No good. Worthless. Won’t amount to anything.

I’ve been going to several job interviews over the last month.  I’ve interviewed for positions at a florist, day care center, behavioral therapy clinic, newspaper, and much more.  I have interviewed from one end of town to the other, and sometimes even into the next town.  I’m not used to doing job interviews, having only held a few jobs since I started working at 17.

One question that I get asked in every single interview is, “why do you want to work for [company]?”  I can’t just spit out the most obvious answer to that question . . . “because I need a paycheck.”  That would be the kind of answer that would get me shown through the exit without even a goodbye handshake.

So, why do I want to work for [company]?

When I interviewed at the florist, it was because everyone is always happy to see the flower delivery person.  Who doesn’t love to get flowers?

At the daycare center and the behavioral therapy clinic I answered that question with a reference to the child clientele.  I love kids.  I love working with children, teaching them, watching them discover the world, trying to see the world the way they see it, and trying to never forget to do that.

At the newspaper I told them it was because the overnight shift worked best with my church commitments and my son’s school schedule and appointments with his doctors.

Today I had an interview with a law enforcement agency.  They asked me the same question, and for the first time I think I gave a truly honest answer.  It was something I am pretty sure that I had forgotten about myself until my interviewer asked me today, “why do you want to work for [law enforcement agency]?”  I want to work in a position and for an organization that will allow me to serve others, that will allow me to assist them in times of need, and offer comfort and encouragement.

We are all created in certain ways.  Some are created to be leaders, while others are created to work behind the scenes.  Some are created to be bookkeepers, and others are created to care for others.  I was created to serve, and I had forgotten than.

5 years ago, when I first started going to my church, serving was not something I would question doing.  If we were told that there was a need in the church for people to do something, I was there.  Over time I found a spot teaching in our children’s ministry.  I found a spot leading in our recovery ministries.  Serving became commonplace for me, like a job, something I had to do instead of being something I got to do.

Over time I found reasons to not serve as much as I used to.  I had to work.  I deserved to sleep in.  It was time for other people to step up and serve.  Yet what was happening in that time was I was slowly getting away from what I was created to do.  I was laying the groundwork for forgetting a large component of who I am.

Last night I had a meltdown at church.  I went to the ministry leader and told him that I would no longer be able to serve in that ministry.  Then I went further and said that I would also no longer be attending the ministry.  I did not first talk to anyone about this.  I did not voice concerns to friends, my ministry leader, or even pray about it.  I acted on my feelings.  I acted without thinking.  That declaration was the vocalization of thoughts that had been playing in my head for months.

Have you ever thought of your head as a playground?  Negative thoughts are something I have always struggled with.  Specifically I struggle with thoughts of inadequacy.  I always think I’m not good enough to fulfill a position or carry out a task.  I still struggle with thinking that I’m good enough to share my faith with people.  Do you know what it’s like to constantly doubt everything about yourself?

I am a people pleaser.  This stems from a desire to be liked and approved of.  That desire stems from a need to gain my self-worth from what others think of me.  If they think I’m good then I must be good, right?  I spent the better part of my formative years getting told by my father and former step-father that I was worthless, would amount to nothing, was not good enough, and everything I did was wrong.  Influential men in my life said these things to a an easily-influenced child.  I had no reason to not believe them, and thus they set the stage for my codependency and people-pleasing as an adult.

I spent a few years working on those issues, but during the last several months I have not “worked my steps.”  I have let my own recovery go because I thought I was fine.  Any addict can tell you that the fastest way to relapse is to quit working their steps.  I quit working my steps, and last night I was so convinced that I was not good enough to be part of the church ministry that I quit.

By quitting the ministry I did prove one thing right.  I proved my dad and former step-father right in that I am not any good.  As long as I am not serving as I was created to serve then I am not any  good to anyone, to God, or to myself.

I spoke with my pastor this afternoon.  He is really good at asking the questions that pin you in a corner and make you think, the kind of questions that force you to get out of your own head and consider the bigger picture.  He asked me if leaving the ministry would be beneficial to the things I am struggling with right now.  “Well, no.”  Of course he asked why I said that.  I didn’t want to answer his question.  I knew where he was going with it, and I didn’t want to think about logic or what was right.  I wanted to be coddled, to be told what I wanted to hear, and to be allowed to wallow in my own flawed feelings.  But my pastor is incapable of doing that because then he wouldn’t be serving as God created him to serve.  If he didn’t serve as he was created to serve then he would not be good for anyone as person or as a pastor.

Avoiding that ministry as a way to fix my issues is the same as saying that I have to fix things in my life before I can come to Jesus.  You come to Jesus to get fixed, not the other way around.  Not to mention, my issues are not a result of the ministry that I tried to quit.  My issues were with me.  I can walk away from the ministry, but no matter where I go, I take me with me, and that is what I told him.  He just sat in silence and let those words sink into my own head.

I started backsliding and getting into my own head when I started cutting down on how much I was serving.  Less time serving meant more time available to stray away from God.  I will admit that I need my hand constantly held when it comes to my faith.  So, today when I got asked in my interview (for the 5-millionth time in a month), “why do you want to work for [law enforcement agency]” I remembered what I had forgotten about myself.  I remembered what I’m good at and why I was created.  I was made to serve, and it’s time to get back to it.

Until next time . . .

bender

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