It’s been hard to find time to write since school started back. Even before then, for whatever reason, it was hard to find a topic or the motivation to sit down and write something, or whatever I did want to write I couldn’t articulate well. I have about 40 mins this morning before I have to head off to a dentist’s appointment, though, so I thought I’d take the time to write.
Speaking of the dentist’s office, the last time I was there, he gave me a referral to an oral surgeon to check and see if my wisdom teeth needed removing. That was six months ago, and I haven’t even called the place. Why? Well, on one hand, I am MORTIFIED of phone calls to people I don’t know. Positively mortified. I’m not sure why, but I think it has to do with the idea that if I’m asked something I’m not ready to answer, I’ll stall and be humiliated. Reason number two I didn’t call is because I’ve heard that one has to miss a day or two of classes and work if one gets his wisdom teeth removed, and at the time of my referral (and even now,) I can’t really afford that. I’m really apprehensive about telling my dentist that when I see him in just over an hour. Fortunately, he’s a gracious man, and it’s not his teeth on the line, so I don’t think he’s going to chew me out (no pun intended) about the whole thing, and hopefully my honesty won’t backfire on me and result in complete humiliation. I really didn’t know that I could afford a few days off work or school to get my teeth removed, were that a necessity. (the good news is that if I were to get the surgery done [again, only if it’s necessary] I could do it on a thursday afternoon and only miss friday at work, as I have no classes over the weekend.)
The reason I tell this story is because God is breaking me of an inferiority complex. I get ideas from time to time that I’m less of a man. Things the enemy whisper include:
you’ll never deserve a good wife. look at the way you take care of yourself.
you’ll never be as good of a man as that guy–he works out more than you do.
you’ll never be a good student. you don’t study enough.
you’ll never be a good pastor, you don’t read your bible enough.
you’ll never be good at your job. if you didn’t get it when you started, you never will.
Stuff like that. Things to make me want to give up and resign, and resort to being less of a man than someone else. My perpetual fear is that I will encounter a situation for which I’m not ready: I meed a great girl, we date, and I’m too intimidated to put forth a good impression to her dad. inferiority of character. (bizzarely enough:) some sort of athletic event, and I don’t measure enough because I didn’t work out enough. physical inferiority. Going to class and being asked to share something, and not having a good answer. Academic inferiority. Being at work and trying to make a good impression through a good drink. Industrial inferiority.
Now, don’t think I’m perpetually plagued–the enemy is just opportunistic and uses my worst days as chances to get me down, as if he’s sticking a finger in a fresh, open wound. But here’s the thing: in my theology, I don’t give a lot of thought to the devil. If I’m being totally honest, I sometimes give dangerously little, because while I don’t think it’s good to give the devil too much credit, it’s important to be mindful of his schemes and see what he’s trying to do. Why?
Because a lie of the enemy can always be refuted by a truth from God.
See, objectively, the gospel tells me upon arrival that I’m worthless, I’m trash, I can’t do anything right. that’s true. but that’s merely the premise under which the gospel comes, not the premise under which God operates. Think about an orphanage: (I’m going to sound really insensitive saying this) it’s full of kids who either lost their parents, or their parents decided they didn’t want them and gave them up. For the latter, the truth of the matter is that as long as they’re in the orphanage, they’re not wanted (from a standpoint of operational desire.) But when a parent adopts a child, he/she/they (hopefully) abolish the fact that that beautiful child is unwanted. What parent flies to another country and navigates the red tape for a child they themselves do not want? So it is with God: while we were sinners, we were useless, worthless, and unwanted. But God navigated the “red tape” (by way of a blood-stained-red cross) and adopts us as His sons, doing away with the idea that nobody wants us and that we’re useless. God’s a perfect Father who gives endless love, support, and discipline to His kids.
That said, I know I’m not inferior. In fact, I can take it as correction from the Lord when I think about my body, for example. I’m not in perfect shape, but I can respond to correction by working out–not because I’m a bad person if I don’t, but because it’s good for me. I can respond to feelings of inferiority at work by working on things I’m not good at, because I aim to be excellent at my job from a standpoint of already being loved as a son. I can ask God about what makes me fearful about presenting my character to someone else’s father, and if there’s an issue, He’ll help me through it.
Thank God for the gospel; thank God for grace.