I have never felt like I was good enough, both as a friend and as an employee. At work, I tried so hard to accomplish what I thought could make me the “Best” and finally be considered “good enough” both in my managers’ eyes and in my own. As a friend, I also worked hard to be loyal and likeable, but it also caused me to acquire some “friends” who were only out for their own gain and attempted to desecrate the person that God wanted me to be. When people would praise me, I took that as either they were just trying to be nice to me or that they implicitly wanted me to demonstrate more of the quality they praised, until I eventually had nothing left of that praiseworthy quality to give. I always hated the sound of my voice and how short I was. With being a Christian, I always thought I did something that would disqualify me from being a real disciple or that my cries for salvation were somehow unknowingly insincere or not real somehow.
But then just recently, God gave me an epiphany–some of it through Jerry Bridges’ bestseller Trusting God Even When Life Hurts. Through this book, His Word, and other people, God impressed on my heart that I needed to trust Him to work through me.
He said in essence, “Patricia, I made you who you are because I wanted the world to know that My power and strength will flow through your weakness. It’s OK to make mistakes. I will never love you less when you do. I will always be with you when you are struggling and I will never leave or forsake you, especially in those times. Patricia, I am always working in and through you. You have to let me work through you and trust that I have the best for you. I know you have been used and abused by so many people that claimed that they had the best for you. You do not need to impress them anymore. You don’t have to be who they want you to be anymore. You just be who you are and let Me mold you into who you always were meant to be, so the Best You will shine for the world and for My Glory. Just. Trust. Me. Patricia!”
I realized God has always been working through my circumstances and even through the trials of my life to get me to a place where I could finally start my journey to accepting the person He made me to be. I realized that I did not always have to be who certain managers, so-called “friends”, or anyone else wanted me to be. I did not have to try to fit their mold, especially if God did not want me to be in their mold. I’m still trying to learn that if someone is disappointed in me because I did not fit their mold of who they wanted me to be, so be it. They probably would not fit my mold either. I recently found out that my Christian convictions did not match what another person wanted for me, but you know what? We accepted the fact that we weren’t a good match for that type of relationship, and we still respect each other! I also was happy that I honored the Lord and did not budge on my convictions just to satisfy the desires of another person, even though it cost me in the process. In this, I also realize that I don’t have to have an extraordinarily high performance at work, especially if it is going to cause me to dread working or cause me to treat other people badly.
I also have started to appreciate that God has made good personality traits in me. A couple weeks ago, I was tempted to go through on a suicide attempt, but I am convinced that God put a fear and tenacity in me that prevented me from going through with the attempt, and that saved my life! This same tenacity also has helped me not to completely give up on myself and society and to persevere through my recent trials.
I will end with what I will put at the end of a memoir I’m in process of writing:
Yes, I still struggle with perfectionism, but I still have great hope that God can use me for great and beautiful things, just as he can use anyone else who struggles with self-worth, who yearns to feel loved and accepted for who they are, and who has bouts of loneliness. We can be used because we have scars and thus are able to see God’s heart more clearly.
And through the scars I see God transforming me into His image, from a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly!