I struggle with self-doubt.
Quite possibly I should not. I am well educated, have 5 beautiful and healthy children, a loving husband, and more books on my Kindle than I know what to do with.
But I often feel like I am shit at everything.
I have no career despite my expensive education. I used to be many things – a teacher, a lawyer, a civil servant – but because of my family and my Asperger’s, each of those careers is now…impractical.
These days I beaver away at writing with little discernable success. As a 21st century writer, success is measured in sales, yes, but also in the number of “likes” your Facebook page has and how many Twitter followers you catch.
I have been at this for 3 years. My Facebook page has 314 likes. I know bloggers that have been at it for 3 months and have 3 times as many followers.
It can be…disheartening.
Then there is my family. My parents are largely disappointed in my lack of career success and despair of me ever achieving “long term stability” let alone a pension fund.
And despite my vows at each of their births to be the coolest mom ever, each of my older 3 kids is both embarrassed to stand next to me and not a little appalled at my ability to quote Star Wars verbatim.
What can I say – I have Asperger’s and I’m a bit of a geek.
And let’s face it, once you hit your 40’s, your looks just ain’t what they used to be. I won’t indulge in false modesty and say that I’m ugly, but heads don’t turn when I walk into a room like they used to. I feel the advance of time acutely in each wrinkle and new roll of belly flesh that no amount of sit-ups will ever cure.
All of which means I am often plagued by demons that reliably inform me that I am incapable of success, a bad mother, a disappointment as a daughter, and, despite my self-delusions to the contrary, not as pretty or as talented as my mother thinks I am.
I’m a well-educated and reasonably fertile fuck-up.
Except that whatever my circumstances indicate, I am also a Daughter of the Universe, a Child of the Most High. I was born with a divine purpose that only I can fulfil even if I have yet to figure out what that purpose is.
I was baptised in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I am named and claimed by the One, the I Am, God in Whom All Things Are Possible.
Who am I to question anything about myself – my Asperger’s, my kids, all of it. All of it it comes from God and God made me just the way He intended to. He makes no mistakes, even if I screw up on a daily basis.
Intellectually I know this. But it can be hard to remember it when Self-doubt and Self-revulsion come knocking. For some reason that is beyond me, I always answer the door and here is what they say:
If you were really a Child of the Most High, wouldn’t you be a bit more blessed? Wouldn’t you have a bit more success? Wouldn’t your life suck just a little bit less? Surely if there really was a God who loved you, you wouldn’t be in such a miserable, f-up state? Where was your ever-loving God when your sister died, when you got laid off, your mother had a stroke or when you lost the house? Why hasn’t he seen fit to make you rich, or at least well-off enough that you can see your parents more than once every five years? Why? We’ll tell you why. Because you suck. End of story.
But I don’t suck. I am, however, a glutton for punishment.
And that is the beauty of baptism. It washes away all of our mistakes – daily. It marks us, physically and spiritually, a tattoo of the highest order that proclaims our Tribe and our faith. And although each of us is in the same Tribe, regardless of our faith or national origin, baptism is a sign to all comers that we are followers of the Son, the one who delivered a powerful message of love, forgiveness and reconcilliation and who died that we may be reborn in eternal life.
A life free from worry, doubt and fear.
A life free from the demons that plague us.
A life everlasting.
I am exactly as I am supposed to be. I trust in His will. And rather than focusing on the things I cannot change – ASD, the advance of time – there is still room for improvement. I need to work harder to get dirty and to be the hands and feet of Jesus so that my presence will be a blessing to others.
I can focus more on the core messages of my faith – to love God with all my heart and soul and to love others as myself.
Self-love enables me to be the person I need to be. It is hard. It feels arrogant, egoistic, privileged.
But if you stop and think about it, Jesus calls us to love ourselves. We need to fill ourselves up with self-love and then let it all go in a continuous cycle of renewal and redemption.
As we were redeemed by the love of Jesus, so we redeem others by sharing that love with others. We should love others as fiercely as we were loved by Him.
Our cup should be overflowing so that we can share it with everyone we meet – a passing of the flask, a sharing of the bottle. No one is left thirsty.
It begins by remembering who we are…
I am named. I am called. I am baptised.
So all the demons can piss off.
I’ve got work to do.