I’m not clever enough
I’m not funny enough
I’m not beautiful enough
I’m not thin enough
I’m not nice enough
I’m not good enough
I’m not enough.
When you build up something in your head, and don’t consider the possibility of it all disappearing in a puff of smoke, the fall afterwards is so much greater. When you place your identity, your self worth in something which inevitably will break apart or get thrown away, your self worth gets dragged along with it.
I’ve done it before and I ended up with clinical depression, so you think I’d have learnt by now. But no. Typical Tom.
I didn’t get Deemed to have Deserved Honours. I found out today. No honours degree for Tom.
I had the idea that it would all be okay: that I’d get my DDH, that my future career wouldn’t be overly affected. I’d have a nice reference and I’d just have to explain why I couldn’t take my finals and don’t have a classification. That it would all be okay.
Instead I’ve been offered an ordinary degree. Not honours. Ordinary. Even the word sounds smaller in a sense. It feels like it’s worth less, and I guess in academic terms it is. I know its silly – it’s still a degree and thats more than it could be, and a lot more than some people have. I can explain to employers, I still have something to show for my three years in Cambridge. But it still sticks there in the back of my mind. “You’ve failed.” And that hurts.
Grad week hasn’t been easy. Seeing others experience the joy from having made it through their time at Cambridge, and getting that piece of paper that tells them they’ve done it; that their time has been worth something (at least academically). That hurts too.
In all honesty I’m jealous. I want that joy, I want to feel like I’m ‘worth’ something. I know I should be setting my mind “on things above” (1 Colossians 3:2), but it’s difficult and I’m not very good at it. Instead of placing my worth in God I’m placing it in my academic achievement.
But I’m trying not to, and here’s why:
If I offered you £20, would you take it?
How about if I crumpled it up?
Stepped on it?
You’d probably still take it though, even though it looks a bit rough around the edges.
Why? Because it’s still £20, and its worth hasn’t changed.
The same goes for you; if you have a bad day, or if something bad happens to you, you are not worthless.
Just because I haven’t been able to get the degree I thought I would doesn’t mean I am worth any less. And just because I’ve been given an ordinary degree doesn’t make me any more or less ordinary.
No matter what we do, not matter what degree we get, no matter what achievements we rack up and trophies we put on the mantle piece, we are all worth the same and we are precious in his sight (Isaiah 43:3). This isn’t an ego boosting post saying that “you are beautiful/smart/funny etc” because half the time we’re not, I know I’m not! Instead I’m trying to say it doesn’t matter to God. By Jesus’ sacrifice it is Him that God sees in us, so even if we feel we’re not worth anything we’re worth everything to him.
He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:5)
So if you find yourself thinking I’m not good enough, I’m not clever enough, I’m not funny enough, I’m not kind enough, I’m not enough, then remember (or at least try to) that you are enough to God. No matter what you bring or do we are still fearfully and wonderfully made, and nothing we do will change that.
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (Romans 12: 1-2, MSG)
So I’m going to take my everyday, ordinary degree – and place it before God as an offering. Because it’s worth something. I’m worth something.