If you entered my house you would quickly notice that I have areas of clutter, especially my bedroom where few people see. My house isn’t terribly dirty—I don’t keep dirty dishes and such lying around—but I don’t always put things away. I don’t have a place for everything so I tend to have piles lying around. I easily ignore them until I need something from that pile. Your impression of me from the visit might be one of a lazy, uncaring, disorganized, and unmotivated person.
However, if you focused you attention on my lifestyle you may get a different opinion. I work full-time, am a single parent, run 5-6 days a week, am involved at my church, am a published author, write several books a year, and I use my website to blog and market my stories. From that perspective, you might call me driven, disciplined, focused, well-organized, overachieving.
The fact is, both are true. I’m complicated—highly organized and disciplined in some areas and lazy and unmotivated in others.
The same holds true on a deeper level as well.
I view myself as a failure. Why? Because I have a half century of factual data to support that conclusion. I’ve failed professionally, personally, morally, spiritually, financially, relationally; with multiple examples in each category. Need I got on?
It isn’t that I haven’t had successes; I have. But the truth is I’ve had enough failures (and enough big failures) that those experiences are ingrained into my self-identity.
There is a large piece of me that I battle nearly every day, that wants to kick back, find an easy job, and spend my time being comfortable and safe. I want to disconnect from the world; from reality.
I would like to fiddle away as much of my life as possible watching movies, sports, whatever, just to limit situations that provide an opportunity to fail. I am so tired of making mistakes, feeling frustrated, disappointing myself and those I love, and not living up to the standards I have set for myself.
That easy, relaxing, less stressful life sounds so, so, so inviting.
But the other part of me is driven—maybe even from the result of the aforementioned failures—to find a way to justify my existence. I’m afraid that if my life ended now that I would have lost, failed to fulfill my purpose. I love to do something to prove my life was worth it.
I have an inner longing to find a way to feel like I’m contributing to the world. I strive, continually, to figure out what I need to do so I feel like I’ve tipped the scale and the positive contributions of my life outweigh the failures.
It’s complicated, because I often feel like two people at war—both with the same scars, fears, and anxiety—but with completely different needs.
The truth is, whether you see me as a person who’s disorganized and cluttered, or as disciplined and productive, the truth is I’m both. I’m a giant mess doing the best I know how.