Day #1

So, here's what I'm working on...
Believing that I'm as good, as talented, as capable, as valuable as all my amazing friends.
I didn't realize how much I struggle with this... finding myself an equal.
That whole, "I'm not enough" thing hasn't really been one of my problems,
but it's starting to be.
I hate that.
My dear friend - 20 years my junior - is constantly reminding me, "Nadyne, they're no better than you.  I know their long list of achievements, but still... You're amazing.  As you are."
She watches me exalt people obsessively as I stand in their shadows feeling tiny.

I'm a paradox.
I have an earthy, gut-level confidence that has convinced the greatest skeptics, while also holding an inner place, even deeper in my belly, believing this lie that if I was talented and beautiful, I'd be a success by now (whatever that means).  
I wouldn't be this scared.  
I'd be able to sleep.  
I'd walk past a mirror with a tinge less critical analysis.    
People see me in a crowd and have no idea how battered and afraid I really am.

It's scary to admit this... how small and stupid and dumb I feel so much of the time.
I'm embarrassed that I'm even typing these words.
But I must.  I need to know I'm not alone.
You'll misinterpret me.  You'll roll your eyes.  You'll take me off your list to call for a dinner date.
You know, if you know this about me.
This level of my own sense of deep inadequacy.  
I use this term, "life coach" because I've had years of experience guiding, teaching, directing.
Seasons come where people rely on my advice, my perspective, my words.
So, that means I'm successful, right... because people need me.  
And then moments hit where I can't spell, think, walk, talk, or brush my teeth.
What in the hell could I offer anyone else?

In the last months, I have felt a sinking sense that time is going to run out before I ever become great.  You'll find out I'm a fraud.
I was supposed to do something extraordinary with myself.  I was going to speak to the masses, entertain the crowd, inspire the weary.  I was going to have a signed-copy of a book in your hands, launch my health movement, cook gourmet dinners for my family.  I was going to pay off my debt, tend a flourishing garden in my backyard, host a television talk show.  
What I've done instead?  Collect boxes of broken dreams in my basement.
I have file folders of failed attempts, products I couldn't sell, people I couldn't convince, tickets I never paid, party invitations I didn't send,
long lists of people to whom I owe my whole life.  
I stand by rows of shelves in my closet, sorting magazines I was going to submit writings to, agents I was going to send pictures to, conference booklets I wrote in and promised I'd finally make something real happen for, and usually, I just stand there completely overwhelmed and sob.  Literally, I fall on the floor and weep.

I find myself crying in the car as I ride long miles in the snow, dragging my way home from work, working a job I never wanted.
I stay up late after everyone is in bed, analyzing my life, comparing it against all of you and yours.  While you're tucked in bed, nodding off to sleep at normal hours, holding the hands of your hot husbands, I'm wiping kitchen counters, making more lists, freaking out over how little time I have left.  
I have failed.
You haven't.
And I'm not kidding.  I know so many highly sought-after, pursued, successful, rich people.
They started out like me and then the roads diverged and stuff went their way, and not mine.
At least that's what I think in these long car rides across town. 
You're a better wife, a more successful business woman, a truer friend, a present mother. 
You've not charged up your credit card paying utilities.  You have enough.  
You've controlled yourself at a buffet, monitored your words in a tense conversation, resisted obnoxious hours scrolling Facebook.
You have it together.
I do not.
I've not grown-up, gotten real, delivered on my word.  I've been clumsy, needy, annoying.
I've lost hope, not followed up, crammed my calendar, broken commitments.  
You don't do these things.
Only, I do.

This is the lie a significant part of me believes.

And yet, even so, I walk around hopeful and happy.
I have an endurance to dream big, when all evidence of my life would steer me elsewhere.
Maybe this is success... this choice to find the good, the getting back up after knock-out, the reorganizing my thoughts to dream a new way.  
Maybe the fact that so little actually goes as I plan, is nothing but a challenge to keep being creative, faithful, and still.  When life feels raw, and resources slim, there's this love affair I have with God, I might never have if I could run to the store for a new pair of cowboy boots every time I felt the notion.  I get alone and try to see it all as a gift.  Doesn't work much of the time, but that's the goal.  I get quiet and grateful and hope that heals.

In these 40 days, these hours of waiting, preparing, remembering, feeling... 
maybe the uncertainties of this success I seek are actually tools to teach me about success I already have.  Most certainly, the Jesus I cling to knows my heart, sees my longing, and is working it all out.  That's what I tell everyone else He is doing for them.
That's the Life Coach speaking, feeling absolutely certain He'll deliver for you.  
Now, if I could just hear myself.