I never get to be alone, and not in the way you’re probably thinking. See where most people refer to an inner monologue, I am always forced to call it my inner dialogue as there are two distinct characters involved. See there are two men contained within this singular mortal coil, two identities with very different goals in mind. A constant power struggle exists for control over my thoughts and deeds. It’s exhausting, some days it feels like it is killing me.
The first man is proud and noble, a paragon of whom I want to be. He is capable and optimistic; always seeing the best of the world. He seeks out adventure bravely, looks upon defeat with disgust, and is always ready to face the next challenge of life. His fears are muted by trust in his own abilities. Change is his ally against stagnation, newness brings him life. He doesn't fear failure but looks upon it as a chance to learn and become stronger. He embodies who a perfect student of Ms. Frizzle would have been, ever ready to “Take Chances, Make Mistakes, and Get Messy!!” This man urges me forward in life. He takes me by the hand and pulls me onward towards a higher purpose. His words of affirmation give breath to my weary soul. He sees what is best in me and tries to remind me of it as often as I will listen. Yes he is hasty and reckless, some of his endeavors do lead to upset and pain. He often leaps without looking, which isn’t always the smartest option.
The second man seems to be in control a little too often. He is the antithesis of the first. His doubts and worries pervade my mind, bogging it down within the inescapable mud of defeat. He whispers caution into my ears in ways that make me second guess everything from my actions to my motives. This man takes my every failure and relates it to the current situation in ways that leave me devastated. He wears the skin of an advisor leading me into safety but underneath the mask he is a leech which drains everything I have. His darkness knows no bounds and finds a way into every corner of my being, taking his destruction with him. He knows me well allowing each insult to strike with surgical accuracy at my weak points.
I remember laughing at the childishness of cartoons with their shoulder angels and demons, toying with a character to do this or that. I could never have dreamed how terrifying such an event could be in reality. These two men pulling their respective ropes lashed around me is painful to say the least. Their constant barking of counter arguments can leave my mind pulsing. I want one to be right, I want one to win, and sometimes I get so tired of the fight that I don’t really care who prevails.
I wish this as confined to life altering decisions but I find myself between these two forces on a regular basis. If it isn't concerning some immediate struggle, my mind will play the lovely trick of vividly remembering decisions from the past and replaying them through the eyes of both men. I find myself in the strength of confidence and the hopelessness of failure all in the same instance. The battle raging all around me I search frantically for an answer; some way to escape this turmoil.
I know many would want to tell me to trust Jesus, and I do. However there isn’t always an answer from Him. Again, I can already hear the responses of “maybe you aren’t listening hard enough”, which may be true at times. Trust me when I say that I have spent years listening, asking, crying out for an answer on some things with no answer. I will continue to pray and listen for God’s wisdom but at the same time I know full well that there are times when God allows us to figure stuff out on our own. I don’t want to start a theological debate on any of this; I can save that for another time.
What I truly wish is that these two could join hands and lead as one. That they could somehow become one man, me. I want confidence, ability, pride, and success. I want that all so badly it hurts. I want to be a leader that people can look to as courageous, taking risks and finding rewards within them. I want this all to be tempered by a healthy dose of the second man. I need humility, I need to know how to suffer rejection without being ignorant, and I want to be healthily cautious. It would appear that there is a third man involved after all, the man I am desperately trying to become. I fight daily to merge these two paragons of their respective features. I want to use the best of both men to become a great man. I know that I need to be confident in who I am but I also must be humble in my abilities. I need belief (in myself and God) that has been refined by doubt, made stronger for having been tested.