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My Own Failings; God’s Own Glory

December 1, 2011

Recently I’ve been coming face to face with my own humanity. I know that sounds strange to say. I know that I’m just an 18-year-old—hardly a man in many of your eyes. I’m supposed to be brash and bold and willing to take risks and careless of my own safety. Anybody that knows me will tell you that I am, and that I do. This is something entirely different.

What I’m learning is that I’m not perfect. Sure, I’ve always been aware that I have faults. I’ve always known that there had to be something in the world at which I couldn’t become at least somewhat proficient—in fact, there are many things. But I’ve always had spectacular success doing those things that I do well.

One of those proficiencies is things of an academic nature. I had a perfect 4.0 in highschool. I’m not telling you this to brag but so that you can see where I’m coming from. That is the standard to which I held myself, and that’s the standard to which I hoped to keep on holding myself. That is the standard which I am currently on course to fall short of.

In one of my classes I am sitting at a score exactly two percentage points short of a B. It’s not a big deal, I know, not in the large scheme of things. Even if I do manage to get an A on the final and earn a 4.0 this semester, it would only be putting off the inevitable. When you’re in a high-caliber engineering program, there are going to be 3.0s and maybe even 2.0s on your record.

None of that is the point. The point is this: I am failing at one of the things at which I’m good. It’s not a failure by the standards of the American culture, but it is a failure according to my personal standards, and that’s much worse. Such a failure is inevitable. I am not as great as I’ve always believed myself to be.

Don’t get me wrong: I would always maintain that I was merely above average in academics and my other strong areas. I wouldn’t say that I was practically the best anyone could be, but deep down that’s what I believed. Put another way, I had a mental understanding of my own limitations, but I never had had the opportunity to experience them before.

Now I am experiencing it. I am experiencing failure. I hate it. I love it. It’s giving me an opportunity to really believe what I’ve always preached: None of this is about me at all. I am not working for my own glory but for the glory of the Glorious One, and He will bring Himself glory through any vessel He so chooses. Therefore, my abilities are unimportant. Even my failures are unimportant. I am one of God’s elect, and He will use me despite me. This is where I learn faith—the real kind, not the classroom variety. That’s something that extends to so much more than just this portion of my life spent in the classroom.

The same goes for you. Whether you think that you are nearly perfect in all that you do or you struggle with your own utter inadequacy, God wants to use you. Look at the apostles. Peter was a fisherman, completely uneducated. Paul was a Pharisee, quite possibly one of the best-educated people in the world. God used them both. When we behold the magnitude of God’s power glory, why should we worry about ourselves at all?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. tobeforgiven permalink
    December 2, 2011 12:52 am

    You say your only 18 but you are showing more wisdom than some old men.
    We live in a world where doing better than our best is what we try for. And when we do not succeed we turn inwards in depression and shame.
    Believers in Christ also strive towards something that is impossible, righteousness, but as we read in Romans 3, none of us are righteous. But the difference is that we don’t have to turn to depression and shame, we turn o Christ, and he take our depression and shame.
    Reading your post makes me want to say How much I love my Savior. Never change your zeal for the Lord

  2. Tim's Dad permalink
    December 2, 2011 10:15 am

    Adam,

    You are experiencing what is entirely normal in this world, but more importantly you are growing in maturity and grace through the experience. I think that Rudyard Kipling would agree with me, that is what makes men, as opposed to boys. Sadly, there are a lot of “Mary Poppins” men out there today (i.e. they think that they are “practically perfect in every way”) because our culture has coddled them and never allowed (much less encouraged) them to face their own limits and honestly own up to how they “fall short of the glory of God.” Keep going on this path and you are in danger of becoming a real man in a world full of fakes…

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