Someone recently told me that I am no different from all of the other crappy people that they know. I am just as awful as the other people in this world who have caused them pain. I am not worthy of their friendship, and my attempt to “save them” was not going to work.
I was humbled.
I know, you’re probably wondering, WHO doesn’t want to be Katherine’s friend?! These people exist, I promise. I’m not writing this to get sympathy, spread gossip, or for people to tell me I am loved. I know I am loved. I am writing this because I have not been this humbled in a while. I think that I’m a relatively nice person. I try to get along with people and I try not to put myself in situations where I will cause pain. I want people to feel loved and comfortable. I hate when they don’t.
When I was told this, I wanted to react. I wanted to defend myself. Maybe give them a few examples of how awesome I am or how hard I tried to be a good friend. It is one of those situations where you want to make sure you prove them wrong. You want to sculpt your response so perfectly that you win, they lose, and all is right in the world. You won’t have to walk away from this conversation wishing you had said all those other awesome comebacks. It’s going to be good. They will rue the day that they crossed you!
Instead, I was silent. I think I agree with this person.
Who am I to think that I am any different? That I am any less crappy than the crappiest of people? Why carry myself in such a way that says I am better than others? I reflected on my relationship with this person and realized exactly what I had done wrong. Which was everything.
My idolization of people is extreme. I fight so hard for acceptance. I want to be liked, loved, and needed, and I will do whatever necessary to get those emotions from people, even if it means compromising who I am. I want to be different from the others. When people see me, I want them to know that I won’t be like all the other losers they know. I am different. I craft a cool, shiny pedestal and I climb to the top of it and dance around. I want people to look at me and see what they’ve been missing out on their entire lives.
I think Meredith Grey says it best; “pick me, choose me, love me.”
I am setting myself up for failure every time I approach people with this attitude. When I fall off of my pedestal, when I disappoint and fail these people that I idolize, my world is completely destroyed. I become frantic, trying to figure out a way to fix the mess I created, and I typically just make it worse. I am overwhelmed by guilt and shame, partly because I hurt people that I love, but mainly because I can no longer say that I am different. I become just like everyone else that causes pain.
I am crappy. I cause so much pain to people, sometimes on purpose. I gossip, manipulate, cling, and destroy. I try to control. I play the victim. I am selfish. I could write a book about all of the crappy things I’ve done to people, and that is not an exaggeration. I use people. I hurt people. I know what buttons to push, and I push them mercilessly. When I am in pain, I want others to feel pain as well.
So no, I am not different. I have no argument to give the person that brought this to my attention. I am ashamed for thinking I was. I have proven to be quite heartless toward this friend, all while claiming the opposite. I destroyed this person’s trust; I disappointed them. I am so far from worthy of their friendship. And there’s nothing I can do to change that. I don’t even think an apology would be a worthy attempt to repair the damage.
I claim to understand the only thing that can save my wretched heart. But am I living that way? Obviously not! I have not been living like I am redeemed. My legalistic lifestyle is not the same as a surrendered one. Through all of this destruction I am reminded that I have an incredible need for a Savior, not that other people have a need for me. I have nothing ultimate to offer anyone except disappointment. I earned death because of my sin, but by the grace of God I have been given life through Jesus (Romans 6:23). I am no different. HE is. I can’t change anyone or anything, but HE can change ME. And that’s what I need right now. He promised me that nothing would separate us (Romans 8:38-39) and He is going to strip away the things that I try to put between us. I’ve probably said that a million times but I can’t be reminded of it enough. Maybe I should try to live for my Creator and see how that works out for me.
Thankful for this hard, awkward, loud reminder of the Gospel.