This was my senior year of High school. At the beginning of the year I was determined to do as many things as I could. I was gonna hang out with friends, go to as many Youth Group activities as I could, be on the Youth Group worship team (and maybe join the worship team on Sundays). I was gonna be someone the middle schoolers could look up to, and I was gonna be there when my friends needed me. I had a plan, and I was gonna do it all. Guess what? Plans changed.
It hasn’t been a lot (although it feels like it), but I’ve had to miss a some things because I either haven’t felt well, or because of my anxiety. And, to be honest, there are times when I’m really upset about it. I’m not really upset that I’ve had to miss things, but I’m upset because I let myself miss things. I let myself get so anxious that I had panic attacks. Let myself hide from the hard things. Let myself tell people I couldn’t help them. It “feels like” (we’ll come back to that “feels like” in a minute) I’ve been a bad friend because I couldn’t be there for people. And a bad youth grouper because I wasn’t there being an example for the other kids.
Everything I wrote above is a “feels like”. It “feels like” I was a bad friend. Doesn’t mean I was. “Feels like” I’ve been a bad youth grouper. Doesn’t mean I was. Most often these “feels like”s have a truth to them that show you how wrong you really are. It’s pretty nice.
Now, back to the main point. I could spend all year long disappointed in myself because of all the things I couldn’t do. But, even with everything that I’ve been battling this year, I did some pretty cool things. Observe:
- I stayed on my church’s puppet team
- Went to as many youth groups as I could
- Made some new friends
- Stayed on the youth group worship team
- Made my preexisting friendships stronger
- Did every single offertory I signed up for; despite anxiety, and despite fear
- I got to know some really cool little kids at my church
- I’ve made it through some really busy mornings at church
To be honest with you, I could keep making that list longer, and longer. For every one thing I may have done to disappoint myself, I kept thinking about one thing I did to encourage myself. Basically, I had this conversation with myself: “Remember that one time you skipped out? Sure. But do you also remember that one time you kept pushing even though it hurt, and then you won?”
We aren’t going to be perfect. We can’t do everything. It was kinda stupid of me to try to do all the things. Because, anxiety or not, I’m not perfect. The cool thing is, that even though I had anxiety and was pretty much terrified every time I went to church, I still went. I still did a lot of things. Sure, it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. None of this year has really been what I wanted. But, it’s what I got. And, I’m making the choice to learn from it, and use it. That’s what I’ve had to do my whole life, and that’s what I’m gonna keep doing.
So, to sum up (you better get used to my rabbit trails; they’re not gonna stop): Everybody has something they’re fighting, or working towards. If you’re giving your all, don’t hate on yourself because you think you’re not “doing enough”. Be thankful for what you have been able to do, and remember that you did your best. That’s all any of us can do.