Thursday, October 4, 2012

Underwhelming Confidence

I'm not a naturally confident person. Oh, I try really hard. I'm good at quips and comebacks. But I'm not good at eye contact, at small talk, at approaching an already formed group and joining conversations. It gives me heart palpitations just thinking about it. The truth is, I'm the walliest of wallflowers. I'm happy that way. I observe and take note. I'll know your favorite color, what role you played in your high school theater club, and it's possible you won't even remember my name.

Having this tenuous confidence has its many drawbacks. One of them happened to me today. See, not having overweening natural confidence, it doesn't take much to throw me for a loop. Today, some flippant little comment on Facebook sent me into a tailspin of epic proportions. This person didn't mean to ruin my day. I'm sure of it. Nevertheless, they did. One little comment, which made me feel foolish, had me questioning my entire life. I hate feeling stupid. It's one of the worst feelings I can think of.

And so I found myself, on the floor of a stranger's bathroom, having the mother of all meltdowns. Like Adam and Eve, my eyes were opened- opened to see myself wearing knee pads and clutching a pink plastic toothbrush through blue latex gloves, scrubbing someone's toilet. And, like Adam and Eve, I was ashamed.

No. There is nothing shaming in honest work. I don't hate my job. Most days I'm perfectly fine with it. But, because of this brokenness inside of me that can cause my entire world to shift thanks to one meaningless comment, today, I was not fine. I found tears streaming down my face as I scrubbed that toilet, asking myself what I was doing here. The song came on my playlist- "I Will Not Forget You", of Enter The Worship Circle fame.
And I felt God gently prompt me, "Have you forgotten? Have you forgotten Me, and who you are in Me?" To which I returned, in the midst of said meltdown, "NO! No, it's YOU who's forgotten ME! You've forgotten me! I'm on my knees in front of a toilet! What happened to all these so called 'GIFTS' [insert enormous air quotes here] I'm supposed to have been given?" See, in my mind, at just that moment, the value of a gift was only as high as someone else valued it. You can sing like the very angels of heaven, and if no one hears or cares, then that makes your voice valueless. And because someone, a near stranger who has no impact on my life, did not value me, I felt valueless. I felt lost, adrift, the tiniest useless speck in a sea of nothing.

Now, a few hours later, I can see my folly. I can toss out the clever quip that's expected of me, brush off a little remark without letting anyone see that it's burned my skin like ash. Hindsight being 20/20, and all that. But my descent into that darkness was very real, however temporary. Which leads me to the question: Who is my confidence in? Who do I boast in? I certainly can't let it be myself. Because as soon as those foundations are shaken even the tiniest bit, I stumble. I crack.

And so today, I'm placing that confidence in the one who said He wouldn't forget me. I'm resting my value in His hands. I may never be a natural in social situations, exuding confidence and charisma. I may never find "value" by the world's standards, value that fades with time, or cracks under pressure, or is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it. But I'm confident in this one thing: I'm valued by the One who, in the end, is the only One who is allowed to weigh and measure me, and find me wanting.

And He never does.

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