I have never had a period of life where I didn’t think I was smart enough to do something, to do anything. Now that I’m at college, I’m beginning to wonder if I’m really as smart as everyone says I am. I think it’s just because as humans we’re constantly trying to impress other people and constantly trying to sound as intelligent and knowledgeable and pithy as we possibly can and constantly comparing ourselves to those we think are better than us. Like most of humanity, I have a huge problem with this. It’s just so easy to compare yourself to other people because you’re constantly standing side-by-side with people who seem ‘better’ than you. But this is where God comes in.
First of all, comparing yourself to someone else is like comparing apples to oranges. I know that’s cliche, but it’s true. Except the human race isn’t composed of just apples and oranges; everyone is a completely different kind of fruit and therefore cannot be compared accurately to one another. 2 Corinthians 10:12 says “Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” (ESV) I just want to say how cool it is that God thought to put this in His word. He knew humans would compare themselves to other people even after He had sent His son to die on the cross for them. That’s what media is mostly about these days, comparing yourself to an unreachable standard, pushing past understanding (as in, understanding how God sees you, how God sees humanity) and going for surface, status, and stuff. So even though it’s difficult for me not to compare myself to others, God proves that He loves me whether I’m a super genius or not. He can use me even if I can’t walk in a straight line, eat without spilling things all over myself, or say the right things at the right times. Comparing yourself to others puts the focus back on you, on your faults, on your weaknesses. We can’t find answers or peace inside ourselves, but only when we look outside ourselves towards God.
Which leads into what we talked about in World Literature!
We discussed daoism. Basically (VERY basically) daoism is a Chinese religion based on going inside yourself to find answers, being at one with your environment, and seeing the good in everything. It’s amazing how close the blueprints of some religions are to Truth, to the Bible. I know I sound close-minded by referring to the Bible as the Truth, but I’ll just have to sound that way. It’s true that we should see the good in everything; without going with the flow and being flexible life would be miserable! But we can’t find answers in ourselves because man is innately sinful (Genesis 3). If we could find answers and purpose and peace within ourselves, why would we need God? We would be perfect, self-sufficient, god-like. But we’re not; we’re human; we’re faulty; we’re broken; we are some messed up creatures, but God created us perfectly and we need our Creator. I find it interesting that some people see Christianity as ‘having to serve someone else’ or ‘having to give up having fun’ or even ‘having to forsake dreams and life goals.’ I don’t know about you but I am so glad I gave up ‘fun,’ whatever fun can be found without being with God. I am so glad I’m serving Him, mostly because He’s totally worth serving. I would much rather serve God and devote myself to God and love God than do all these things for myself. I’m a selfish person, so I would constantly be letting myself down. God is not selfish; He’s sovereign and perfect and can be disappointed but can never be let down, because He is complete in Himself. Isn’t that awesome? 😀
After World Literature our professor (who was wearing a Star Trek shirt today=epic win) handed us back our term paper. Yes, THE term paper: the term paper I spent weeks researching for; the term paper into which I poured my heart and soul; the term paper I had so much fun writing.
I got a B+.
Some people would say, “Wow! That’s pretty good for your first college term paper! Congrats!” But I’m sorry, I’m going to be totally hard on myself and say that is ridiculous! A B+? I walked to the cafeteria, internally mourning over my grade, when God reminded me that life isn’t all about being the smartest or being the best, but rather trusting Him to give me the things I need to do the things He wants for me, about doing the best I can possibly do and not doing a half way job. Right. Term papers aren’t everything. Grades aren’t everything. Okay, I’m good.
I feel like without God stabilizing me every second of the day, I would be one crazy lady. I mean, I’m not saying I’m totally sane right now, but I am saying that, without God, I honestly don’t know where I’d be. I certainly wouldn’t be “resisting my environment” as much as I am, as much I need to be. I certainly wouldn’t be able to deal with a B+. And I definitely wouldn’t be able to handle managing the MTA system…yep, without God that first week in New York City trying to figure out the the subway system would’ve been the end of me.
In between World Literature and Critical Thinking & Writing, I worked on my final project for Botany in the library and then I went to the mail because I had a package! 😀 I also got letters! Today, regardless of the term paper, was just absolutely made when I got those things in the mail. I didn’t even have to open them to be reminded of the loving people God has blessed me with. I opened my letters first and was excited to read them. But when I opened the package, my heart melted. My second family, a family of twelve blessed children and two wonderful parents, had sent me a box full of arts and crafts, letters, and encouraging scriptures. I went to my classroom early, before everyone got there, and looked through almost the whole box. I saved the letters for my dorm room, but I looked at all the crafts and the scriptures. I tried not to cry because of how much I missed all of them, because of how encouraged I was from their words and their love. God is just so cool, ya know!? Man, He has blessed me with so many amazing people. I don’t care how bad of a day I have; not only do I have God, the Ultimate Encourager, but I also have a huge support system that wants nothing more than for me to follow God’s leading. Thank You, Jesus.
In Critical Thinking & Writing we’re discussing the self again. I feel like all of my classes constantly discuss the self, what the self is, what it means to have a self. Today I realized what society’s problem is: we’re all about the self. Sometimes it’s good to ask the big questions; sometimes you need to know who you are. But the problem is that society has taken this practice of ‘becoming better people’ and ‘finding purpose’ and perverted its definition. Finding purpose is no longer about following God’s leading in your life, but about making your own way and following your heart. Bad idea! Do not follow your heart! No, I’m not saying emotions are terrible, but I am saying that you shouldn’t depend on your emotions to give you purpose or point you in the right direction. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 KJV) Ouch! That’s a tough verse. When society says “follow your heart,” run in the other directions. Emotions are fickle, temperamental, and non-committal. Emotions make life all about the self, all about you. With the term paper: all I could think about was how I failed and how I wasn’t smart and how I looked because of my grade. I didn’t think about how God was going to use it. I didn’t think about anything except how I was feeling. If I had kept thinking about how I was feeling for the rest of the day, I probably would’ve gone to bed at about eight o’ clock with a half-gallon of Ben&Jerry’s in my lap and Pride and Prejudice playing on my laptop.
In the middle of class, amidst us discussing Pamela: A Novel by Pamela Lu, Marcy (I have changed this girl’s pseudonym because it was previously Maria, which also happens to be the name of a very lovely lady who is not a nineteen-year-old college girl who doesn’t particularly like me; my apologies) stepped into the classroom clad in her robe and pajamas, her face pale, clammy, and solemn. She looked awful. I’m not sure what condition she has (I believe it’s a chronic pain disorder) but she has shown up to class this way before. My professor sent her back to her dorm with one of the girls in class. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the whole situation. This is where God shows just how awesome He is (which He does a lot :)). Marcy is in the same dorm as I am, and I knew the Holy Spirit was tugging at my heart to go check up on her. But just like yesterday with the homeless man on the subway, I began to rationalize.
I’m sure she’s fine. Her roommate’s got her covered. That’s security’s job. She doesn’t want me to come checking up on her. Besides, what can I really do except make things insanely awkward?
Despite my thoughts, I really was worried about her and decided to walk to her room anyway; I’m so glad I did. She’s just so sick and I felt so helpless, but she thanked me for coming to check up on her and told me, when I asked her if I could get her anything, that one of our mutual classmates was going to get her some things from the pharmacy. For the most part I just stood in her doorway, probably looking like I was seeing some tragic play. I just feel helpless; I wanted to drive her back to her home, cook her some soup, pray over her, talk to her about God, make her better, and then be best friends in the end.
Wow, I’m such a doofus.
But still! I’m so glad I listened to the Holy Spirit and went and checked on her. I couldn’t really do anything, but that’s doesn’t matter. What matters is she knows I care, and hopefully through that she’ll realize that God cares too.
The rest of the night was rather slow, if slow means working on my Botany project that’s due tomorrow, which I finished! 😀 My to-do list is still incredibly long and ridiculously complicated, but it’s not so intimidating that God can’t get me through it 🙂
One thing I can especially look forward to is Wednesday; it the Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting! And guess who’s going? That’s right, this kid. I’m so excited! Hopefully Charlene and Karly will come, but if not I’ll just have to make my way up there by myself. The other thing that’s happening on Wednesday is Lin’s birthday. I drew a caricature of her and I want to run to Path Mark and get her cake. Those are more things on my to-do list. I hope her birthday is nice, even though she’s away from home.
Well, Monday is over, the week has really started. As you go through this week, just remember that when everything seems to be overwhelming you and hitting you all at once, God is never too busy to talk to you, never not strong enough to hold you up, and never incapable of destroying your worries. If you don’t think you deserve a relationship like that, well, you’re right. As humans, we don’t deserve a relationship with God. But God loves His creation so much that He gave us a chance to be made deserving so that we could access that relationship, grow in that relationship. The gift is free, the relationship is unconditional, the ride is awesome.
Will you take it?