I was public schooled. (Well, besides those five seconds in the third grade when I was homeschooled… do I get some credit there?) Public school is hard (in a different way…), kids are mean and you are taught that you have to constantly be “doing better.” Striving and working and reaching for a goal that they (conveniently) fail to tell you, is actually, unattainable…
You are taught from the moment you enter that kindergarten classroom as an unassuming five/six year old that you are at the beginning. You are now starting the rest of your life of structured, hard, work (otherwise you’ll end up starving under a bridge). They are already pushing you towards your future career and you haven’t even opened your brand new, 24 pack of crayons yet.
I remember feeling so “out of the loop” that first week of school when everyone was talking about what they wanted to be and what college they were going to/what colleges they heard their parents talking about over and over. There I was already six years old and I had been wasting my time watching “The Big Comfy Couch” and eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
So, here we are at the start. The race begins with kindergarten (or preschool, you know… the school where you get ready to go school) and then you work for six (or seven, depending on your state or county) years to get to the “top.”
You have finally made it.
You are one of the big kids, the (ten year old) head honchos, you know the halls like the back of your hand. Then, BAM. You are at the bottom again. surrounded by (in most cases) hundreds of new kids you don’t know. Struggling to find your way to class after class and getting in trouble when you’re a minute late.
You eventually get the swing of things and adapt to having seven new teachers. Splitting up your day into seven different subjects (jumping from math, to history, to reading in the course of a few short hours) and spending it in at least seven different rooms. You again begin to climb the ladder; before you know it, you’re there. You’re an eighth grader. You are the student body treasurer, you are in yearbook, you know all of the teachers, you have built “friendships” …You’re “big stuff” now.
Then it happens again.
You are at the bottom. Everything you’ve worked for/on is gone and now, mostly irrelevant… Your friends are at a different school. The seniors seem so much older, they know what’s what, they have everything figured out and they won’t let you forget it; while you’re running just to find your first class on time.
Here you are again at the “bottom of the ladder” starting your way up bar by bar. Not only do each of us now have a count down for deciding how we are going to spend the rest of our lives working to make money and which facility is going to best help us achieve that… our hair is falling out over the stress of how we are going to afford this, where we will live, how we will eat (because a “starving college student” is now an accepted term) while trying to keep our grades up so we can go to that school and maintain our performance in the sports we play/clubs/class presidency/other extra curricular activities so that they will pick us over them… Oh, and let’s not forget that we have a life outside of school and work and money that our young selves are trying to manage as well.
What happens after graduation? After that monumental, life-altERING DAY?!
You guessed it.
It starts all over.
And then in two to eight-ish years, once you owe the bank/school/government two of your limbs, your hair is going gray and you’re malnourished you get to start over one. more. time. This time you (in most cases) start again at the bottom and well, maybe you’re happy right here. But, odds are that naturally your “training” will have prepared you to again begin trying to climb the ladder. This ladder is much taller, the rungs grow farther and farther apart and that top step starts to look awfully precarious from your “safe” and “sturdy” vantage point…
Take a breath with me here (I know I need one). I know you’re tired. I am too. It is exhausting just thinking about all of that. But please, let me be that voice today that tells you, “You’re doing amazing serving God just as you are.” Give yourself a minute (I’m reminding myself too).
If someone asked you what you were working for… what you were living your life for… what would the honest answer be? Go ahead, be honest with yourself. Is it a job? A person? Perhaps a life long goal or “dream?” Now, why don’t we put as much effort into serving and seeking our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ every day? How is it possible that we get so busy “climbing” that we lose sight of where we’re going?
God doesn’t need me to have straight A’s on a report card, metals/ribbons/trophies, He doesn’t need me to have a degree, an employee of the month plaque, to concern myself with making more money or to keep trying to do more… to be better… to reach the next level… out of fear of not being good enough and loosing everything I have worked for… because He has told me over and over and over again that it is not by works but by FAITH ALONE (Ephesians 2:8) that I am saved, redeemed, loved, HIS. Just as I am when I come to Him, because I come to Him.
I’m not scared of winding up starving under a bridge somewhere because He also tells me countless times that He is all that I need; He is the bread of life (John 6: 35) and the living-water (John 4: 13-14) and as long as I have Him I shall not hunger or thirst. I don’t worry about having clothes to wear anymore because He tells me not to (Matthew 6: 28). I no longer worry about having a safe place to lay my head at night because He tells me that He is my shelter… my refuge (Psalm 62: 8).
Lifting it all up to God…
Are all things that we know are possible… things that we know we can do and maintain because He is with us (Philippians 4:13).
Every year of our life is another rung on the ladder… each one brings it’s own challenges, each one brings a new point of view and each one brings us one step closer to our Lord and Savior. This is the only goal that we know working for and putting our whole heart and soul into won’t be in vain. The one thing in this life, from the beginning of time to the end, that is completely and entirely worth it. We won’t have to start over, or try again and maaaybe we will repent sooner next time… the fact that we confess our sins to God, truly repent and turn our lives over to Him is enough. Thank you Jesus.
I am not saying don’t go to college; if it fits the path that God has you on, go. I am not saying to not always do your best or to not strive to do better. I am simply trying to remind you that you don’t have to prove yourself to anyone… and that your gift/your testimony/your story will look different than anyone else’s. That is beautiful and okay! Let God guide you and carry you until you reach the top of the ladder one last time… and the ultimate goal is attained.
What does all of your hard work go toward? Do you put as much effort into serving our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ?
What do you live for? What should you? Are they the same/what steps can you take to make them the same to most effectively serve and use your time?
Do you feel pressure to always be pushing yourself to reach the next rung on the ladder? How do you handle it? How do you wish you did?
Until next time; I pray your day, every day, is blessed.