Basing your self worth on achievements is unhealthy

You’re never good enough.

I’m sure we have all felt this way at least once. We’ve been told that there will always be someone better than us by parents, teachers or our peers. We beat ourselves up over failed exams, broken promises and lost relationships. No matter how hard we try, our results sometimes never seem to add up to our personal standards or society’s.

With only seven more weeks of the semester left, my thoughts are once again consumed with the stress of grades, work and friends. I’m sure this is the case for many of us. I’ve been so busy trying to maintain these aspects of my life that I’ve forgotten why.

Why do I try so hard to be “better?” We measure ourselves up with accomplishments, but it’s never enough. I remember freshman year, I received a 98 on one of my chemistry exams and was satisfied until I found out the student next to me received a 101. I had studied as if my life depended on it, but it wasn’t good enough.

“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Jesus said in Matthew 6:26.

As a Christian, I’ve forgotten time and time again I am enough. The imperfections that I strive so hard to improve mean nothing to Him, because I have already been accepted and am loved unconditionally.

We have an unhealthy tendency to measure our worth by our achievements. We deprive ourselves of sleep in order to receive the grades that will make our parents proud. We pile on more responsibilities than necessary just to build up a resume that will one day land us a job. We go out every weekend to see our friends in order to maintain the relationship. We spend so much of our energy, time and money to please others that we fail to see how much of it starts to eat away at our lives.

It’s important to keep our heads up instead of drowning in our stress as we’re nearing the end of the semester. Stop identifying yourselves through your grades, your resume, or the people around you. God loves you, not what you do.

 

© The Baylor Lariat

 

 

No plans, no problem, God’s got you covered

What if I don’t get a job after graduation? What if I end up living with my parents forever? What if I never get married?

Once you start, there seems to be no end. At least up to junior year, we had the excuse of, “We’re still young. We still have plenty of time,” whenever we felt doubts about our future careers. Now, with the prospect of graduation, the future seems just as, or even more, obscure.

Some students have it all figured it out. Some have had the same goal, the same major, since entering college. Some even have a job waiting for them after graduation, while others don’t.

There are many graduating seniors that dread the coming of May and are drowning in their anxieties. Many feel incompetent and amateurish because they still haven’t figured out what their calling is in life, unlike some of their peers. When did students become ‘failures’ for merely not knowing? When did these expectations start determining our self-worth?

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

We’ve heard this verse countless of times in Sunday school, yet we sometimes forget it when we need it the most. We’re not on this journey alone and it’s far from the end. This is only the beginning.

In Matthew 25:1, Jesus says, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?”

He will provide. This doesn’t mean you can sit back and relax in your recliner, though. Again, the journey is far from over.

Oftentimes, we couple success with wealth. We stress that we won’t be financially stable enough individually and for our families. We look past what we’re truly passionate about for that miserable job with the larger paycheck. Sure, it’d be nice to have an idea of what our future will look like, but maybe it’s a good thing that we don’t know, so we can venture out to find what truly makes us happy. Shouldn’t there be more to life than landing a job for the sake of having a job?

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you,” Jesus said in Matthew 7:7.

Pray and work hard. Stop stressing about the ambiguities of the future. Some of you seniors might be anxious because you know you haven’t been giving it your all. You know you need to do that extra research for your studies, for your interviews, but you’ll “worry about it later” and push it off for another day. Eventually, you won’t have another day.

Proverbs 13:4 says, “ The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.”

Don’t be lazy. Research your options, get connected and build-up your resume.

©The Baylor Lariat

Just hear me out: Listen, respect others’ opinions in discussion

Wouldn’t it be nice sometimes to shut someone up by clicking the mute button, like how Adam Sandler does in the movie Click?

It’s hard to have a conversation when two people have opposing values, but it’s near impossible when they’re trying to grab for each other’s throats at the same time.

We see it all the time. A discussion turns into an argument, and a debate turns into a fight. Instead of laying out thoughts for the sake of understanding, it becomes “my way or the highway.”

Sometimes, you may find yourself amongst a group with the same values, or end up being the only opposing view. Whichever the case may be, I think it’s important to learn to swallow a few words in order to give others a chance to speak their minds.

Personally, I know I am more sensitive to topics such as abortion, assault and discrimination. It’s difficult to try and listen to others especially when they’re going against what you passionately believe in.

Oftentimes, I feel that people criticize or judge others for having different values. God, however, doesn’t give us that authority.

In Romans 2:1-3 Paul says, “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practice such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?”

No one is perfect, so who are we to judge what’s right and wrong?

In Matthew 7:3-4 Jesus says, “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?”

It’s always easier to judge than be judged. Everyone has a certain degree of pride that they would like to protect. It doesn’t feel great when you “lose” an argument while supporting your cause. It gives you a sense of inferiority. However, when it comes to topics that truly matter, such as abortion, the focus shouldn’t be on pride and women’s empowerment, but rather the issue itself. An innocent life is at stake.

Listening and trying to understand another’s views not only brings forth intellectual discussions, but it also forms respect and strengthens relationships.

In James 1:19, James says, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

When we’re stubborn, we easily succumb to the idea that our views are always right. It is almost instinctual to want to retaliate whenever our personal values seem to be under attack; however, as much as you would want others to respect and care about your views, it is vital to reciprocate for others.

Being patient and listening more is not only a humbling experience but also an opportunity for people to formulate solutions instead of merely fighting.

So, shut up and listen because you might learn a thing or two.

©The Baylor Lariat

Practice what you preach: Christian walk should be by faith, not by Sunday attendance

Church today is becoming overrated.

I’m sure everyone has had, or knows of, that one Christian friend that was never free on the weekends. Or maybe you were that friend. I know I was.

A devoted churchgoer’s weekend may generally look like this:

Friday: worship service, fellowship

Saturday: prayer meeting, fellowship

Sunday: worship service, fellowship

Despite the fact that each day of this schedule seems to be analogous to the other, missing one day makes a great difference. So what’s the big deal?

A churchgoer’s community will be the church. Some members of the congregation become your friends, and attending that particular church becomes more enjoyable. Eventually, the congregation as a whole will feel like family.

I’ve given the excuse, “Oh, sorry I have church, but maybe next time,” one too many times. “Next time” became never, and the friends that asked eventually gave up. It didn’t matter for me, though, because I had friends at church.

In the past, I’ve been a leader on the praise team and Sunday school teacher for children. I’ve also volunteered in Vacation Bible School programs for children during summers. The more involved I was, the more volunteering became a given.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you,” Jesus said in Matthew 28:19-20.

I had focused too much on my Christian walk within the Church and forgot my mission as a Christian: spreading the Word.

Today, it would be appalling to see martyrs stoned to death. Persecution of Christians, especially in a suburban town in Texas, is highly unlikely. Living the life of a Christian has become comfortable.

Many Christians hear the Word, but fail to carry it out into the world. Monumental churches are built for stature, and the congregation works to maintain it. Unsaid dress codes have formed, and the calculative nature of Christianity — racking up good deeds to be a “better” Christian — continues to thrive within the Church.

It’s easy to sum up your faith with your servitude. By focusing on how “Christian” we are, we forget how we gained our religious freedom and what it took.

The judges of our faith tend to be other Christians. The acts of servitude have become a means for acceptance and recognition.

Galatians 1:10 states, “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Despite the fact that in almost every Bible lesson Christians are told that God is our only judge, the nature of humans are hard to ignore.

While many Christians are busy engrossed in their own faith walk, non-believers are being neglected. The purpose of a Christian is to reach out and share the Gospel, yet more and more non-believers have reasons to avoid religious affiliations. The mission is outside of the Church, yet many try so hard to remain with the confines of its walls.

James 1:22-24 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”

Many Christians are forgetting what they look like.

©The Baylor Lariat