumulated throughout the years. I knew in elementary school I was too homespun to be popular and too driven to be normal. I knew in middle school that I was too modest to be beautiful and too attention-starved to fit in. I knew in high school that I was too smart to have fun, too dumb to be brilliant, and too obsessive to be acceptable. And so, over the years I have come to know this: I am an outsider, a misfit, and a failure.
I never wanted this identity, and so I have employed every technique imaginable to disguise my failing nature. I ask myself, would I be a better me if I were perfect? Could I fool them if I always wore a smile? Would confidence do the trick? I’ve practiced these masking habits for so long that I don’t feel safe without them. They are walls that keep my identity safe from the forever probing world. Each decision I make is carefully weighed and measured to keep my mask tight and my wall of security strong. This is crucial because if I were ever careless my disguise like the walls of Jericho would come crashing down around me.
I wish that I could one day join in the happy numbers of those who’ve fully embrace themselves. Some days I even pretend I already love myself, and I am happy. But in the moment I feel threatened, I demonstrate my failure to be courageous by quickly slipping my smile back on, and continuing the facade.
I do have one hope, and that is my belief that, through my imperfections, Christ will make up the difference. And while I believe that I am a failure, I know He loves me, and this gives me the courage and resolve to try again.
Failure has become more than something I do, it has become what I am. Try as I might to disguise this disturbing fact, each day of my life has tested and proved the undesirable. While believing that I am an innate failure is often crippling, it is not an empty truth. For although I know that I cannot ever overcome my nature alone, I have hope that through Christ I can one day be more than the failure I am today.
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