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I’m stubborn, angry, a coward, and a failure and that is the way I like it. Some people think being stubborn is a bad thing. I say, not always. Stubbornness—and maybe a little (or a lot of) help from God—is what has kept me alive. I believe God made me stubborn on purpose, knowing that it would keep me alive.

I was stubborn—and impatient—before I even left the womb. I was born six weeks early because September is far superior to October in terms of color and temperature and I didn’t want to miss it. Unfortunately because I decided to push my birthday up I didn’t have enough time to finish developing. I was born with a small hole in one of my lungs but I wasn’t about to let that stop me.

Okay, so maybe my condition was a little more serious than I intended. I would have been med-flighted to a different hospital specializing in premature babies if the weather hadn’t been so bad. Instead they had to rush me there by ambulance. Like I said, that wasn’t exactly in the plan but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

I was in intensive care for a week and after that I got sick of being hooked up to all those pesky tubes and wires. I freaked out my already stressed parents and most of the nursing staff when I started pulling out my breathing tubes. If I could have talked I would have said, “Hey, I want to breathe on my own thank you very much!” After about the third or the fourth time I pulled my breathing tube out they decided to leave it out and see how I did. I was fine. I got to go home soon after.

I’ll admit I didn’t always use my stubbornness for good. It was something that I needed to learn how to control. It took time. It takes time, I should say. I’m still working on it. In junior high (which seems to be a scary long time ago), in addition to fighting with my little brother, I took up protecting my parents. I was bound and determined to be the perfect child and not make their lives any harder than they had to be. No one had asked me to do it but me. I just wanted everyone to be happy.

This attitude grew into a full-fledged need for acceptance. When I was fifteen I got a job as a cashier at a hardware store. I loved my job. I loved learning new things. I loved my coworkers. And for the most part, I loved my customers. I got to know a handful of regulars and that was fun. What I didn’t like were the customers—usually middle aged men—who decided I made good jailbait. Somehow, without trying to, I managed to attract about six creepers in a two year span. This wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t been so afraid of hurting peoples’ feelings because I would have just told them to buzz off. After a while though, I had had enough. I decided I needed a backbone more than I needed peoples’ acceptance. I was angry. It took me a long time to get angry enough to do something about the creepers in my life but once I put my foot down creepy people in general started leaving me alone. Well, at least outside of high school.

At the same time I was hiding from and learning how to deflect creepers I was also trying my hardest to survive my classmates. Because I “grew up” at a young age I was on a completely different wavelength than most of my classmates. I didn’t party, smoke, drink, or sneak around TP-ing peoples’ houses. I believe they called me a kill joy. I was the goody-two-shoes of my class. I refused to let them get to me though. I wasn’t going to change for them. It wasn’t worth it.

Unfortunately fighting an uphill battle all by yourself tends to wear on you. My faith in God was still superficial and while it kept me afloat it wouldn’t have been as bad if it had been stronger back then. But that is probably why I had to go through all of that. God was drawing me close to Him by distancing me from the world. In any case I became very depressed my sophomore year and I would have killed myself had I not been so stubborn or cowardly. I thought about different ways to kill myself but every time I looked over that proverbial cliff I got scared of the drop. I successfully failed at killing myself. I guess failure isn’t always a bad thing.

Today I can boast in my weaknesses because God is my strength. Tomorrow may be a different story but I have my head on straight today and that is all I can ask for. So I really don’t mind being stubborn, angry, cowardly, or a failure as long as God is working in my life to make it better. In high school I heard a quote that went something like this:

Here is to lying, stealing, and cheating.

If you must lie, lie to save a friend.

If you must steal, steal the heart of the one you love.

And if you must cheat, cheat death.

I think that quote not only has merit but it dispels the myth that these are only always bad traits. It is kind of like the word consequences. No one ever talks about good consequences so it has a negative connotation even though it covers both sides.

I’m glad that God can use anyone and anything for His glory. That means He can use me and my imperfections. I can still be used for good even though the world only sees the bad. I am determined to shift my way of thinking to find both sides of traits and the people who display them that may seem only negative. That is a promise God will help me keep.