High school is behind me now, but I haven’t stopped learning, it would seem. Today, I spent a good chunk of time cleaning and organizing an overflowing box of schoolwork. You see, I’m not the most organized person in the world. Okay, I’m an absolute failure at organizing my stuff…especially papers. I kind of like to just relax and forget about things when I don’t particularly need them anymore. So, throughout the last two years, everything that I don’t really need anymore has gone into the school box. Consequently, the last few days have been spent sifting through Spanish homework, student aide lessons, English notes, and lots of Biology.
It was an interesting task, to say the least. I can’t say that I enjoyed it, but it did bring back old memories, good, bad, and unflattering alike.
My Biology brought the most thought, in the end. Oh, the Spanish I enjoyed looking through and made me dream about taking university Spanish classes next year. My teaching notes reminded me of the class I helped in and the future I may have in education. And of course, English brought a smile or two. But in of all that, I learned the most from the subject I know the least about… Biology.
Not to be a downer or anything, but I’m terrible at Science, Math, and anything technical. I’m extremely creative, as my project based Lit 12 class proved. I can write to save my life. I picked up Spanish pretty easily and was even able to teach it. But if you give me something technical like a fractions sheet or a chemistry lab, I’d rather get my eye brows plucked.
As I organized and slightly reviewed my notes on Meiosis and Mitosis, plant cells, and the urinary system, an aspect of myself that I’m not so proud of, unfolded before me. I am afraid of failure. In fact, I am so scared of missing the mark, that I run, hide, scream or do whatever is needed so that I don’t have to deal with my failure. But as a Christian, that is not the attitude that I am supposed to have towards Biology, school work, or my sins. Because Jesus is enough for my failures and I need to trust and let Him carry my load when I can’t.
But the truth is, I didn’t do that with Bio 12 and I don’t do that with most of my life. In my course, I received some A’s, lots of B’s, and a few C’s. And some of my marks were really, really bad. Actually, in addition to some super low C’s, I failed my first test by 3 %. Yup, I actually, officially failed. But really, my Biology scores are no different than my regular life as a human. God doesn’t grade us on our attitude, but I can garuntee we’d all fail more than one test if he did.
Throughout my organizing, I found a lot of unopened envelopes. Like I said, I’m afraid of missing the mark and I literally run away from it. Since I was home schooled, my teacher sent my marked work through the mail and I had the choice to open it or leave it untouched. So, because I knew I wouldn’t be getting top scores all the time, I left a lot of them unopened, at least to me. My mom could open them if she wanted, but several times I wouldn’t touch my Bio marks. I was ashamed, just like I am of my sins. I didn’t want to look back at my failures because it showed me that I was unworthy, messed up, and fallen.
But isn’t it funny how that’s just not how God would look at failure? He forgives and loves us, despite our brokeness. And not only that, but He gives us second chance after second chance. God does not give up no matter how badly we miss the mark. And He wants to show us once again what is right. He encourages us to keep going and tells us to overcome our sins. When I went through my Biology marks, I found the envelope with the bad test mark. But because I’d wanted to run and hide and forget about my failure, I had missed the lesson. My teacher had sent that test back to me so that I could learn from my mistakes, but I had let my shame overtake me. God doesn’t want us to run from Him because of guilt.
The last envelope I opened surprised me. I knew before that I’d failed the first test and that my marks weren’t the best. I was aware of my failures. But this last envelope had not been opened by anyone–even my mom. It contained something different. I gasped when I saw that I had received % 100 for this Biology assignment! I was thrilled and I wished so badly that I hadn’t let my shame overtake me when it first arrived in the mail.
If we got report cards in heaven, we would all get 100 %, too. Even though we would have messed up and failed. Although we would deserve much less. Seriously, if God marked us on perfection we’d all get zeroes and my Biology marks would look good. But He doesn’t mark is on perfection — He accepts us with grace. And that is why the G on the report would be for grace and not good because of the grace that God has truly given us through His son.
If you’re hiding in shame and guilt today, please stop. If you think that God can’t love you because of past mistakes, that isn’t true. God always, always accepts and loves us for who we are… broken, messed up, but oh, so precious in His sight.