Recently I was asked to speak to a group of fellow students at my university about the best piece of advice I have ever received. As a self-proclaimed inspiration addict, I found that task quite difficult. I spend most days searching for small truths and 140 character tidbits of hope I can share with others. I find these easiest to remember and we can usually keep them in our memory for a while.
It wasn’t long before I was asked to speak that I received that perfect piece of advice.
I was sitting through a Sunday service, quite tired from the week I had just experienced. As a full time student with two part time jobs and a bad habit of saying yes to every opportunity that presents itself, I was worn quite thin. To be honest, I don’t remember much about what my pastor was talking about, but I do remember one line.
“You are NOT your highs and you are NOT your lows.”
This quickly got my attention. I am really used to people coming to our defense when we mess up. We make a mistake and friends, family and spiritual leaders are fast to remind us of God’s unconditional love. We are saved by grace and Jesus’ sacrifice so we do not have to be perfect. It is not expected of us. You are not your lows, because God’s love for us is the highest.
You are not your highs is a different story.
As an over-achiever by trade, this hit me right in my weak spot. I’m sure it would too for a lot of you. We spend our lives devoting ourselves to God through our work, our education, our achievements and the way we love the world. We use our highs to exalt our God, and when we’re doing good and feeling good, we praise our Lord for it.
To be reminded I am neither the sum or my failures or the array of successes I have done was probably the most eye-opening and re-affirming advice I could have received in that moment. A sweet little reminder for a tired and over-exerted student, just trying to do good. We’ve all been there, we’ve all felt that pressure to be the best. How nice is it to know, to be told, that neither high nor low, you are not defined by either? You are defined by God. You are defined by your status of child of our loving and merciful Father. You are the sum of all the parts He has given you and all the blessings you receive daily. You are capable of great things and you are capable of failure, but NEITHER of those matter in the eyes of God.
I hope that whether you feel like an over-achiever or an under-achiever, a success or a failure, that you are able to shift your focus from those labels and lay your eyes on God’s kingdom, where all are welcome and all are loved exactly as they are.
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