All week I have been thinking about a conversation I had with my friend, Sarah Kate, in the car on the way to Passion City the other day. We were reminiscing on our semester and we were stressing about our finals that were quickly approaching. The words that came from her mouth were so powerful that I haven’t been able to shake them from my head.
Before I get into the details you should know that I am a recovering perfectionist. I used to care (and sometimes still do) way too much about appearing to be perfect. I had to have straight A’s or I wasn’t good enough. But good enough for what? This was the question Sarah Kate and I were battling.
Her words were spoken so gracefully as she said, “It’s nice to know that the letters and numbers next to my name ultimately have no effect on my eternity in Heaven.”
I needed to hear those words. For me, my final grades this semester won’t look like the grades I have made in the past. That’s a hard reality for me to face but hearing the words coming from my friend’s mouth, I instantly felt peace.
Hear me out for a second:
Do you think that your family won’t love you if you don’t get straight A’s or all A’s and B’s this semester?
Do you think your friends will just stop being your friend because you don’t get good grades?
Will you end up jobless, loveless, and damned to hell because you didn’t finish the semester off PERFECTLY?
So who are you so worried about pleasing?
Here’s the thing. Studying and trying to be successful in school is a great thing. In fact, its encouraged. You should glorify the Lord in all things you do, meaning you should try your best. However, sometimes trying your best doesn’t result in perfection, because perfection isn’t always obtainable. The problem occurs when we start to stress so much about a grade in school that it becomes part of our identity.
If getting bad grades makes you feel fearful, unlovable, or unworthy, then boy do I have news for you.
You’ve heard it all before. That its okay to not be perfect. That it’s okay to get a few B’s or C’s or heck, even to fail every now and again. And for some of you, I bet you’re not believing it. If you get less than a 94 on any assignment I bet you are devastated, heartbroken and I can bet you beat yourself up about it for way too long. I know this because I used to be that way. I used to identify myself by my grades and my ability to be “smart”. Answer this question. Does a letter or number next to your name determine if you are “smart”? Nope. Some of the smartest people I know didn’t even go to college.
So where am I going with all of this?
I don’t want to be completely cliche and to tell you it’s all going to be wonderfully happy and joyful when things don’t go your way. It’s probably going to suck if you get a few bad grades, sure, but there is also good news. Your identity doesn’t lie in a grade, in a final, or in any factor of your success in college.
Your identity lies in a single word. Worthy.
Because the Lord holds your identity and He calls you worthy. He does not care if you fail all of your finals and drop out of school to work at McDonald’s and to live in your parents’ basement. As long as you work hard and glorify Him in all you do at that McDonald’s while also loving the people you surround yourself with, you’re in a good place.
So while you sit with a stack of books next to you in misery, lacking sleep, lacking motivation and stressing way too much (while also procrastinating on Facebook), remember, your identity isn’t in tomorrow’s final exam. Your identity isn’t in how smart and perfect you can appear to your friends. They’ll love you because they love your heart, not your GPA.
The same is true for Him. He thinks you are lovely. He loves the smart, the creative, the failures and the perfectionists, and He loves you. And regardless of how your beautiful you think your GPA is, He wants to spend an eternity with you. He calls you worthy – of love, of goodness, of success, of life, of friendship, and of a relationship with Him.
So hello, Worthy. It’s good to know you. Stop stressing. Everything will be okay.
And when in doubt- put C.