Laurie had been dealt a tough hand in life...
She was a nursing student in the college I attended, and she had a goal to make it through one of the toughest programs at our school with little or no support from her parents.
To me, Laurie was one of the funniest, most creative and self confident girls that I had met. As an underclassman, I found myself looking up to her, copying her and in some sense, wanting to be like her.
I don’t know if it was her struggle to make the grade or her lack of parental support, but Laurie had a downside that I only got a glimpse of from time to time. You see, she would sometimes believe a different story about herself. It was one that was wrapped in self doubt and futility.
Laurie and I both had to take a required math class one semester, and I was excited for the chance to sit by her. One day, she got my attention by tapping her pencil on a piece of paper where she had been doodling. She had taken the letters in her name: L-A-U-R-I-E and showed me that when she rearranged them and added the letter “F,” they spelled F-A-I-L-U-R-E.
I was young then, a freshman in college, and I had no quick comeback for her, no deep word of encouragement. Besides, the math teacher was talking, and I couldn’t really speak. I guess I was surprised that someone as confident as Laurie could really believe that. It made me sad because that’s not what I saw. Was Laurie a loser?
Do you sometimes have failure moments like Laurie? I know I do. We all have goals in our life that are important to us and that drive us. Maybe we’d like to be great parents or grandparents, the best teacher in the school, or maybe even a great writer. Sometimes when we’re criticized or shot down in our “sensitive” areas, we can feel like we’re no good. Like we’ll never achieve our goals.
My son was on a losing baseball team this year. No matter how much they practiced, or how well they were coached, it seemed as if the team couldn’t win a game. I ended up telling my discouraged son that a “winning” attitude was what was important to me, no matter what the scoreboard read. It looked like it was going to be a bleak season for him. Was my son a loser?
We all get discouraged like my friend Laurie or my son. People’s criticism or difficult circumstances sometimes just seem to line up perfectly to draw us down and defeat us. But you know, lately I’ve come to lean on something even bigger than what my critics or my circumstances seem to say about me: the Word of God.
You see, if you believe what God’s Word says, truly believe it, there’s no way you’ll come to the conclusion that you are a loser. Not when you’ve got scripture verses that say you are: God’s child; Christ’s friend; a saint; complete in Christ; and established, anointed and sealed by God (John 1:12, John 15:15, Ephesians 1:1, Colossians 2:10, 2 Corinthians 1:21, 22).
I think you get the picture. God didn’t send his only begotten son to die for a bunch of losers. Not when he sees us as his “chosen people” (1 Peter 2:9).
Neil Anderson author of one of my favorite books, “The Bondage Breaker” says that the crux of the matter is our belief, “Your attitudes, actions, responses, and reactions to life’s circumstances are greatly affected by what you believe about yourself. If you see yourself as the helpless victim of Satan and his schemes, you will probably live like a victim and be in bondage to his lies. But if you see yourself as a dearly loved and accepted child of God, you will have a better chance of living like one.”
It took all Laurie had, but she did finally gain her nursing degree. She accomplished her goal, but I’m sure that believing that she was a failure didn’t help any. And my son’s baseball team ended up doing an incredible turnaround in its final games. Seeded six out of six teams, they edged their way up through the playoff games upsetting the top teams and winning the league’s championship game. My son ended up being a winner – but you know, in Christ he was a winner all along wasn’t he?
1 John 3:1a
New Living Translation
See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!
1 Peter 2:9
But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God's instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.
New International Version
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
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