I played those final notes wrong. I passed all of those balls horribly today in practice. I missed every hit. I overcooked it again. I totally failed that speech. I didn't say enough. I said way too much. I didn't play those last notes right.
For pretty much as long as I can remember, I've tied my performance, my talents and my outward appearance to my worth. I guess part of it is the fact that some people assume I'm "perfect" - and so when I'm not, (which is like all the time), I think I've lost who I am. I've subconsciously told myself basically that if I didn't play well, look cute and act right, no one would like me.
And if no one liked me, I must be a...a failure.
A nobody. Just another average person in the daily life. I had to stand out and do something admirable to be worthy and something. If I didn't play volleyball well or had an off-day, then I must be the worst player and no good and everyone would look down on me. If I wore my black-rimmed glasses and looked less than stellar and put together, then people wouldn't want to be around me. Boys would stop liking me. If I played those notes wrong on the worship night, nobody would want to play with me again.
I'd lose their respect.
I fight back the tears, using anything I can as a cover up for the pain I feel inside. I push back the emotions, which are attempting to kidnap me, to the farthest corner of my mind and paste on a bright smile. I tell myself over and over that I'm wanted, but I feel like I'm lying to myself. I've been transported back to the past. I find myself hiding out in the corners again, alone. I push myself to work harder, to do something, anything, to force myself to stop thinking. To make myself immune to the feelings that constantly plague me. Inside, I'm crying non-stop. But once I see someone, I'm a completely different person. I'm happy. I'm bubbly. I'm friendly. Funny. Quirky. I'm a picture perfect person - or so I make them think. On the inside, there's pain. Doubt. Anger. Judgmental thoughts. Fear - lots of it. Sin- tons of it. Insecurity is a part of me as much as my lungs are part of my body. I make myself believe I'm part of the busy world that's going on around me - but really, I'm looking at them through a crystal-clear glass wall. I'm on one side, they're on the other.
If church is where God is, why do I feel so alone there? If Christians are called to love everyone, why do I feel unwanted? If they say I'm "smart," why am I failing? If God is my strength, why am I so exhausted - physically, mentally, and spiritually? If God is always speaking to us, why do I feel so empty? If my friends, who text me, saying I'm "funny" and "amazing" and all that, say all these nice things, why don't they ever talk to me in person? Why does no one look as excited to see me as they are when they see other people? Why am I constantly alone, even though I've been in this place for more than a year? My friend, who I've known for years - why does he say goodbye to my younger sister with a big hug and nothing to me, who's standing right next to her, not even a simple "Bye"?
I'm alone. I'm abandoned. No one wants me. No one cares about me. I'm a failure. I'm not good enough.
My head is pounding as these thoughts ram against my heart, one by one. My throat is tight, but I'm not sick. The tears start to fall.
As I'm battling this invisible force, something my new friend told me the other day comes to mind. I envision a baseball, with the words I'd been dragging myself down with written on it. The words failure, alone, unwanted, unloved, not good enough stick out at me and threaten to drive me to tears again. But as I envision this baseball, with all the negative words on it, coming at me at full speed, I grab out my bat - the word of God - and I take a swing. And that ball is off - away from me. Statement after statement, I shoot it down with God's truth.
No, I am never alone. God will never leave me nor forsake me. He is always with me, even when it doesn't feel like it. I am not alone.
"I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart;
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"I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all of my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds."