As a kid, like many kids, I had dreams of grandeur.
Ah, to be really great at something.
I picked up the electric guitar in middle school because I wanted to be a girl who could shred.
I took lessons from a gentle, long-haired man who loved classic rock and taught me Purple Haze and some Stevie Ray Vaughan licks. Even today, that’s about all I remember on the guitar, which makes it appear like I know more about the instrument than I actually do.
I loved the idea of being a gold-medal winning Olympian.
Once upon a time, I was speedy, agile, and fairly athletic. The Presidential Fitness Test in P.E.? – all. over. it. I reveled in trying to beat some of the boys. “Bring on the shuttle run,” I’d say to myself.
And then I turned 13, and just like that (sigh), my glory years were behind me.
While I still played sports through high school, I had more heart than actual skill (Ru-dy! Ru-dy! – slow clap). I played mediocrely on a mediocre basketball team. And in track and cross-country, knowing I wouldn’t come in first place, I set my sights on the lofty goal of just not being last. I was content in the middle of the pack. First place ribbons in swimming became increasingly rare.
Nonetheless, I still enjoyed the camaraderie of being on a team, working towards a common goal. And I loved the challenge and the physical activity. Coaches liked me because I had a positive attitude. But grandeur was not to be had. I was so….average. Maybe I didn’t work hard enough during the off seasons or maybe I just wasn’t blessed with the amount of natural ability I would have liked. Probably both.
Nonetheless, I tend to think that God protected me from myself, knowing that my pride couldn’t handle any more than a modest amount of success, success that nobody cares about or will remember.
I always marveled at other kids who did experience greater successes and didn’t seem to get bigheaded about it. I imagine that, as a teenager, to be a bigger success in itself.
While I think on excellence and diligence and hard work and honed skill – all good things that can bring God glory and that shouldn’t be set aside for wishful thinking, I also think on the fact that no matter how great or not great I am considered in this world, my soul is helpless and damned without Jesus, my Savior and Redeemer.
How I depend on His strength and righteousness, because I have none of my own.
Over time, I have grown/am growing/hope to continue to grow into seeing myself less and less as an aspiring great person and more and more as a dependent person on Jesus.
To focus on who Jesus is for me, instead of who I am for Him. This thinking transforms me and interestingly gives me great joy.
He must become greater and greater and I must become less and less. – John 3:30
And then I think on this story below (perhaps you know it) of a father and his son completing the Iron Man Triathlon together, after the son asked his dad if they could race it. The race consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, topped off by a 26.2-mile run (a marathon). The son has cerebral palsy.
For in Him, we live and move and have our being. – Acts 17:28