In high school I ran cross-country and track and played soccer. My perfectionistic tendencies made me as good as I was. I worked hard and played harder. By the start of high school I had always dreamed of playing soccer but never had the opportunity. When tryouts started I was recovering from ankle surgery the week before and could barely move my foot. I had no ball skills and had to be told how to kick the ball the right way, which I couldn’t do anyways because I couldn’t turn my foot. The coach saw something in me and put my name on the list of people who made the team. I hustled that first year, and I mean put my heart and soul out on the field leaving nothing behind by the time I walked off. My position was a defensive center mid-fielder, and my main job was to keep the best player on the other team from getting the ball. None of it was enough, though. I wanted to be the best. I wanted to have all the ball skills, score the goals, defend the goal, win. I was all-state my senior year, but I missed the mark by not achieving it every year.
In college I graduated with a 3.88 cumulative GPA. Something I should be proud of, I know, but I can’t help but struggle with one class that I couldn’t get an A in. My sophomore year of college I had a professor who told a story about a mentor he had who looked at the students and determined what grade they would get without ever seeing their work. One day in the student center/sports complex he saw me reading something on the bulletin board and approached me. He said, “You and your brother (Keith) are very different. He is an intellectual.” I finished his course with a C. No matter how hard I worked in his class he was unimpressed with the assignments I completed. If I had been quick-witted then I could have said the same thing about him. His brother taught Philosophy while he was the volleyball coach. Regardless, it still bothers me to this day because I couldn’t make myself better than his opinion of me. I couldn’t get another A.
I used to work at a company that uses behavior analysis to help children develop skills and decrease maladaptive behaviors so that they can function in society with as much success as possible. The children I worked with have an autism spectrum diagnosis. I was really good at my job. I wrote assessments and behavior plans that were by the book. My boss asked me to apply for a promotion and position in one of the most difficult schools in the area, and I agreed. I should be proud of myself, but instead I see that the behavior plans did not always work, I couldn’t please the schools and parents all of the time, and I couldn’t handle my personal stress and job stress together. I did not measure up to my standards once again.
I will never be enough if I don’t learn to appreciate my accomplishments and the small, or large joys. Soccer has always been my passion, and for eight short years of my life I was able to play passionately. My college soccer coach used the Greek, ek pseuke (with heart), from Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” to encourage us to leave everything on the field. I did that every time I played. That was joy. I was enough.
I am enough. I do enough. I work hard enough. I just need to believe it.