Friday, September 29, 2006

Of A's and Failures and IT

I have a confession to make that I have always been hesitant to admit... I am an A student. My GPA is a 4.0. I was never able to completely commiserate with other students when a particularly difficult test was given, for I would usually still scrape by with my A, while the rest would be concerned about passing. If a fellow student moaned about getting a D, I would sympathetically say that I didn't do as well as I hoped, which would be true.
It's not that I'm necessarily smarter than most people; it's just that I have never been able to be satisfied with less than an A since I started college. It's almost a handi-cap, for stress increases when it is focused on safely finishing each course with an A, rather than simply passing. And then what do I say when a friend tells me he can't stand people who don't study and complain when they get a B? (I just smiled and kept my mouth shut.:)
So I came to expect that I would always finish with A's throughout my college career, my A average seemed indestructible.
Then IT happened. IT was a 67 on my first Cost Accounting exam. Not only was it not an A, but it was a D, the first ever of my experience! I had never gotten a C before, let alone a D! And to crown it all, 7 points out of my grade were given to me as a bonus. This was something that was never supposed to happen, not to me.
However, I found that IT taught me a lesson. My grade showed me that not only is my A average not indestructible, but I am not indestructible. I am fallible, I am human, and confidence in myself ultimately leads to disaster.
My 67 was necessary, for it was a lesson that I needed to hear, painful though it was. I am who I am through the grace of God, and in desperate need of His grace every day of my life. I am reminded of Philippians 3:3, where Paul says, "For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh."
Confidence in myself, my flesh, is never enough, for I will always fail if put to the test. I want my confidence to be in and from my Lord, for He alone is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-mighty.
And my Lord will never fail me.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Words of the Worship

What does it mean when we sing, “All to Jesus I Surrender.” Are we really surrendering our all to him? Or do we simply sing the words, not realizing what we are saying? Are we singing a lie, not prepared to submit all details of our lives to His authority?
How sad this is, that we can stand in church and be so blinded to what we are singing that we don’t realize the sheer impact of the promises we are making. “All to Thee I freely give;” this means giving up our desires, our wants, perhaps everything we ever wanted out of life. In return, we have Him. Maybe He does not require us to give up everything greatly desired, but the key is; we must be willing to do so for Him. Abraham was asked to sacrifice his only son, the child of his old age, the promise of future generations. Imagine the anguish in this decision. Yet, he was obedient to the Lord even then, and when he proved this he was given back his son.
“Jesus, all for Jesus;” Are we willing to give up all for Jesus? What about the minor details? Would we lose an hour of sleep for Jesus? What about curbing our spending in order to dedicate more resources to Him? What about the major details? Would we radically change our goals in order to fit His plan?
“You’re all I want;” Is this true in our lives? Do we gain satisfaction in doing His will, or are other things necessary for our happiness?

Dear Lord, be all I want. Let my desires surrender to Your will for me, my plans conform to Yours. Be my all in all; my everything. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

My Identity... as His Daughter

Who am I? What is my identity, how do I define myself? I know my name, but who does it stand for? This is the name I received at birth, I had little choice in the matter, yet from that time on my personality began to develop...
I am a daughter, a granddaughter, an older sister, a cousin, a niece. I am an accounting major, I am a florist, I am a bookkeeper, I am a pianist, I am a cook. There are many names I have been called; including "the good girl," "the weird one," "the dreamer," "Jeb," "Doppers," "Jempf," "Jenny-girl," "sweetie," "smiley," "Amish girl," (I'm not Amish) and "ditsy brunette," (don't ask) along with other names better not remembered.:)
I've been called an idealist, emotional, moody, crazy, smart, an idiot, self confident, insecure, a worrier, and enough other conflicting terms to cause serious personality issues! The question becomes; which of my names or personality features is required for me to be me? Would taking any one aspect away result in an identity crisis? What happens when I change from a daughter to a wife to a mother to a grandmother, does my family role define who I am?
In a way, it does; for I am my Father's daughter. I am adopted into the family of God, and blessed in being called His daughter as well as His handmaiden. The two relationships to my Lord fit so well together, for it is natural for a daughter to delight in serving her Father.
Strip me of my talents, faults, career, and academic strivings; with His help I won't have an identity crisis. For this is not how I define who I am...
I want who I am, to be completely wrapped up in Who He is.
For I'm His daughter, and I find my identity in Him.