“It’s okay if you don’t know what the answer is.”
“It’s fine if you don’t pass every test or trial.”
“It’s all right to stumble a little bit, because the journey isn’t about having complete and total understanding, but about submitting yourself humbly to Me and being open to learning all the things I want to teach you. It’s about allowing Me to fill you and equip you with the things you need to know, but also to help your development and growth in Me—to better your relationship with Me.”
I am finally learning that it’s okay…
I remember being 24 going on 25 before finally being able to see myself as beautiful. I am now 27 going on 28, and I’m starting to see that my self-esteem issue with not feeling “smart enough” is still effecting me both naturally and spiritually. I thought that when I passed that hurdle of thinking “I’m ugly, I’m trash,” that I had overcome my self-esteem issues totally, but I’m finding it to be in layers. So this is just another layer I will have to press through.
I hate not knowing the answer, or not knowing how to do something, or the feeling that comes with struggling to master a task that others around me seem to pick up with ease. It makes me feel incompetent and I hate feeling incompetent. There are times when I’m speaking to people and think I sound like an idiot because I cannot verbally express what it is I want to say. I often find myself trying my best to prove to my friends, “Hey—I’m not a dummy! I can keep up with you! See what a great conversationalist I am? I can hold down a conversation, too! I promise you I’m not basic!” The pressure seems to mount when a friend tells me how wise or smart they think I am…
…because then I feel as though I cannot let them down or disappoint by saying something asinine.
However, because I’m a better communicator through writing than I am through speaking, there’s always that one day where I do eventually say something ridiculous or off. My friends still love me, of course, and we can always look back at my absurdity together and laugh about it, but it doesn’t neglect the growing urge to be smarter. The desire to show myself up by yearning to be more, “I have to be intelligent; no one wants to deal with a person who’s an absolute dimwit.”
The problem is I never have felt intelligent. Most days I revert back to that sad, little girl who constantly told herself, “You can’t do anything right. You’re stupid, you’re worthless, you can’t learn anything, you’ll never go to college, and if you do, you won’t make it. You’re just stupid, stupid, stupid.”
Despite getting accepting into college, graduating and even furthering my writing with these posts, those thoughts are still echoing inside of me and I didn’t see that until today after spending a few moments with God.
Yesterday God pointed out to me that I lack understanding of His Word, “You assume that because you know it, you understand it when that is not the case.” He went on to remind me that just because a person can quote scripture and has several chapters memorized, it doesn’t mean that they understand it. “It’s just like in a classroom. Just because a child can parrot back to you what you’ve taught them, it doesn’t mean that they actually grasp what it is they’ve been taught until it comes time for them to apply it.”
I became saddened. I went home and I began praying for God to give me understanding. I woke up today and I was grieved. After reviewing over passages I studied, I became vexed. I started questioning every poem I wrote and words of encouragement with scriptures I gave to people. All this time, walking in the Lord, and I had NO understanding? Like none at all? As in NOTHING? “All the stuff I’ve written, all the things I’ve done for You…what have I really been doing then? Have I been given people a bunch of empty, feel-good garbage but no substance?”
The Lord then brought to my remembrance that I was never the one writing those poems, or doing those spoken word pieces, or writing those volumes of my church’s newsletter, or even writing those lesson plan articles on this blog—it was all Him. “You were not the author. You were an instrument that God used to get His Word across. What you’ve done hasn’t been in vain.” But I started to become discouraged. I’m an imbecile, I thought, I am an imbecile in Christ…how can this be?
That’s when Jesus said, “Don’t allow the enemy to discourage you. It’s not about knowing everything, or memorizing to pass the test, but about LEARNING. It’s about growing and understanding, building the foundation with Me you need in order to develop relationships with other people.” He went on to let me know that I don’t have to be a know-it-all. I just have to be willing to come to Him with a submissive and willing heart, ready to take in whatever it is He has for me to know. He reminded me how deep He is, and that no matter how old I get or how long I’ve been walking in Him, I will forever be learning more and more about Him—and that’s OKAY!
While I’m accepting that I don’t have it altogether and I don’t know everything like I once felt I did, I still struggle with the fact that I will NEVER have it together—I will never “arrive” and I won’t ever know all there is to know. God recalled to me how when I first started my journey I didn’t even want to pick up a Bible, let alone read it. Now I’m patiently taking the time each day to go back over previous notes and reread stuff again and again in order to understand what He’s saying to me, rather than just settling for the gist of it.
I’m not the brightest pupil in the class, but I’m not sporting the dunce cap either. Still, I will wear that cap if it means humbling myself so I can gain understanding from the Lord. At the end of the day though, it’s not about who’s the brightest or the most spiritually brilliant; it’s about knowing who God is to you for yourself, developing a personal relationship with Him and being ready to hear what He has to say the next day…even if it is the same verse, it’s never the same thing.
It’s weird…a fusion of complex, yet simple little things. It can get to be tedious and wearisome…
But, I’m loving every minute of it.
Oh, and by the way, I still have my smile.