Sunday, May 06, 2007


This is another one at the C's house as the haze in the background is towards downtown LA and the mountains behind. I tried to set up a hummingbird feeder in our backyard, but I never had the success that the C's do so I have to take pictures at their place. They really are fascinating birds and wonderful pictures of God's amazing creativity.

I would like to get back to my original idea in creating this blog, which was to force the discipline of reviewing my week and recognizing Jesus in it. I do not know if that will happen at this point as life will be a bit crazy over the next few weeks as we prepare to move to Turkey, but it is a goal. And on that note, I have no problem seeing a significant aspect of this week.

I took the GMAT on Friday. I did not know how I would do and was quite anxious that I would not do well. I studied intensely for about a month, but saw little improvement on the practice tests I took. In fact, it seemed like I only got worse each time. I was not able to finish any of the four practice tests I took in the allotted time. I did end up doing well on the real test, though, as Jesus clearly helped me through it. Many times during the three and a half hour test, I prayed for help and wisdom, for clarity and focus, and Jesus helped me. That is by natur a subjective statement, but I know it is true, and it does not really matter what others think about it.

But that is not my focus here. The deeper issue had to do with what the chance of failure revealed in me. As I was preparing for the test, I often pictured myself finishing the test and either doing well or doing poorly. This daydreaming revealed much about the foundation of my life. When I pictured myself doing poorly, I was embarrassed and tried to think of ways to justify it or excuse it. I tried to think through how I would report it to others and what I would say. I could see myself devising little ways to manipulate it so that I still "looked" okay. At the same time, when I pictured myself doing well, I struggled with the pride and arrogance that would come. I would be happy with myself and feel more worthy and better than others which would make me feel ashamed.

This whole process was a grace of God to reveal some deep level lies/thought patterns that I use to define myself in relation to those around me. Jesus is not enough. I need Jesus and to be smart. I need Jesus and to be smarter than others. In fact, to be totally honest, there is a part of me that tells me that I don't even need Jesus; I just need to be smart (I could actually plug in a number of characteristics here, but the test brought out intelligence so that is my focus here.)

In the past this would have lead me to doubt and discouragement, but God has helped me to see this as a grace. I pray that He will search my heart and reveal my sin and lead me to Jesus (Psalm 139:23-24), so I should not be surprised when He does it. It is painful, and it is good. So I was able to repent and move forward. I was able to recognize it and give it to God and let Him take care of it and change me in His way. This is a step towards the freedom that I so long for in Christ. Repentance is good news. I am slowly learning how true this is.
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