Is it just me, or do you find that sometimes when you’re lost in thought you start making a list of things you’re good at and what defines you? You list your achievements, your skill set.. you essentially make a resume for your life thus far. And then comes the comparison. You start comparing yourself to your friends and cousins, finding ways that you are better than them. But in doing so, you begin to realize the skills and achievements you wish you had from the friends you admire. You compare them to the “list” that you’ve compiled of yourself. Then comes the doubt. Then comes the self-loathing. Then comes the regret of not doing more things during a certain period of your life. Is this just me?
“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” — Steven Furtick
And what’s always the first things we compare? Job.. Degree.. GPA.. Paycheck..
I had a pretty funny conversation with my co-workers last week. We were initially talking about age and when we graduated college. They thought I was a year younger, until I explained that it took me 5 years to graduate. And so naturally they compared me to our other co-worker. He was actually in a few of my classes while I was in school. He was the guy that would be on his laptop the whole time during class working on his own side projects or homework for other classes. But he would still correctly answer the professors’ questions all the time. To put it simply, this guy is one of the finest programmers I’ve ever met. One year apart, he graduated early and as Summa Cum Laude. Our GPAs are one whole grade point apart. He worked and/or interned while still in school. Before I got too caught up in complimenting my fellow classmate, I was interrupted with
“Well, that’s okay. I mean, you guys ended up in the same place anyway.”
And that put a smile on my face for the rest of the day. Often times after I go deep into thought about that list of myself, I remember to take a step back and realize “wow, we tend to judge ourselves really hard..” During the toughest quarter of my college career, there were a couple reminders that got me through it all. The first was from Dai Lo. During an annex visit, he shared Matthew 6:25-34. It was so encouraging and calming I put up the passage on my wall to serve as a reminder.
The second was from Pastor Dave. It was during an EPIC general meeting. It was around midterms season, so everyone in attendance was already a little exhausted or anxious for their class right after. He said something that resounded across the room:
“You have nothing to prove.”
Can you imagine that? In a room that was 99% filled with Asians, we were just told that we have nothing to prove to our peers, our parents or our professors. That our significance is NOT defined by our grades or by our accomplishments. That maybe the reason we try so hard and get nowhere is because we’re doing it with the wrong purpose. Definitely perked some ears. And if you’re an Asian mom reading this you might immediately disagree. But take that into consideration. Wow. We have nothing to prove. God has already accepted us forever by His grace. Again, that encouraged me so much I taped it to the ceiling right above my desk because I normally looked up when homework was getting tough.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter the things we can or cannot do. This doesn’t mean we can go about doing nothing and squander whatever skills God gave us. Rather, we can use what we have to serve and help others. Not for our glory, but for God’s glory. For we are so much more than a GPA, or a list of skills. We were meant to live for so much more. We are His creation, His beloved. God can and will use us as we are to further His kingdom. And you don’t have to search very hard in the Bible to find examples of that. I’d like to conclude with a video short I found a while ago. It’s made by the same people that made the viral “Worthy” video. They’re no WongFu Productions, but it’s still well put together. I think it sums things up better than what I want to say. Sorry, I’m a little scatter brained right now.