Yesterday was actually pretty tough. Primarily because we got our coursework results back, and mine were (as expected) not fantastic. Now, I know that this is entirely normal given my cognitive function on any given day, but historically I have been good at everything. Added to that, my facebook stream has been overloaded with people bragging about how good their results were. I say overloaded; it was probably three people. But that’s three too many when I’m already feeling like the worst student in the universe!
I think this is actually one of the hardest things for me now. What I have always believed is that character is more important than grades, and the ridiculous academic system we have in which your worth as a person is entirely based on how good you are in a certain field compared to a small number of your peers is utterly absurd. I know that that’s true, but it’s hard to start to have to live it. Intelligence has always been part of my identity – although perhaps this is just a way of saying ‘your identity is in Christ’.
Anyway, I was reading this morning in James 3:
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
I feel like I want to harbour some bitter envy against all those people who can effortlessly get great grades and still have time for relaxing! But that’s not the right direction to go in. No way. Even if I filled myself to the brim with seething contempt, all I would do would be to destroy myself and those around me farther.
This isn’t just a warning to me though. The other stuff in this passage, the `good life’, `deeds done in humility’, `pure… peace-loving, considerate, submissive… mercy… good fruit, impartial… sincere’ – none of these things are easy to grasp, but I don’t think that being ill makes them any harder. So where character is concerned, I’m at no disadvantage. What is important has not been taken away from me, just the things that distract us from what is important.
I think I can live with that.