The World is Not Your Report Card
This week we have been taking a closer look at how we, as human beings, respond to failure. We all fall down – it happens. And just as in 2 Corinthians 5:17, we are reminded that those failures need not define us, only REFINE us. Today our dear friend and guest blogger, Kari Patterson, builds on the conversation and emphasizes the importance of setting aside our own misconceptions or unrealistic expectations of what the world around us may – or may not – think of us. In the end, it’s not what matters – what matters is Jesus. And Jesus is enough.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Cor 5:17)
I still remember asking my mom the question when I was all of seven years old:
“Mommy, can I have a report card like the kids at school?”
I still remember her smile. Her looking down at me. Her reply: “Honey, you are doing great. You work hard, you have a great attitude, and you’re learning lots. I’m so pleased with you. Why do you want a report card?”
Why did I want a report card?
I was homeschooled. I didn’t have to have one. But I remember her kindly humoring me by writing my name on a sheet of paper and making a list of A’s down the side with categories such as “cares for others,” “works hard,” and “listens well.” I clutched the hand-written report and beamed.
Now I have to chuckle and shake my head at this story. Partly because I still find myself 25 years later walking around the world and looking for a report card. Please? Or, worse–
Seeing everything in the world as one giant report card.
Each day ends with a giant letter grade scribbled across the page of my life. Have you ever been there?
- My kids. If we have a smooth day with cheerful attitudes or they sit quietly in church, I have an A. If they’re particularly sour or we had an incident at the store, I’m down to a D- and wish I weren’t even in the class.
- My husband. Even though my man is awesome, way too often I have believed the lie that if he’s struggling it’s because I’ve somehow failed on my end. Haven’t submitted enough or been joyful enough or haven’t given him enough lovin’. No matter what the issue is, surely his struggle must indicate my failure. It’s just another unfortunate report card.
- My writing. Can I just be brutally honest and say that sometimes I hate all the tweets and pins and shares? Can I just say that sometimes, just sometimes, Facebook “likes” can feel like a giant report card? Sometimes, when my eyes are not on Jesus or my heart is in a bad space, it can feel like standing naked daily before an audience and watching a thousand thumbs point up or down. Is it any wonder writer’s block plagues us at times?
- Sometimes it’s ministry, friendships, the state of my house or the number on the scale or a whole host of other ridiculous “whatevers” that that particular day might hold.
Anything can be taken by the enemy and folded into a nice paper report card, by which my happiness can come…and go.
The truth is, whatever the report card of the day might say, if we look to it to find our worth we are well on our way to misery.
The truth is, the world is not your report card.
The truth is, some days your kids are angels and some days they are…something else. Some days your man will be flourishing and some days he will struggle too…just like you. Some days you will be celebrated and some days you will be forgotten.
Just like Jesus.
His children misbehave sometimes. His Bride struggles often. His Word usually isn’t “liked” much at all.
What does that mean?
It means we must remember that our report card was a list of F’s for every category. But there is now, written in His blood, the name JESUS printed across the top, cancelling out every debt, every failure, every shortcoming.
We no longer need a report card.
Jesus Christ nailed ours to the cross and told us, once and for all, we are accepted and beloved in Him. My mom’s words, “I”m so pleased with you. Why do you need a report card?”
You’re right, Mom.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26