In reference to my last post on change, I have had the opportunity to shift my identity from worldview to God view this week. Thanks God for choosing to work in my life. Let me tell you a little story.
Once there was a girl named Shauna. She really liked to do things she was good at, and on a normal basis refused to do things if she was not good at them. This frame of mind that she had shaped her into someone who really wanted to do everything she did PERFECT. She worked hard to be the best, and always wanted to be the most efficient student, pitcher, player, speaker, leader, teacher, wife, caretaker, driver, gardener, comedian, cleaner, asker… and so on. So, she tried. Most of the time, she did these things, and well. But there were times when she didn’t.
This is where the story would get interesting, but I’m going to stop narrating and tell you about myself. I was and/or am all the things listed above and more. And when I end up being “just okay” at things, I don’t like it. I take it personally when people choose someone else over me, in any realm of life. I can easily get jealous of the attention other people receive, because I feel like I (basically) am the bomb-diggety. I would never tell you that, but that’s the way it plays out, to be honest about things.
At school last week, another teacher who has been teaching for about the same length of time I have (2 years) and is about the same age as me won this award for beginning teachers. By the sound of it, lots of beginning teachers at our school have won this award. You must be nominated by your principal. And all they could talk about at lunch was this neat award that he had won.
I should have been happy. But all I could think about was what I must have done wrong not to receive this award. I could feel the self-worth meter in my heart plummeting to dangerously unworthy. I’ll tell you why: I do the absolute best that I can at my job. When I am at work, I am working. I don’t do a lot of visiting with other people, I just do my work. If there’s a second to fill, I fill it with something work-related. When I’m maxing out my personal awesomeness card and still don’t qualify for the reward, this doesn’t make me a very happy camper. I probably shouldn’t have stuck around to listen to all of the talk at the lunch table that day. After that, I felt like jumping off a bridge.
Luckily, I’m on the other side of this now. So clarity of mind has helped me see a bigger, more uplifting (in a strange way) picture. Luckily, I didn’t jump off a bridge. Luckily, God has come with a message for me. Lo and behold, the angel Logan spoke these words:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of God.” (not actually Logan, but Jesus in Matthew 5:3)
Logan though, interpreted this poor in spirit phrase quite well. Poor in spirit doesn’t mean you’re just poor. Or that you are feeling lowly and beat down by Satan. Oh no, it means so much more.
Now there’s this feeling of liberation from failing at my worldly life. Poor in spirit means I am empty. I’ve accepted this low position I’ve been placed in. Void. Left out (I have so many stories of this feeling). My own being is no longer important. Self gain is, well… there’s nothing of the sort. I am not in this life for gaining recognition from others. I will still do my job to the best of my ability. But I’ll practice humility instead of doing it for the gain of myself.
So back to this award. What does it gain me? The only thing I can see is that it’s another thing to hang on the wall of accolades. Why do I desire that? The eternal value of a framed certificate is so… empty. I would rather feel the emptiness of today and be exalted in the Kingdom of God than it be the other way around (See Matthew 23:12). I am not the bomb-diggety, to be honest about things. I am not important, and it’s time I put myself in that frame of mind, because it’s truth.
On the contrary, I have come to terms with the fact that something makes that teacher who received the award better than me. That’s a tough realization to face, but it is the cold, hard truth. And it’s okay. There has always been and will continue to be someone to beat me. I can finally say “congratulations” to those people and not sock myself in the gut. I need not feel the twinge of envy when I say it. I’ve accepted a new position in the school as Mrs. Henry, poor in spirit.