I was hanging out in one of the labs where I work, chatting about life and the like while packing up my things, when one of the grad students made a comment that has since been ricocheting around my head.
“You’re really on top of your [grad school stuff],” she said in passing.
I am on top of my stuff, I thought. Look at me. I’m totally doing a good job with my life right now. I have a pretty good idea of what I want to study, I’m all over the making the most of my undergraduate years business, and I’m feeling pretty happy on top of it all. Go me!
One of my most troubling faults is my difficulty with taking compliments constructively. A lot of the time, when someone says something nice to me, I think “I totally am!” instead of, “I am- how can I use this for the glory of God?”
It’s fine to think that “Yes, I’m doing a good job” at something. If I forever tell myself that I’m a failure at something when I’m not, that’s just as much of a problem. If I think I’m an absolutely useless failure, then I won’t acknowledge any of my talents to use them for good. And it’s just plain depressing.
The problem comes when I think I’m in control. I might be working really hard and doing all the right things when it comes to getting ready for graduate school, but if God doesn’t want me somewhere, I will not be there. You’d think I would have learned this before, since that’s exactly what happened with my college experience. I forget so easily.
If God didn’t want me to write, I wouldn’t write. If God didn’t want me to sing, I wouldn’t sing. If I’m good at something, it’s by God’s grace.
One of my favorite chapters of the Bible, Philippians 3, starts off like this: “Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.” This is something that I’m writing to myself again. I’m reminding myself.
The lesson of humility is one that I’ve addressed before, both personally and here on Parakaleo. But I still need to be reminded- I still need the Lord to call me off of my frail high horse and back to Him.
And every time that I remind myself of things that I need to work on, I also remind myself of my greatest motivator- God’s love.
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.” – 1 John 4:10-12.
That’s something to live for. That’s something- something more true and more reliable than the lies I often tell myself, both positive and negative- to remember every single day.