Disappointment is a concept that I – an Honor’s student, athlete, friend, daughter, child of God – do not readily accept. The notion that I simply cannot be successful in all things is a difficult pill to swallow.
I feel pressure to excel academically, athletically, socially, even spiritually. When my efforts fall below this standard of excellence, I define myself as a failure. I strive for high academic achievement, to break records in sprinting and jumping, to be the best friend possible, to honor God in every little thing I do.
But, where does this pressure come from?
Will my professors mock me if my work falls below an A standard? No…
Will my coaches yell at me if I don’t jump farther or ran faster in every single track meet? No…
Will my friends leave me in the dust forever if I make one too many sarcastic remarks? No…
Will God smite me with his mighty hand each time I sin? No…
I am the one setting these all too lofty expectations on myself. No one expects constant perfection from myself, except myself. My pride blocks my ability to be content and joyful in the Lord because I focus on creating an unblemished image for myself. My pride causes me to shy away from unsure situations – situations in which I cannot imagine the ultimate outcome. I ignore God’s steadfast love as I seek affirmation from those around me.
Recently, I applied to be a part of the Chicago Semester’s new summer program. In doing the summer experience rather than the traditional semester-long program, I wouldn’t have to miss a track season or cramp my class schedule with so many advanced classes. I was excited about the prospect of living in Chicago during a season of the year with a myriad of fun opportunities as well as working in an electrifying downtown business.
But, I was rejected.
My potential workplaces felt that I was underqualified with too little experience and too few advanced courses.
I was devastated. I felt incompetent and anxious because I had only a couple short months to find a summer job that did not involve babysitting or fast food.
My anger at Chicago Semester and disappointment in myself turned in to frustration with God. I knew God had a perfect plan for my future but I yearned for clarity. I yearned for my path to be fully illuminated.
As greatly as I desired complete transparency, I had to accept (and I am still working to accept) that this is not how God works. God requires me to trust him day by day and step by step. He won’t illuminate my entire journey, but he certainly will remind me daily of his glorious presence.
Although an exciting door is closed, I am comforted knowing God’s grace is sufficient for his power is made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). I am not perfect, but God – and my coaches, family, and friends – love and accept my anyway.
I found a verse that has been serving as my motto as I endeavor to dwell in the Lord’s presence each moment.
“Look to the LORD and his strength,
Seek his face always.”