Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Lately I've been frustrated with my shortcomings. Why can't I keep up with more tasks and facts without forgetting things? Why can't I work more efficiently? Why can't I control my emotions better? Why can't I perform on a higher level? Why don't I have more or better talents? Why don't I have more resolve or perseverance? What's wrong with me?

Over the years I've learned that this sort of negativity isn't really going to help me. Getting frustrated about my shortcomings will not help me overcome them. Instead it will make me feel defeated and incompetent, and I will be less likely to improve than if I just cut myself a little slack. After all, just because I don't do everything perfectly doesn't mean I'm a useless failure. When I'm having a rough time, my flaws look greater than my strengths, but I realize that objectively that's not true. Having shortcomings doesn't diminish my talents, and those talents can even help me overcome my shortcomings if I give them their due.

So as I sit here trying to dig myself out of the pit of my inadequacies, I want to take a moment to remind myself that there are things I can do well, even now when I'm not necessarily operating at my best. As a matter of fact, I'm going to make a (non-exhaustive) list:
  • I can be a good friend. I don't always succeed at being a good friend, it's true, but I have the traits and character of a good friend in my heart. I can commit to people I love and I can make the right choices to be the kind of friend they need and enjoy. When I mess up in a friendship, it's just a transitory thing—it's not because I'm incapable of being a good friend.
  • I can dance. I have both the skills and the courage to dance (as long as it's social dancing—you won't catch me club dancing any time soon). I have hips, and I really can use them. I have decent posture and reasonably light feet when I'm in the right mood. I may not have all the moves, but I have the attitude, and that counts.
  • I can make a good mix CD. I realize that this is a subjective statement, but many people have enjoyed my mix CDs and complimented me on them. I'm pretty good at figuring out what kind of music someone will like and ordering the songs in an aesthetically pleasing way. I also have the motivation to make mix CDs, and I hope that this is a small but meaningful thing I can do to brighten a friend's day.
  • I can learn from books. I'm a quick learner, and sometimes reading about things and trying them out for myself works as well as a formal education structure. I'm good at finding resources to teach myself how to do things, and I don't usually need a lot of supervision or one-on-one help when I'm learning something.
  • I can sing. Even when I get nervous or there's a little gunk in my throat, I can usually manage to make a sound that the average person finds pleasing when I sing. I have the ability to touch people with my singing, and for some reason they respond very well to my voice. I'm happy that I can make them so happy just by singing.
  • I can sleep. I go to sleep pretty easily and quickly most nights, and I can sleep through a reasonable amount of noise or even sunlight. When something does wake me up, I'm often able to go back to sleep right away. This is an invaluable trait for someone whose body needs sleep as much as mine does!
  • I can keep an organized to-do list. I do forget things sometimes, but chances are if I write it down in my planner, it WILL get done. I can prioritize my commitments and get things done in a reasonably orderly and efficient manner.
  • I can do the crab walk. This might sound stupid, but for someone who's always been bad at all things physical, it's really heartening to have one thing in my workout classes that I can do better than anyone else. I couldn't crab walk very well in elementary school, but I can do it now!
  • I can trust that God has a plan, even when circumstances are driving me crazy. I get annoyed with God sometimes for not being more forthright with me, but I don't lose faith in His goodness or His plan. Even when I feel separated from God, I still believe that He's here looking after me in His own way.
Some of these things may seem small and insignificant, but they remind me that I am a complex person with both good and bad traits (and both good and bad days). I'm not always at my best, but there are always things I can do. I am never helpless or worthless, because God has given me gifts to see me through. Sometimes the smallest things can remind me that I am a special child of God, and I really appreciate that. So even though there are things I can't do (or do well) today, I know that's not the whole story. 

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