Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Remembering the Importance of the Journey

Today, I bombed my Hebrew Test that I spent 3 days studying for. I might not have failed it but I definitely consider what happened today to be bombing a test. I knew the material but there was just so much to recall in a second and I psyched myself up to the point that I made dumb mistakes. Honestly, I would have done worse if several of my lovely classmates hadn’t calmed me down as I was being ridiculous. I truly wasn’t at my best today and that left me flustered, sad, and a little adrift. As a recovering perfectionist, days like this are hard for me. Being a perfectionist at things you are good at is exhausting and fairly futile, but perfectionism is even more devastating when you aren’t successful.

While contemplating the reality of doing poorly regardless of how much I prepared, I remembered a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson that says, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” I contemplated about the way that I have been approaching life in general and school in particular lately. While it is so important for me to do well in school because of my plans to continue into doctoral studies, I also need to remember the bigger picture, the bigger reason for studying so hard is to come to know more about God and to be able to share that knowledge with others. Today, I didn’t do well on a test but I have learned so much in Hebrew in these last 13 weeks, things that have changed me and will continue to do so as I continue to learn more. As soon as I begin to study just for the sake of studying, just for the sake of having an A on a grade report then I have lost sight of that big picture. I will have been living for the destination, instead of experiencing the journey.

The destination is certainly important; without it we would have nothing to journey towards. Yet, when it becomes the singular focus of our lives we miss out on the small things. We don’t notice those small things that force us to contemplate and evaluate our lives, emotions, and actions. We miss out on learning from mistakes and the joy of overcoming obstacles because our focus is elsewhere.

I wrote some weeks ago about finding balance in my life. The reality of the matter is that I am an A-student and do A-level work. In order to be a good steward of my talents and obedient to the call on my life, I do need to walk in excellence in this area. Yet, once again, it shouldn’t just be for the sake of getting that A or getting into a PhD program, it should be because I want to learn and honor God in all areas of my life, to the best of my abilities. It should be because I am entirely engaged in my life and the things both big and small that comprise it.

Today, I failed at finding that balance, but I also learned a valuable lesson and was blessed by the many people who spoke kindly to me in my crazy stressed mental breakdown. I was once again reminded of the Lord’s loving correction, pulling my focus away from my own achievements and putting it once again where it should be; solely on Him.

And because, one Ralph Waldo Emerson quote isn’t enough:

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”


Tiina Mitchell said...

good for you girl!