I was a gifted and intelligent child who excelled in academics and creative endeavors. Somewhere along the way, I learned not to compete but to get by.

My parents modeled for me their own dysfunctional coping mechanisms, and so I also learned that charm and/or sympathy could garner an acceptable level of mediocre success. I lowered my standards to this level of success and set out plying both charm and to a lesser degree, sympathy.

It worked to a degree. I was able to build a life of relative peace and perhaps questionable success. At least, I was able to live with what I was accomplishing.

Until the truth knocked me in the teeth.

I hadn’t realized how far I’d sunk, how little I’d effectively stewarded what God had given me. I was responsible, no one else, for my failures.

With this revelation came incredible mental and emotional turmoil as I tried to transition from someone who got by and was applauded for it verses someone of integrity, strength and character who developed her gifts and inspired others (the goal).

I sometimes have trouble seeing clearly, and slip back into the old language, the old habits, the old comforts, relying on bravado, fake it til you make it, verbal preening, doing just enough. I hate it. it’s like a tumor I haven’t quite cut all the way off. I was hoping I would miraculously be better, but it takes work, patience, learning, growth.

Every day.

I don’t compete with anyone else, just my former self.

And the learning has to be treated like I’m studying for college credit, an exam, a goal. Because I am. We are.

I used to be very concerned about trying to convince someone I was good enough. Now, I have no desire whatsoever to convince anyone of anything. My objective is to be awesome. Just be really good at what it is I’m doing, whether anyone notices or not.

I’m here to make wherever I’m placed better, to build up whoever I’m with. and to represent Jesus for whatever touches me.

For me, that is success.