That’s not just a kitschy opening line – that is just fact.
- I am terrible at impressions. I can only do a British accent with ease. Everything else, it’s pretty bad. Just ask some former co-workers who had to listen to me try to make a Chewbacca noise as we’re assembling remotes (Because what else would we do to pass the time from putting hundreds of batteries in endless remotes? Yes, this was a real job in college.) I think the exact exclamations were “What the crap was that?? You sounded like a demented Furby!”
- I am terrible at basketball. I tried in middle school (it was too much running, not enough rest). Then, while living on the East Coast in my late twenties, a friend tried to show me proper technique and I actually made a few baskets, but I had more accuracy just shoving it towards the square on the backboard with two hands, so I stuck with that. He just shook his head and stopped trying. [Side note, I love sports. I love playing sports. There are some I’m pretty decent at. Softball was my 10+ year experience and I really got into flag football and ultimate frisbee in college and beyond. But B-Ball will never be my scene. And this post isn’t about what I can do, but what I can’t. So…moving on…]
- I’m terrible at drawing. And this makes me so sad because I wish I had artistic talent in painting and charcoal and free hand and…sigh…so much do I wish this. But trying to draw free hand…no. Just…no. Your 1st grader will beat me every time.
- MATH…………yuck and eww and heck-to-the-no. It’s inarguably the worst of the things I’m worst at and nothing can touch the height and depth of which I am inept at this subject of doom and despair. Ask all of my math teachers. Look at any of my report cards. Ask my family – who, bless their hearts, took me out to dinner one semester when I was in middle school to celebrate that I earned a ‘C’ in math that year. We seriously celebrated (I got to order anything I wanted) because I didn’t fail that class, that semester. My parents deserve gold medals. (I should mention that my sister is and always was a straight ‘A’ student. She never had to sweat over a test or do extra credit – she is naturally intelligent and she just never had to try and stress and pick herself up like I did. And my parents celebrated us both. Equally. NEVER comparing our accomplishments to the other.) Seriously – someone award some medals.
And while I could keep this list legitimately going (and going, and going), I’ll end with the reason for the title of this post and the summation of proof that while I’m terrible at humorous things and numerous things – there is something that I keep being reminded, as of late, that I’m particularly awful at.
I’m horrible at asking for help.
I detest having to open and lean because it means showing other people the ugly I try so hard to keep concealed.
I’m good at smiles and a master of deflection and wholeheartedly would rather hear about you than to welcome you past the masonry-crafted walls I’ve laid.
I know these truths about me and so many unfortunate more. I’m pretty self aware for being so layered and confusing. Still, however aware I may believe myself to be – my Craftsman knows me more meticulously than I can ever attempt. He is intimately acquainted with all my ways. My peccadilloes, my hubris, my annoying attributes, my hamartia…he distinguishes every facet. He did, after all, knit me from scratch.
And because He not only knows me, but loves me so wholly and completely that He would die to keep me, He understands how to challenge me in ways that ensure my growth and strengthening and prospering.
He’s been nudging me, ever so persistently, to open the gates of my stone barrier and be honest about some things I normally protect from the open air of exposure. At least in small doses. To a select few. Because we all have to start somewhere. And even saying yes once, for me, is debilitatingly difficult.
Sharing struggles and fears has genuinely caused severe stomach pains, limbs to shake, heart rate to soar…my body reacts physically to stress and other than conflict/fighting with others, is the most blatant ramification of angst than anything else I’ve experienced in my 32 years on earth.
If you know me more than in acquaintance but less than the effort it takes to actually wait out the fences and catch me when my guard is down and I trust you a little more, you may be tempted here to call a bluff, thinking you can speak with experience on the subject.
I can almost hear the scoffing: “Oh please, Leigh you’re so loud and outgoing, you’re not at all shy to be in a room and talk everyone up and want to be friends.”
To you, I gently point out that yes, what you said is true, but here’s the fine print: I love to be involved in what’s going on. I want to be included in the group, the latest, the hang times and conversations. I admittedly hate to be excluded and feel rejected if I’m left out of certain things sometimes. Yes. I admit that.
But there is a HUGE difference between wanting to be included and wanting to be the center of attention – the focus of observation.
Think of a football team. I am infinitely more comfortable and would request a spot on the 2nd or 3rd string Special Teams rather than ever try-out for Quarterback. I want to be on the team, wear the jersey, amp my people up. Heck yes! But do not ever ask me to be front and center and have all eyes on what I do and how well I do it.
Anxiety. Worst-case scenario. Here’s your jersey back; I’ll be on injured reserve indefinitely, happily wearing sweats, thank you very much.
So letting you in, asking for help in something real, something vulnerable….that takes a huge amount of deep breaths and credence and a large bolstering of pain tolerance.
Last week I somehow managed to take some of the shreds of sequestered self and empty them on the floor of a lamp-lit study as two amazingly gracious people sat with me. And I take no credit for it. God poked in His loving, devoted way – many times over the course of a year. Encouraging me to step out and start small if needed and choose accountability – and to not fear. Because He would make a way, prepare safe places for possibility. Many, many months later I finally said “okay, I guess I’ll try it Your way.”
And it was more gentle and sincere of a reception than I could have hoped.
I confessed the worries.
There were intentional questions.
There were heartfelt yeses and genuine prayers.
And I feel less alone in it.
I cannot put into words how indebted I am to this brother and sister of shared faith.
And I know it’s only the beginning of maturity, of wisdom – finding a seeking daughter, of growth that I desperately and continually long for.
So I know there are so many things I’m terrible at. But I want to be better at some of those things.
I think I can be better at this.
I think I have to keep trying. To keep stepping forward.