What’s Wrong With Me?

I’ll bet if I asked each one of you to pick the five people closest to you in your life right now that would be a simple task.  I also feel confident that if I asked you to tell me one thing about each of those people that drives you absolutely crazy you could do that almost as easily.  In my youth I can remember that when a friend/family member/teacher would upset me I would think to myself- if THIS is what it is about my friend/family member/ teacher that drives me insane, what is it about ME that drives people crazy?  It was tough to think about.  I mean ideally wouldn’t we all like to think of ourselves as these flawless creatures who go throughout each day with our perfect little selves bestowing blessings upon everyone who comes into contact with us and our contagious laughter, our impermeable intelligence, and our overall perfect beauty?!  I used to think that surely there was NO WAY I would get under someone’s skin like so-and-so does to me.  Pretty self-righteous, huh?  It was.  It’s not an easy thing to admit.  That was in my youth.  I don’t think this way anymore.

I’ve learned many lessons throughout the different transitions in my life, but one I’ve learned in this past year especially is that I am most definitely flawed.  I had a friend to describe it the other day as being “imperfectly perfect”.  I really enjoy that phrase.  As Christians we are instructed that each of us is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).  How could we not be, right?… if we are created in HIS image.  HE is our creator.  What an honor that is.  It’s when that stinking old sin nature comes into the picture that our flaws begin to take their ugly shape.  I mean, can you imagine my horror the day I realized that I wasn’t perfect?!  (I am saying this tongue in cheek, but with a degree of about 17% truth)

Maybe a brief background is necessary here.  I’m a child of very loving and nurturing parents.  It was NOTHING for my mom to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger and waving over in my general direction say to them, “Isn’t she the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?!”  When teachers used to send home a note explaining to my mom and dad that their daughter was talking too much in class, my mom used to write little poems back to them on the flip side of the note detailing how wonderful, independent, and creative I was.  (true story- just ask Janet Long, typing instructor)  Jessica and I were always praised and uplifted.  Pretty sure neither of us were lacking in the self-esteem department.  I don’t say this as a bad thing either.  I think self-confidence is vitally important to people.  I believe that as parents it is our duty to praise, uplift, and encourage our children and I plan to do it with my children almost to the point of embarrassment, just as it was done to me.  I’ve read before and even heard some people say that you shouldn’t praise a child too much- that it will “spoil” them.  I totally disagree with this line of thinking.  The world is a hard place.  It can be cruel out there.  If you can’t be uplifted at home and have your own built-in cheer team living under your own roof, then whose responsibility is it to provide this life-altering service for you?  The world won’t do it.  Surely we all have stories of being torn down, stomped upon, and spit out by life.  Parents mold children into the adults they become.  Mold with care and caution.  Mold with intent.  Mold deliberately.  I will always be grateful that my parents did. 

It’s easier when you’re young to look at only your good points- your humor, smarts, looks- whatever they may be for you.  No one wants to focus on the bad.  I’m finding that the older I get I just don’t want to pretend anymore.  Maybe I just don’t have the energy for it.  My friend Kelli likes to use the word “authenticity” pretty regularly.  It’s a word I don’t really hear in everyday dialog with anyone else.  I want to be that authentic person.  I want people to know the real me, but even more importantly I want ME to know the real me.  That has involved a lot of soul-searching.  I’ve learned things about me that I didn’t like.  I’ve learned that I can be selfish (and I HATE selfishness!).  I’ve learned that I can be jealous.  I’ve learned that I can be bitter.  I’ve learned that I partake in too much gossip.  I’ve learned that I have in the past had the ability to write people off out of my life probably before their time should have been finished.  I actually have a FB friend right now that I did this to in college and I feel so blessed that she’s chosen to forgive me…. and that leads me right into my closing points and the entire lesson of this little talk…

Forgiveness.  I’m learning to forgive myself.  I’m learning that it’s okay that I’m not perfect.  No one is.  Only Christ.  Not only that, I’m learning to forgive others.  I’m learning to take these ugly flaws inside of me, pull them out, put them under my spiritual microscope, attempt to figure out the root cause, and then BURN THOSE BABIES OUTTA ME!  It’s a process.  I don’t think years of character flaws can be repaired in one fail swoop, like that pseudo-actress Heidi Montag having 10 plastic surgery procedures in one day.  I don’t think it’s an out-patient procedure.  I’m pretty sure this is going to take time.  But time is what I’ve got and I think the payoff at the end will be reward enough.

I hope that when all is said and done the people who are in my life will accept me for who I am and how I am.  I hope they will understand that I am fully aware that I am a work in progress.  I know that I’m not perfect nor do I expect anyone else to be.  I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” and that’s a lot to live up to.  I intend to try.


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. elfinfun
    Feb 03, 2010 @ 22:14:51

    Authenticity is so hard to come by. It is an hour to hour, day to day undertaking; one that I have not practiced with regularity as of late. The perfection is in our imperfection, as you and I have talked about many times. Thank God our Savior embraces our flaws in an effort to make us perfect in Him.
    I am also thankful for a BFF who gets it; gets me; and when I screw it all up and show up in this game called life less than who I know I should be: you hold my feet to the fire and then love me back down to earth again. There is no greater measure of friendship than that. I am grateful God has marked our paths parallel through life here on earth. Thanks.



    • mandaclair
      Feb 03, 2010 @ 22:24:11

      I too am blessed to have you in my life. Please know, dear friend, that my feet are no stranger to the fire and I hope they never will be. That’s what we’re here for, right?

      As iron sharpens iron… I love you, chickadee.



      • Liz Woolridge
        Feb 17, 2010 @ 08:09:51

        I know this was a response to Kelli but I just hadtears streaming down where you wrote “my feet are no stranger to fire” given yesterday’s fireplace incident. You put a smile on my face…again.


  2. June Gladson
    Feb 03, 2010 @ 23:10:44

    Great, thought provoking post. I’m almost 58, and still a work in progress. Keep up the ‘words of wisdom’, I look forward to them.



  3. Tony C
    Feb 04, 2010 @ 10:27:13

    Wonderful observation! The power of forgiveness is not only a healing force but also a commandment from God. Beautiful how He worked those together in a cause/effect relationship…

    I completely agree with praising our children, but I also fail miserably in the category at times when driving my oldest daughter to focus on character and grades. I need to find a healthy ratio that heavily favors praise over criticism.

    Great post.



    • mandaclair
      Feb 04, 2010 @ 12:11:12

      Thanks, Tony. I’ve realized what a powerful venom unforgiveness can be. I don’t want to be that type of person. Life is just too short.

      Parenting, as you very well know, is a step-by-step learning process. Criticism is a necessary part of parenting, but the manner in which the criticism is delievered is really the key. If you can counterbalance that criticism with healthy doses of praise, I think you’ll be right on the mark!

      We’re all just doing the best we can…. aren’t we?! 🙂



  4. Joline
    Feb 04, 2010 @ 10:46:39

    Thank you for that uplifting an enlightening talk. I feel the same about me. I know I felt “flawless” for some of my younger years. Now I know better. Ain’t growin’ up awesome! LOL



    • mandaclair
      Feb 04, 2010 @ 12:12:27

      You’re sweet, Joline. Growing up is awesome and very difficult at the same time. I wish someone would have just given me a detailed handbook on what would happen through each stage of life.

      Pretty sure the closest we have to this would be the Bible, huh? 😉



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