I used to think of myself as fairly interesting. I enhanced my education with as much “extra” as possible, all the classes and I thought would be fun or beneficial but were not actually required. I was a graphic design major, but I did an undergraduate fellowship in mathematics. Worked in a photo lab. Campaigned for a political party. Designed theater posters. I traveled when I could. My summers during college were filled with different types of experiences – working as an arts & crafts counselor at a summer camp, squeezing in some extra classes at college, backpacking around Europe and then studying in England, interning at a cutting-edge ad agency.
But now? Now I look at my life and think how boring I’ve become. Inside, I still feel like the same person, but I sometimes worry how others might see me. I’m a mom to three children, which means I’m often filling a behind-the-scenes role of support, preparation, and practical things like driving and doing laundry. I’m a wife, which means that I willingly gave up my own identity and name to build something new with Tim, but I cannot now be separated from an identity shared with him. I’m a graphic designer, and I do work that is seen all over the country, but no one ever knows or cares who did it, just whether it does its intended marketing job or not. I have a bunch of lovely, dear friends for whom I would do anything, but the very nature of true friendship means that it cannot be all about me. I am only a good friend (or daughter/mother/wife) when I put aside all that I am and become one who helps bring out the best in someone else.
When I left college, my achievements were fairly impressive on paper, but inside, I never felt good enough. I was driven to perfection, and always aware of how far below that mark I was. Now, I beat myself up less often for my failings, and instead put most of my energy into becoming less self-absorbed and more involved with others. I’m fine with who I am, what I’ve done, and who I’ve become when I’m around the people I know, secure in their acceptance and love of me, but when someone who knew me “back then” comes along, I feel almost desperate to prove my success. Why does it matter, I wonder? Maybe it proves to me that I haven’t done as good a job as I would like to think, that I haven’t mastered the art of being humble, of selflessly nurturing and caring. Or maybe it pulls me out of this sheltered cocoon in which I live and reminds me of my competitive nature. Or maybe it’s simply the awareness that these people may not use the same standards to measure success and achievement, that they may not see the value in willingly serving others, in giving support versus receiving accolades. I sometimes fear that they might think I’ve sold out, given up, failed to achieve what I set out to attain.
Lord, help me to stay true to course – help me to continue to see my worth through your eyes. Give me the faith to renew my belief that I’m right where you want me to be, because I know there is no other place that I’d rather be than where I am with you right now.