Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Memorial Stone #11 pt. 1 - Striving

I have mixed feelings about including this particular experience as a memorial stone because it was not a good experience. Despite that fact, it is something that I want to remember so that it will not happen again. Part One of this post is devoted to setting the stage.

As you know from Memorial Stone #6, God delivered me from the hurt and the pain I experienced while growing up. Since then I have loved my dad unconditionally and honored him in whatever way I could. I have stayed free from the bondage that held me for years. However, along this journey I have uncovered outlooks and attitudes in my life that are a direct result of growing up in the environment that I did. My dad is obsessive-compulsive and an extreme perfectionist. His acceptance of me and his love for me was based on my "performance". I'm not blaming him for anything as I believe he grew up in the same kind of environment. I remember bringing home my first B on a report card in 8th grade (where I live, an A is excellent, B is good, C is average, and so on) and it was like the world had ended. In high school I could bring home 6 A's and 1 B, and the B would get the attention - negative attention. Grades are just one example. It was constantly reinforced that if I wasn't perfect, I wasn't loved. Even in my church (the one I grew up in) the focus was more on the "rules" of what a Christian should or should not do rather than on the relationship with Jesus. Because of growing up this way, I have been driven to be the best...and have had a hard time accepting myself if I fell short. I am able to have the utmost patience with others (one thing that made me good as a teacher), but I am tough on myself. To a certain extent, it has been good because it has made me a very hard worker. Yet, in my experience I have found that our greatest strengths can also be our biggest weaknesses.

I achieved a certain level of success when I went back to college for my technology degree. I received 2 scholarships, was on the student council executive committee, was a member of a national honor society, was president of the programming club, received a national award for achievement and leadership, and got straight A's...except for one which was an A-. That A- really bothered me. It was in my Systems Analysis class in which everyone was required to work on a team. There were five of us, and two members failed to finish their part of the major project that was due at the end of the semester. The rest of us did not know about it until it was too late. I had earned the spot of "leader" of the team and the teacher basically said that I should have asked to see their progress rather than taking their word for it. I accepted that, but I still hated to see the A-.

It's interesting how God "arranges" for us to be around certain people. In Systems Analysis I just happened to be on the same team as a witch. We all had to prepare anonymous website with our background, hobbies, likes, dislikes, and work history, then the entire class helped form the teams based on that information. I put the "clues" together and knew that a particular website that promoted witchcraft belonged to a woman who was on my team. She was a hard worker and we had a mutual respect for each other (she wasn't one of the two that "dropped the ball" at the end of the semester). After the semester was over we met for coffee and I brought up the fact that I knew she was the one involved in witchcraft. I witnessed to her for about 20 minutes and shared various scriptures with her. I also told her that I believed in what she did, meaning I believed that there truly is a certain amount of power in it. I compared it to the buying power that one could experience with counterfeit money. It works, but sooner or later there will be a reckoning. The conversation was a good one and even though she did not get saved, I know God's Word was planted in her heart. The next semester I had a similar opportunity to share my faith, but it didn't go as planned, to say the least (part 2 coming).


Post a Comment

<< Home

Site Meter