I find that writing down my feelings often helps me to put some boundaries around my struggles making them seem not quite so insurmountable. Sometimes in defining my problems I am able to shed a little light on other areas of my life, h is what happened to me recently with my post about women’s ministry. In expressing my frustrations I came to terms with why sometimes I am bothered by compliments. Sometimes I receive a sincere compliment, accept it with gratitude and move on. Like everyone, I have also received my share of backhanded compliments and sarcastic remarks which I blow off or vent about and move on (most of the time). But it’s the genuine compliments housed in praise or awe that I don’t know what to do with. I don’t like it when people say “I’m in awe of you,” or “You amaze me,” or “How do you do everything?” I know it’s meant as a compliment, but I have a hard time accepting it. It was only after writing my last blog that I came to understand why those statements create such an uncomfortable feeling in me.
I have spent a great deal of time feeling inferior, feeling like I am lacking in all the areas that are of real value, and even feeling envious of other who had talents that I lacked. I don’t want to be on a pedestal. I am afraid that if someone thinks that I am great, amazing, awesome or the kind of person that can do anything, than I will become a stumbling block for others. I am afraid that someone will compare themselves to me and have a sense that they fall short of some mythical standard. I never want to be the cause of someone else’s sense of inferiority, worthlessness or shame. So I am constantly dealing with this internal struggle. I have found myself not wanting to brag about my accomplishments or successes out of a fear of praise. Yet at the same time I want to be able to enjoy those moments and sharing them with others is part of that joy. So sometimes I share and sometimes I hold back. I try to share my failures and goofs as a hedge around my successes to make sure that people know I am flawed….very flawed. I choose carefully who I will share with so that I am only sharing with those people who want to rejoice with me.
Here is what I mean. Sometimes I cook an amazing dinner from scratch. It feels like making edible art. Other times I forget I’m cooking, burn dinner and set off the smoke alarm. Many times I come up with an awesome idea to teach something in school: a game, a craft or an activity. Many more times my kids are doing math problems, diagraming sentences and memorizing latin declensions that they absolutely despise. I have planned wonderful summer camps, birthday parties, and youth group events. I have had birthday cakes collapse, made kids cry, and held meetings no one showed up to. I am very good at putting together the big picture and have mapped out what history and science lessons I will be teaching the next school year by late spring. I am terrible at the little details and frequently find that I don’t have the books I need for a lesson I’m teaching the next day…or that day. I am pretty good at problem solving in creative ways, but I have to ask the kids how to set things up on the computer. I am good at math but somehow seem to be terrible at any form of accounting. I could go on and on.
So here is my newest revelation. I’m pretty awesome. I have a great set of skills. It’s alright for me to enjoy my accomplishments. My strengths are just that, they are mystrengths. I sit in awe of my husbands ability to hear a piece of music in his head in full orchestration. He is amazed at my ability to listen to 4 different conversations at the same time and respond to all of them as needed. I find myself in awe and amazed by people who have strengths in areas that I don’t. It is where I have deficits that I find the most intrigue in someone else. If my friends are anything like me, then their amazement at my life simply means that their skill set is different from mine. So that’s why this is so wonderful. I love variety. I love that I have friends that are just so amazingly different from each other; it is the beauty of this life and one of my greatest blessings. Having such variety in life means that we can all have each others back. If I need something that I don’t have the skills for I know someone who does, and vice versa. Ahh, the power of community!
So what am I going to do now? I’m going to embrace my awesomeness. I’m going to enjoy my very own superpowers. I’m going to revel in my victories and share my joys. I’m going to embrace the compliments of my friends who have a different set of skills than I do. And I’m going to be more open to getting help in areas where I lack skills. I’m going to try to swap gifts with friends. (Can you help my daughter earn her sewing badge and I’ll help yours earn her cooking badge? Can you help me assemble this evil “some assembly required” item I ordered and I’ll help you plan activities for the Cub Scout camp you signed up for and now regret….wait that’s me too.) I’m still going to try and be sensitive to the feelings of others to try and ensure that they don’t feel inferior or discouraged. I’m still going to flaunt my boo-boos and my failures just as much, but look out world, I’ve discovered the joy of being awesome!