Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Problem of Self

By Cameron Clark

Everyone seems to have a struggle with their own self, whether it be their looks, their weight, their height, their brains, their brawn, or own actions. In my case, I struggle with them all.

I'm 5'9, 226 pounds, nothing to look at, not particularly smart, not in-shape, and I own a guilt that presses down on me with the weight of my illaudable past; some of which is much more recent than I care to admit. I think it's pretty safe to say that I truly hate myself, and with that admission comes more guilt, more worry, and more doubt. It's a cycle in which I do not desire to participate.

Sounds simple enough to break---right? Eat less, exercise more, forgive yourself, and pray hard. So far, I have been unsuccessful in attaining my goals, thus reaching my potential, thus deepening the darkness around me. I'm not writing any of this out of pity, but of shame; to shame myself into achieving all the goals easily within my grasp should I set my will to realizing them. Well, all but one.

When I was in high school I heard someone describe the process of guilt and age, "As a man gets older, the inner man gets printed on the face of the outer man." I think it's true, and I am living proof of that. The bags under my eyes are thick and heavy. My face and body swollen with fat, and my hairline has retreated. It's not really genetics, but the weight that I carry in my heart feels as if it is squeezing the soul from my body. This is no way to live, no condition to be responsible spiritually and mentally for my family, and no way to fulfill my God-given potential. It all must change.

No, it's not "turning over a new leaf" but simply facing the truth. Declaring the truth. Confronting the truth. All so that I may meet my challenge, release my guilt, and serve others to my full capacity.

I watch my daughters as they sleep, and though they've only been here a short time, they stir my soul; they drive me to chase after the fulfillment of my best self. I love them so much.

I see my beautiful wife as she lays beside me, and I am awe-struck. We've been together for almost five years now. Through immense pain and hardship; through the times where one or both of us were ready to walk away; through the happiness and joys we have shared....I stand here today humbled, thankful, and motivated because of her.

With the progression of the pictures below over the past decade, I can say that I am embarrassed. I can change that, and more importantly, I can make my family proud of their father, their husband, their brother, and their son. I can't give them the perfection they deserve, only a man who did his best for them: A flawed, humbled, but well-intentioned man who loved them more than words could ever express, who became the best version of himself because of them.

I plan on journaling my progress here every Monday as part of the Monday Morning Music Choices. They'll be a weigh-in, a body mass index update, and a short blurb about my spiritual progress. Considering the new baby, the upcoming move, and shortage of sleep it may not seem like the ideal time to start....but I must. There's no better time.

I am asking anyone who reads this to be my accountability partner. Not that you have the least bit of responsibility for me, just a helpful reminder of what is required of me. I think I'll start with a prayer, and then get to sleep as I begin to turn the tide and reverse the toll my failure and my sin has had upon me.


Nathan McIntyre said...

I dig it. Call me if you need anything.


Donald TAFT Ayers said...

When I was a younger man, I was told these words:


It wasn't in my Bible, I searched, so I wrote it in the front cover.

I love you bro.


Nicole McIntyre said...

Sometimes the seemingly impossible things need to be started at the seemingly impossible times. That doesn't mean I think your quest is impossible, far from it. You will succeed and if there's anything I can do to make this journey easier, let me know. Let me know if while you are trying to unpack if Ainsley needs to come spend a few hours playing with Braedon.

Bob, Sarah, and Miriam Logsdon said...

I hear you, brother. There is a movie with Jack Nicholson and Holly Hunter in which he pursues her love. Toward the end of the movie, he says, "You make me want to be a better man." I feel you, bro. I love you, Cam. God is with you.

Tiffany said...

You're in my prayers, Cameron. Your challenge is a challenge to all of us to evaluate where we are, who we are, and what we need to do about changing things. Thanks.

athweatto said...

I think everyone feels like this at one time or another. I know Lee goes through the same stuff. We both just try to exercise everyday. The ONLY way I get it done is by setting my alarm and getting up at 5 am and just getting it done. I love going early! Maybe you could start doing something early in the morning until you have to be with the kids by yourself??? Does Liz leave early? Just an idea! Looking forward to seeing your always helps to have accountability! Good luck..rooting for ya! Allison

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