In my mind I am invincible, heroic and brilliant. I conjure up all kinds of scenarios where I foil a plot to detonate a bomb or rescue a blind person from a burning building or win the jackpot without using any lifeline on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire." In itself, that sounds harmless enough, but the trouble is, I can't live in my imagination. And even though my brain works overtime to find some place where I'm adequate, or appreciated -- or better yet, both -- this is where I struggle ... seeing myself realistically.
For example: Weight
I tell myself these extra pounds I carry are no big deal, but then my friend Joanna sends a picture of me in a cowgirl outfit at her brother's 60th country-western birthday bash and my nose looks like a third cheek. Let's not even discuss my triceps -- whoever said turning sideways makes you look thinner?
My philosophy? Presentation is overrated. Obviously my friends disagree. Why else would they suggest I make my own cookbook, with a picture of what the dish is SUPPOSED to look like on the left and the photograph of how it turns out when I make it on the right!
When it comes to grammar, I excel. After all, I'm constantly correcting my students' improper conjugations and misuse of pronouns. But then I go into a curriculum meeting and a fellow English instructor begins discussing descriptive writing using litotes and I have no idea what she's talking about.
I have joined a group of jogging fanatics who actually get some masochistic thrill out of panting and sweating. I take that back. They don't pant and sweat. I pant and sweat. My running mates complete our jaunts around town resembling contestants for the Miss Universe Pageant. I, on the other hand, look like I've been run over by a freight train...a very, very loooong freight train, I might add.
The question Am I Good Enough? has plagued both Christian and non-Christian alike. It morphs into specific concerns: Am I pretty/smart/ popular/wealthy/powerful/ you-fill-in-the-blank enough? For the majority, the answer is always the same: no. Sadly, Satan has done a masterful job in keeping us focused on just how imperfect we are. And we have bought into his lie.
This past week my speech students began a unit on self-concept.
One of the theories we studied was the "Social Comparison Theory" which states that we form our self concept by comparing ourselves to others. After discussing the particulars of that theory, we all shared one person with whom we compare ourselves, good or bad. I began by telling my students my person is Vickie because she has a faith I admire. Out of 75 students, only four had no answer. The others had no difficulty in mentioning a friend or relative who had skills, talents or looks they desired.
It was a revealing introduction to a unit that would allow these students to share their lives. Little did I know when we began just how much baggage these young men and women were carrying.
Next week you will learn more about these teenagers and their specific stories.