It’s Them Or It’s Me: But It’s Probably Me

I’m quick to blame others because 99% of the time, I’m right that they’re wrong. I have these really ironclad, airtight, foolproof reasons why I have to be right. There’s no way other people could have thoughts of their own. I’ve seen every angle, I’m being fair and honest, I see what they can’t, I’m telling both sides of the story as it really is.

They’re holding me down, man. They’re making my job harder. I could do much better if it weren’t for these rules and restrictions. Once I get my own thing going, I’ll do all the things they never let me do. Then they’ll see, you know. They’ll regret not tapping into my unrealized fount of pure raw wisdom.

I think like this all the time. It’s true that they are, in fact, holding me down. It’s true that I’m set aside and stepped on; there are better things being built on my back while I do the grunt work. It’s true these people could care less for my well-being. And yes, I’m right and they’re wrong.

But — I get the sneaking suspicion that maybe I use THEM as an excuse to do the bare minimum. I have a way of doing the easiest part of the work, of slipping away from manual duties, of checking out my brain when I feel this is “beneath me.” It’s pride. It’s selfishness. It’s all the things I’m not willing to say about myself, because it’s a horrifying realization I don’t know how to confront yet.

Maybe they are right about a few things, and I am wrong about many things. And my well-being shouldn’t be based on what’s happening around me, but on the actual opportunities given. We have a way of seeing how we’re held down instead of the places we could build up. Because more than fearing failure, many times I fear success. I am a coward not because I do little, but because I’m afraid of the unimaginable possibilities of real potential for greatness.

In my midnight brain, I play through hundreds of wishful conversations.

I win all of them. I make them stutter, say sorry, sob, repent. In my own head, I am the winner of everything. They all understand me and bow to my will.

This is foolish, of course. But we’ve all been there, so you understand. It’s easier to blame others for their lack of cooperation with my happiness. It’s harder to actually be successful amidst upside-down conditions.

Most of us will always have a very slim avenue to do what we can — and very few of us take it, because it feels unfair. It’s not right that they get more access, more authority, more support. All these other people are flying ahead; the new guy is shooting past me; that church is flat out packed; no one knows my name. Saying they are wrong feels right.

But it doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t change the situation, the people, the rules, and most importantly, you or me. It only adds the burden of complaints and condemnation. It only creates dead weight. I wish I had known this sooner, because I wake up some mornings carrying all this unnecessary baggage. It’s not attached to me; I’m always clinging to it with a death-grip when I could easily stop clenching.

There could be a very fair you-centered universe where everything went exactly your way, except you’d be God and I don’t know if anyone would want that: including yourself. None of us really know what we want right now anyway, except a vague sense of things going “my way.”

Even when it went my way, it didn’t make me less prideful or less selfish or more productive and more thankful. It only cranked up my bitter battle of Me Vs. Them. It only fueled my sense of Right Vs. Wrong. It’s better to be humbled. Because when the opportunity actually comes, I’ll know how to handle it. I won’t be the glory-hogging jerk. I can get on God’s grace without giving undeserved credit to myself. We might even do what is actually right, with no excuses or blame or false defenses, to move towards those very real possibilities.

Until then, it’s not a clean journey. That jagged inner-voice will still condemn. I only pray for enough grace each day. Just enough to keep me sane, humble, and willing. To be able to admit, You’re right, I’m wrong, so please help me. To make the most of those little opportunities, those tiny little avenues, and not to miss them.

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