Friends wondered if I was performance oriented – that I got significance from my job. (With friends like these, who needs enemies? No, really, I’m grateful to have people in my life who have the courage to tell me the truth about what they see)
I considered that for a bit. But it didn’t seem to fit right – like the shoe was on the right foot but maybe I needed an extra wide, or something.
Upon reflection, I realized that it wasn’t my job that gave me a false sense of worth. It was my work ethic. I look pride in the fact that I was a hard worker – when things got rough, I hunkered down and did the right thing, no matter what. In my job. In my marriage. In every aspect of my life. I was noble. Enduring. Loyal. I took care of things. Self sacrificing. (yeesh, make ya sick yet?)
I was a good girl.
Now don’t get me wrong, the attributes I mentioned above are positive. Definite character assets.
Where things got mixed up was when I clothed myself in those attributes, found my identity in them. I was playing a role, hiding behind what the Catholics call a “false self”, rather than living authentically.
I was bowing to the altar of self, rather than responding in love to God’s initiatives. It’s subtle deviation from the lifegiving road, but one that was leading me further and further astray the longer I walked on it.
But the alternatives? I didn’t want to be a bad girl (ok, so sometimes I do).
I want to be His girl. Loved by God and ok, no matter what. Free to fail and to be weak. Taken care of. Cherished. Beloved.