You know what I honestly hate? (It's about to get real real up in here... jussayin.)
Cool girls doing cool things. And smiling. Smiling all the time. And wearing cute shirts and accessories that say, "I don't have babies at home that rip off my earlobes and break my necklaces and puke on my shirts."
I hate women with four and five kids who have self-made jobs and take beautiful DSLR pictures of their lives and post them on expensively designed blogs and have highlights and talk about Jesus like he just tickles them pink.
Don't even get me started about really successful people. When I see awesome people doing awesome stuff, I say to my friends "Oh my gosh, she is just amazing. I love her!" and what I'm saying inside is, "I don't get it. What makes her so special? What magic sauce situation does she have, because I feel like I could do that... but I can't. I'm not a cool girl."
My insecurities bind me up so that I can't truly celebrate other's strengths without my feelings being first squeezed through a fine mesh of envy.
I've been fighting the, "I'm not a cool girl" battle my entire life. Spoiler alert: I'm ridiculously bookish and nerdy under a very thin veneer of extroverted people-person-ism. I literally cannot remember a time when I wasn't feeling like I was in second place. And hating it. I mean, some people are really happy with silver. Silver medal! Second best! Woo hoo! Number two in the whole situation! Yes! But not me. No sir. For me second best has felt like a plague. (This is not a bumble brag. Believe me. I'm about to explain how much I hate always going for the gold.)
I hear what you're saying. Perfection is a poison. Comparison is the thief of joy. You can't love others until you learn to love yourself. Yeah. I'm on Pinterest too. But when I see that person who has just knocked it out of the park by simply being themselves, I'm riddled with jealousy.
When I see that person who just shines so bright, storm clouds collect over my head and rain follows me around in my own personal storm of Humph, Why me. Like Eeyore.
When I see a person that makes their work look effortless and their story look meaningful, I just think, "Well I hate you."
No actually I love them. You probably guess that right? I want to be exactly like them. I just don't want them to be like them right in front of me... because it makes me feel about thiiiiiis big. Teensy weeny. Teensy weeny Eeyore. In my teensy weeny rain cloud.
You know why I hate amazing people deep down? Because they make me feel less amazing.
In the past, I've let this envy propel me forward. I've pushed and leaned in and scrapped to keep up.
Worst Ickiest Thing Ever: I used to coat all of that jealousy and selfish ambition in Jesus Clothes.
"Oh Jesus, you gave me this ambition! You gave me an eagerness for work, high standards and a desires to succeed. So I'll do it all and when I'm successful, I'll give you all the glory."
And he said, "No girl. No."
What? No, really, what? Jesus. Come on. Don't you want my awesome?
You know what Jesus did with my awesome? He dashed it.
I love the word "dashed". It's used to describe collision. Waves are dashed against the shore. It also refers to running as hard as you can. Dashing headlong! Jesus took my running, crashing, dashing will and let me dash myself right into a wall. A wall called Unconditional Love.
You know what's weird about unconditional love... you don't know you have it until you are genuinely pathetic. Until you run out of everything awesome... and you're still loved.
Jesus took everything amazing about me away. He let depression and anxiety reduce me to a woman who was terrified to leave the house, who could barely drag herself out of bed. There, in that place, I couldn't even think about resenting successful people. I wasn't even in their league. And then He whispered this word: I love you so much.
Right there. At my worst.
And here's the real kicker... until I could look myself in the mirror in that place and say, "I love you just the way you are," I never really knew myself.
I had to lose my mind to find my soul.
I had to lose everything I thought I was to find my story and my voice.
Grace is amazing. It sets the captive free.
I'm still struggling to uninhibitedly celebrate people who are rocking it out at life, but I'm WAY better at it than I was. We are supposed to love others as much as ourselves... but it starts with learning to love ourselves as He first Loved Us.