Why is it that you can be walking along, minding your own business, waiting for your vanilla latte in line at Starbucks, pleasantly unaware of your own shortcomings and insecurities…until you look slightly up and to the left and there is Katie Holmes standing next to you and all of a sudden, you feel like a loser. The “you” in the story is, of course, me. Several years ago (before Tom Cruise but after “Dawson’s Creek”) I was shoulder to shoulder with Katie Holmes in the starbucks of the Charlotte airport. Actually, it was more like my shoulder to her elbow. I remember wishing I hadn’t worn flip flops…they only give me about 1/2 inch on my 5 foot 3 inch height.

Standing next to her, I felt short and very unfamous. I spent the next 35 minutes before my plane boarded half-stalking her to her gate (it was only half-stalking because her gate was right next to mine…otherwise it would have been full-fledged-crazy-darting-behind-trashcans stalking). And I wasn’t even that big of a fan. So what is that? There is a weird and irrational standard that we hold ourselves to but often times don’t know it until BAM…there it is, right in front of you (or next to you in line at Starbucks) and you feel…”less than”.

It isn’t always in such memorable circumstances like seeing a Hollywood movie star at the airport. It can hit (and usually does) at odd times and in odd places where it isn’t so obvious right away. There are times when I start out in a great mood and by the middle of the day, I am moody and irritable and can’t figure out why…until I trace it back to a conversation with him, an interraction with her, a memory brought to the surface by a commerical or a song.

I can’t put my finger on exactly what “it” is, but I’m certain it has to do with finding my identity in externals and in things and places other than my Creator. But I think I’ll save that part for another post.