This blog post is prompted by a conversation I had last Friday with my dear friends. I guess I've kinda known this for some time now, but hearing it articulated and seeing it felt troubled me.
In worldly terms, I have excelled in university. Not only grades, but God has blessed me with various ministries which I find meaning and satisfaction in. I have never felt as congruent as I have my whole life to be studying social work and applying what I have learnt to meet the seen needs around me.
I don't know if this makes my friends feel lesser, but that they think highly of me I feel like there is a need to respond to that. And as I was reflecting I thought of an analogy so here goes:
I am like this cat. You won't think of cats as cuddly creatures. In fact they give a whiff of wanting their own personal space and wanting to be left alone. In short, they can seem so sufficient by themselves. But touch its soft spot and watch it close its eyes in joy! (Okay but I'm awkward with touches and need to consciously tell myself to relax when an arm is placed around me/I am hugged) As capable as I am in some things, I can tell you that I grapple with many others. When I was learning about anxiety disorders this semester, I found myself identifying with a lot of the symptoms of social anxiety disorder. Not only that, I grapple with relating to others as I would like, with being my God-centred self, with feelings that I am not liked.
There are days when you see this confident person talking to many people. These are when those thoughts of negative appraisal from others towards me take an intermission, or when I manage to ignore them.
I once told a friend everyone seems like an extrovert to me because I was like 'How do you talk to people and get close to them? How does this social thing even work man?!'
With this sense of 'lesser-ness' comes the temptation to think that I am better than others to compensate. Or in the busyness to think that friends are less important.
I chose to focus on this social thing out of all my non-strengths because this is something I keenly felt after entering university. With neither class nor boyfriend to stick to, and with the biblical call to fellowship, I suddenly had to navigate uncharted territories in friendships.
Do I act aloof like a cat as I am used to doing or do I pluck up courage to talk to people? How am I supposed to initiate a meet up? D: These things still roils my stomach.
"In his grace, God had given us different gifts for doing certain things well." (Romans 12:6, NLT)
This implies that there are some things which I do less well in. I guess what I want to say (and also to remind myself) is to know our non-strengths, not to be ashamed of them and feel lesser by them. Often it is precisely my non-strength that helps me to depend on God.
Though I grapple with words like I am now trying to end, ultimately I thank God for the hope that I have. The hope that assures me that 'All's well' for me as a child of God, even if I bungle the conclusion or even the whole blog post, even if anything for that matter.