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Posts Tagged ‘gold medals’

Jo 23There I was, working in my study and only vaguely conscious of the sound of the TV in our lounge, when one particular sentence jolted me alert. It was as if the words I heard were louder than all the others, demanding my attention.

‘She doesn’t have to worry—she’s got nothing left to prove.’

I soon realised the sports commentator was talking about a particular sportswoman at the Commonwealth Games who has won every medal and accolade there is in her chosen field. At this stage, she can simply enjoy the satisfaction of winning and not have to worry anymore about whether she can make it and be the best in the world. It’s what we often say when people have succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations and achieved great feats in their lives.

Why did this statement impact me the way it did? Because I had just read the following sentence in my latest book I am in the process of editing:

I was my own worst enemy in many ways, so prone to taking things too personally, so wanting to prove myself, so easily forgetting who I was in God and so often allowing others’ opinions of me to pull me down.

Yes, in former years, I was very much into proving myself. I wanted to come top of that class in primary school. I wanted to be among those prize winners at our high school speech night. I wanted to excel at uni. This was all good, but I did not realise then that trying to prove myself would not give me that deep sense of worth I craved inside.

I remember well a question someone asked me when I was about to head to theological college in my late forties.

‘So … what are you trying to prove?’

I was dumbfounded—I could not believe anyone would ask me such a rude question. Yes, I planned to put my heart and soul into all my assignments to get the maximum benefit from this wonderful opportunity to study once again—but not merely to prove myself. So I tried to muster up some grace and forbearance and told this person I was doing it first and foremost because I believed God had called me to, which was the truth.

No doubt at times I did fall back into my old ways of trying to prove myself at college. But, these days, I can honestly say that, just like that Commonwealth Games athlete the commentator was talking about, there is nothing left for me to prove either. Not that I have written that best seller or hit the highest peaks of achievement in ministry, by any means! But I know who I am in God. And I know deep inside I don’t have to earn God’s approval—because Jesus has made me totally acceptable, whatever I achieve or don’t achieve in this life. This has given me such a deep sense of security as I continue to write and speak and put myself and my books out there. I don’t have to prove myself—there’s nothing left to prove. All I can do is my best and leave the rest to God.

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. 1 Cor 15:10a

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