Nell Goddard

musings of a clergy child

09 Apr
2014

On Being Human

There's something I have to tell you, something I think you need to know.

I don't really know how to say it, but it's important that you hear it. It's going to hurt, and it's going to turn your world upside down. But I promise you, it will make things better. People have been telling you the opposite for years upon years upon years, but it's time someone told you the truth. And so, here it is:

You are not super-human.

Actually, no. Stop. I won't let myself talk down to you as if I know something you do not. As if I've got it sorted and everyone else hasn't. I am no better than anyone else, and I will not let my words convince you otherwise. This is not a lecture, this is me coming clean. Let's start again...

 

I have a confession to make. It's quite a big deal for me to say it, because I've been trying to deny it for as long as I can remember. It's something I never wanted anyone to know, because I thought that if I believed it, everyone else would as well. Except I can't keep up the façade any more. It's just too much. So here it goes, my confession:

I am not super-human.

There, I said it. It's almost a relief to get it out in the open. It's been weighing me down for so long, the realisation that I'm not all I feel I should be. What a burden it has been.

 

I've struggled, you see, in trying to be the best at everything. I'm a perfectionist. A chronic high-achiever. The world was my oyster, they said. The sky's the limit, or so I was told. I could do anything I wanted, if I put my mind to it. I saw opportunities wherever I went. Opportunities to prove myself, to make myself better in the eyes of those around me. To get one step closer to becoming the person I'd always dreamed I'd be. To earn love, affection, praise and acceptance.

I wanted to be the best, you see. And to be not just the best, but to be recognised as such. For the world to see and hear and know just how good I was. Just how I managed to do brilliantly in everything, have it all, and still be in control. 'I don't know how she does it', I wanted them to whisper as I passed. I wanted acceptance, I wanted accolades, I wanted the world at my feet.

But as I clawed my way through life, I began to realise something. I learnt, step by step, that if I tread on people to get to the top, I will find myself frustrated and alone with no-one to share my apparent success. That if I place my value in how well I do compared to those around me, I will never be truly satisfied. I realised that I was shutting down my humanity in order to succeed. Emotions became dangerous weaknesses. Control became my god, and perfectionism my lord and master. Trust was the first step towards failure. The thing was, you see, that no matter how well I did, it was never enough. Never was I good enough for my own high standards. Never was I satisfied. There was always something missing. There was always a hole left unfilled. Empty. Desolate. A quiet longing, a yearning, for something more.

It's because I'm human, you see. I was created for something more than this world. I was created for more than degrees, and promotions, and human relationships. I was made in the image of the Most High God, and created for relationship with Him. It is there, in my Father's arms, that I will find ultimate fulfilment. It is there that my brokenness becomes fullness of life. It is there that my wastelands will become like the garden of Eden. It is there that the pain I feel in the darkest nights of my life will turn to joy as the sun rises.

Trying to be super human doesn't work. I do not, and I cannot, keep the world going through my very existence. It can, and it will, destroy me. I am not invincible. I am not immune to pain. Emotions are not signs of weakness. Control is not something to hold onto, but something to relinquish. Trust is not the first step towards failure. Trust is the first step towards freedom.

And so, not just a confession, but a declaration:

I am not super-human. And that is okay.

Why is it okay? Because I am hidden with Christ in God. I am a new creation. I am joint heir with the Son of God himself. I do not have to earn, or prove, or achieve anything, for it is only by Grace that I may enter. By the Grace of God, I am who I am, and I am fully satisfied within that. I am allowed not only to be in the presence of God, the very creator of the Universe, but I may talk to Him. I can boldly approach His throne, walk up to Him, sit next to Him, and talk to Him. Ask for things. Tell Him everything I'm thinking, everything I'm feeling.

 

That confusion? I can talk it out with Him. That pain? I can weep with Him. That anger? I can rant at Him. That anxiety? I can cast my burdens onto Him. That fear? I can see it be eclipsed by His perfect love for me. That weakness? I can see His power being made perfect through it.

I am not super-human. But I am best friends with the King of the Universe. It doesn't get much more super than that.

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Nell Goddard
ME

Hi, I’m Nell. Alianore, if we’re being overly formal (that’s pronounced ‘Eleanor’, by the way). I’m a blogger, author, speaker, and occasional over-thinker. An introvert who likes to talk. A theologian, on a good day. A Christian, a storyteller, and a friend.