I can't tell you how many times I've tried to be fulfilled by other things in my life. I've always been a believer, but I haven't always acted like it. All of this awareness came to me I think once high school started. I would go to youth group and church, but I never grasped how God was my only fulfillment.
Let's start with school. I've always been in advanced classes, on the honor roll, whatever you want to call it. Grades have always been a huge part of my life. In college, I've learned to accept B's. Nursing school is hard. But, when I got a C or a low B in high school, I would be very upset with myself and my performance. "I don't get B's." I did well for myself in high school. But, when I failed my first test in college, I can't describe to you the feeling I had about myself. My self worth manifested in how I felt about my grades! Granted, I'm not saying stop worrying about trying to do well in school, no, but when your self worth is affected by the grade you make in a class? That is when trouble comes along. I had to learn that the hard way. Being in nursing school, I still struggle with that at times. Those tests measure how much content you know and if you can apply it to the job. When I do worse than I had hoped for, I have to remind myself that once I have that RN degree, that one little test won't make or break my career. It shouldn't affect my self worth.
Let's move onto swimming. If you know me at all, you know I don't ever stop relating something to swimming. Those of you who played sports in high school, or still play sports, just think about your sport. My high school career was filled with swimming. I wanted to make sectionals for club, I wanted to be on varsity, I wanted to get times that I could use to swim at a D1 college. Let me tell you a thought that I remember telling myself. "I can't wait until I'm 20, I'm going to be a junior in college, I'm going to be at my prettiest, and I'm going to be in the best shape of my life because I'll be swimming at my college. It's going to be great." Wow. Now that I look back on that, I am appalled. It's actually somewhat embarrassing to admit that, but I don't think I've been alone in thinking that. Where was my fulfillment coming from at that point? Not God, that's for certain. Only when things were going well did I sometimes thank God for allowing me to be successful. The moments that didn't go so well? It was a reflection off of me. I was channeling my self worth into my accomplishments. I was only looking forward to what I was going to be in college. Again, I'm not saying don't try to be successful in sports. But when it is your source of self worth, that's when you have to be careful.
Let's try this one. Relationships. This applies to guys and girls. How many of you have reflected your self worth based off of a relationship? Too many. I'm also guilty of this. It's hard not to do, especially when you think very highly of one person and really care about how they perceive you. Ladies, self worth is not reflected in how many times a guy/your boyfriend tells you that you're pretty, or gorgeous, or hot. Guys, your self worth is not reflected in how many times a girl/your girlfriend tells you that she wants to be with you forever, or that you're the most handsome guy, or how many posts she puts on Facebook about you for the world to see. Those things aren't necessarily harmful, but when that is the only thing that reflects your self worth, you've got a problem. If it's a Christ-centered relationship, your significant other should be doing nothing but helping you grow and develop your faith. That person should be making you feel worthwhile, that's important, but that's not your main source of self worth.
It's funny how God works. He led me to be a part of nursing school where 100% on a test doesn't just happen. I'm not even swimming in college. That was a very difficult transition, and I miss swimming at times. But He took away the recognition that I wanted from swimming from my heart because it was gradually destroying me and leading me farther away from Him. That's amazing. I didn't even know what was happening. God has been gracious to me in relationships and I've not always been successful in not allowing it to consume me, but I know where my heart stands, I know I'm a daughter of Christ, and I'm not willing to cross boundaries. With His strength, I've been able to confront it.
"The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living."