Anna drew this picture of Nan for her birthday this past Wednesday...
On Taking Tests
Have you ever known people that make you feel like you never meet their expectations? You know, people who always for some reason make you feel like when you’re around them you’re just failing their tests? It’s like, when you entered the room, you didn’t know it, but you needed a number 2 pencil because the exam was about to begin, but you might as well give up now, because nothing you do will be good enough… I have had tons of people like this in my life. When I was in high school I had long hair and was in a really loud (and pretty bad) rock band and I had teachers who just didn’t like me and it was because of the way I looked and the skater friends I had. It didn’t really matter how hard-working or insightful I was in their class, they had a test called the “I think good students should look a certain way” test, and I failed it every day.
Just the other day I was playing guitar and singing at a fund-raising banquet for some ministry here in town and when I arrived, the lady who booked me came up to me and said in a real sugary voice, “Hey there Lee! Oh! I see you forgot to shave this morning!” (In case you missed it, what just happened was this lady saying, “In order to pass my test, you needed to wear a tie and shave your face.”) Her disappointment with me was tangible. It was like an invisible but very substantial wall in between us. I had failed to please her… failed to meet her expectations… failed her test.
The problem is that everyone around us has expectations for us. And we care so desperately what other people think about us that we take their tests trying to pass to get their approval. Why would we do just about anything to get people to think we’re cool or good enough or that we have it all together? Why are we like this? –Because we want to be liked more than anything! We want to be cool more than anything! We want to be noticed, but we want more… we want to be cherished! We want to be wanted and if we are going to be wanted, we are going to have to please other people, right?
Paul said this in Galatians 1:10, “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Then over in 1 Corinthians 4:3 he says, “I care very little if I am judged by you or any human court; indeed I do not even judge myself.” Then, and lastly in 1 Thessalonians 2:4 Paul says, “We are not trying to please men, but God who tests our hearts.”
You see, the only test you have to worry about passing is the test God is giving. So what if other people throw tests on you… you don’t have to pass them. You are accepted and loved by the God of the universe! You are only being given one test that matters… and that is the test God is giving your heart. Do you remember what Jesus said when asked what works God requires? He said “The work God requires is this, to believe on the One He has sent.” –it’s just about believing in Jesus, and believing in Him includes believing what He says about you now… that you are loved, accepted and valuable to Him.
When that lady said to me, “Oh, I see you forgot to shave.” I said, “No, I didn’t.” Then she answered back, “Oh, so you’re growing your beard out?” And I said, “Nope. Just didn’t shave.” She looked at me with such disappointment and such confusion that the big fat ‘F’ she just gave me on her test didn’t seem to bother me… a while back it would have, but I’m learning to believe in Jesus more. I’m starting to believe what He says about me and passing God’s test is good enough for me.