By: Alyssa Hunntt
Like many people, I grew up in a loving, supportive home and I was lucky enough to have parents that pushed me, encouraged me, and were proud of me. Also like many people, for the longest time, I thought that this love and support from my parents, authority figures, friends, and even God was entirely reliant on my performance. I tried to be everything for everybody. I got all A’s, I never made any behavioral errors, I was kind and loving, joined all the clubs, served everywhere I could, and hoped it was enough.
Soon enough, I found that who I was just wasn’t enough. I wasn’t athletic enough. I didn’t care that I was musical. I wasn’t in the very top of my class, so the top 5% wasn’t good enough for me. I couldn’t be perfect, and I thought I should be. I thought I was a failure.
All of a sudden, mid-self-degrading thought, a voice inside me said STOP. So I stopped. I stepped back in my mind for a minute and realized what I was doing to not just myself, but to the Lord. Because I’m his creation and he built me and designed me for his purpose, and I’ve been doing nothing but wishing I was different. I have been trying to be everything for everyone instead of further developing the skills and gifts God gave me.
I’ve always wished I were more athletic (which is totally not a bad thing intrinsically-we’re called to steward our bodies well, but at this point it was harmful). I always wanted to be the smartest one in the class, and whenever I failed to be at the top, I would play it off like the class was dumb and I didn’t care about it. I’ve always wanted to be the girl with impeccable fashion sense that always looks cute. I’ve always wanted to be the super bubbly girl that’s really fun and never embarrassed and that people just immediately love (this one was particularly frustrating due to my naturally introverted nature). I’ve always wanted to be the most musical, the most creative, the funniest…
You get the picture. I would see an area in which someone else was gifted, spiritually and physically, try to 'make’ myself gifted in that area, and then hate myself when I failed. Now, it is not a bad thing to see areas of your life that could use some developing and work on them. That’s growth, and it’s necessary. But when you’re trying to be a perfect person at the expense of the gifts and talents you were already given, it’s harmful and it’s not going to accomplish anything but self-loathing.
I have come to notice a plethora of ways in which I am not gifted, but there are many ways the Lord has gifted me as well, which he has specifically picked so that I can give him as much glory through my life as possible, which is absolutely what we were created for. So, if you find yourself ignoring your favorite qualities and talents just to hate the ways you’re not, Take a step back and remember that God created you to bring Him glory, and that pit of self-loathing isn’t going to do that.