“When I made up my mind, and my heart along with that
To live not for myself, but yet for God, somebody said,
‘Do you know what you are getting yourself into?’”
– Relient K
I majored in psychology because I want to help people. And I really enjoyed AP Psychology and found it fascinating. That is why I became a psych major. Two simple reasons.
Today I gave a presentation to a group from the lab that I work in detailing a study that I have been working on with a graduate student researcher for the past four months. I had to write a literature review explaining what research had already been done on the topic, describe the study in detail, and then explain the results of our statistical analysis and other things we gleaned from the study. The months leading up to this presentation were filled with data coding, presenting for the study, calling potential participants, reviewing tapes, and running statistical analyses.
Next year, I’m going to have to do something similar, except that the research will be from an idea that I developed and will culminate in a thesis, which may or may not be 50 pages long. Then I’m going to go to grad school and write a master’s thesis and a dissertation, and do a clinical internship.
When I said that I wanted to be a psych major, I did not know what I was getting myself into.
I became a Christian when I was four. Life was pretty simple then, and once more, I did not know what I was getting myself into. I knew that God loved me, and that only He could truly forgive my sins. I knew that I wanted Him to be a part of my life. But I suppose you can’t truly see all that He’s going to do until He does it.
It would be one thing if being a Christian were just judging everybody and acting like you’re better than everyone when you’re actually extremely hypocritical, which is how many Christians are portrayed on television.
But being a Christian is actually hard work. It’s challenging. But it’s effective. As you probably know if you frequently read my blog, one of my most favorite Bible verses comes from Philippians 3 and reads, “Not that I have already obtained all this or already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
I’m a work in progress.
The Relient K song that I quoted at the beginning of this post continues, “When I finally ironed out all of my priorities, and asked God to remove the doubt that makes me so unsure of these things I ask myself, I asked myself: do you know what you are getting yourself into?”
I still haven’t ironed out all of my priorities- there are definitely times when God should be at the forefront of a decision I’m making and He isn’t. But like I said, I’m learning and I’m growing. I can see the effects of His work in my life- I’m less sarcastic, I’m more forgiving, I’m not crippled with fear whenever I think of my future. And it seems like the more I accomplish, the more I realize is left to be done.
It’s daunting to think that I’ll never be perfect the entire time that I’m on this earth. It’s frightening to think of all of the things that are wrong with me. I always say that it’s a good thing that God doesn’t show us all of our flaws at once, because that would be incredibly overwhelming and depressing. But it’s encouraging to think that the Creator of the universe is invested enough in little me to not only make me better, but to use me for His perfect plan even while I’m still incredibly messed up.
Sometimes it helps to try to look at it from God’s perspective. Suppose you write a book and you fill it with amazing illustrations and the most beautiful story of all time. Then someone breaks in, changes a bunch of the words around, rather corrupting the story, and scribbles all over the pictures and hovers the book over the fire, threatening to drop it in and destroy it forever. You jump into the fire, saving the book from a terrible fate. You survive what the book would not have, but the book itself is still in a very sorry state.
At face value, it isn’t worth much. But over time, you fix bits of the story back to the way they were supposed to be. You smooth out the crumpled corners of the fragile pages. You perfectly erase the deep marks across the illustrations. It’s a trying process, for you and the book. (Let’s suppose it’s terribly painful to have words moved around. It’s like dragging a splinter from one part of your body to another to move a word.)
The book can still share the fixed part of its story, even as you work out the rest of its flaws. Its useful, and as you work, more and more of it becomes clear, as you intended, and useful. But it’s not easy.
At one point in their song, Relient K switches from the perspective of the Christian to the perspective of God, singing: “I love you, and that’s what you are getting yourself into.”
I’m a Christian because someone, namely Christ, loved me enough to save me and work to make me new, even when it hurts and even when I resist. I can see it happening, as I mentioned before. And I know it can’t be me. As much as I sometimes want to say that I powered through something or that I could probably handle everything on my own, I know that I can’t. God does things that are blatantly out of my control, and they’re things that make me better.
What have I gotten myself into with this refining fire? The unending love of a forgiving and loving Savior who is making everything new. And as it says in Revelation 21, “these words are trustworthy and true.”