To make this entry slightly more eye-catching, I almost named it “Extraordinarily spoiled by my Daddy,” because you know, God is referred to as The Father, but that’s beside the point and I am nearly sure you are thankful I did not title it that. My guess is God is too. If you’re confused about everything I just said, stay that way, ignorance is preferred in this situation. Okay, let me stop stalling.
I did a pathetic job announcing to my family that I was blessed to walk out of college with a solid job offer. I choose the word pathetic because I did not even say anything about it. It sort of slipped out in the car ride over to an engagement party and like you do with good news, you spread it contagiously. Do you hear that Christians when you hear good news, you spread it contagiously? Anyway, I found myself in this situation where this news about my new Mechanical Research Engineering position at the VA Hospital was being spread to family and friends and I found myself severely overwhelmed in this situation. Though this was and is good news, for some reason I wanted it to stay hidden. I wanted it to be kept on the down-low. We all know that person that received an incredible grade on that exam when everyone else failed. It was similar to that, I think. I’ve never been that person. Instead of bragging about their perfect score, they quickly shove it in their backpack and refuse to even bring up what they got as if there is some sort of shame attached to their score.
Now before I continue, let’s make a few things clear. In reality, know that I am far less humble than this story makes me sound. More often than not I can be better described as impatient, moody, and arrogant so know that I am filled with sins, imperfections, and disappointments. That’s the beauty in the gospel, isn’t it? The fact that Jesus forgives, loves, and saves despite our brokenness. Jesus is the good guy in this story as with every entry, not me. Secondly, anyone who has shared this amazing news about my new job, I thank you. I thank you for your excitement, encouragement, and eagerness to share. Do not feel any sort of guilt or regret from this opening passage. Your joy reminds me to thank God for this miracle and to give Him all the glory. Let’s continue.
As this secret was out I began to investigate why I felt guilty for having a firm offer. Well, let me backtrack, at first, I was frustrated and slightly upset that I had said anything at all. If I kept this quiet from everyone, nobody would know. Why did I say anything in the first place? I soon discovered that this frustration stemmed from the discomfort of being known for what I do rather than who I am. Let me be clear that was not actually what was happening, I do not think I am simply a walking achievement machine to my family and friends, but that is the spot my mind was going to every time I heard this news being shared. Over and over again I kept hearing my brain repeat, “You’re only known for what you do and what you achieve.” To this day I have not even started working and I was freaking out and thinking to myself, now that I have this job, what’s my next step? Or bluntly put, what is the next achievement I need to earn? That’s very “American,” isn’t it? Have you ever felt this, friend? The stress from keeping good grades, a good job, a good face, or any sort of good works?
We thrive on “the grind” and we’re success-hungry. We’re getting better at understanding that you cannot buy happiness. We’re getting better at understanding that we cannot place our identity on the things of this world, but my unbelieving friend, where is your hope? What is it in? In an ever-changing world, it’s impossible to please our society and ourselves. We’re fickle. There are things in this world that are okay today but may be canceled in days to years to come. In a society that promotes virtue-signaling, when is enough, enough? When have you done enough? My unbelieving friend, may I kindly introduce you to Jesus, the One who saves not because of your good works, but because of His unwavering love?
For while we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. 8 But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 How much more then, since we have now been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from wrath. 10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. 11 And not only that, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received this reconciliation. Romans 5:6-11
I say I am spoiled by Jesus because I am so used to knowing that my identity is in Him and not in my works that I find it highly uncomfortable when I am known for my works. Instinctively I want to yell, “Describe me by whose I am, not what I do!” And again, I know that to my family and my friends, I am loved and accepted because they choose to and I know it is not because of what I do, but at the same time, I still forget. We live in a society where we describe one another by the wrong labels. This is something that I need to work through. Hearing “I’m proud of you” can ironically feel so discouraging. My mind races. Would you be proud of me if I didn’t get the job? Why is it that I am only talked about when I am successful in your eyes? Why am I “Kira the mechanical engineering graduate” rather than “Kira the one whom Jesus loves”? I’m sure John from the gospel of John would have liked that second title.
As I’m writing this, I understand that I likely sound foolish, ungrateful, and like a child. I’m complaining about compliments and praises. I should just shut up and thank God for this job. I know. I am continuously reminded that all the glory for this job goes to God, not me. I am so excited to start working! If you know a recent college graduate who is struggling to find a job, cut them some slack. The job market is no joke. I applied to well beyond 300 positions and by the grace of God, the number of interviews I was given could be counted on one hand. Can we pray over these recent college graduates with their job search?
Jesus fully gets the glory for this job and I am so thankful that He provided. I do not mean to sound ungrateful in the slightest. I share these confusing thoughts with you because this is how I view the world as a Christian. It’s the whole “being in the world yet not of it” phrase that gets thrown around in church every two months or so. As you’ve noticed, there tend to be opposing views between what our society thinks is best versus what the Bible says is best. It easily messes with my head. Society says “You do you and you’re loved and accepted unless you get canceled” whereas the Bible says other things about my identity:
- Made in the image of God | Genesis 1:27
- A child of God | 1 John 3
- Chosen by God | 1 Peter 2:9
- Seated at the right hand of God | Colossians 3:1
- United with God | 1 Corinthians 6:17
- Completely forgiven by God | Romans 6
Something is refreshing in understanding that Jesus died for our sins out of His very love. The Christian walks and lives in a way that honors God because we are already fully loved, fully forgiven, and fully accepted into God’s Kingdom. This is woefully different than living in a society that says you’re accepted until you do something unforgivable. The Bible shares that we can never do enough good works to earn our salvation which is the whole point as to why we need a Savior. We are too imperfect to save ourselves. The world pushes virtue-signaling and self-improvement, but at what cost? Losing your mind and soul to save face?
Now, I’ve never said to trust this Jesus guy because it may make you feel better about your life or because it sounds like some sort of sick car deal. I trust Jesus because the evidence I found that supports the Bible is far more convincing compared to any other belief or “unbelief” system that exists. All that aside, go and do your research. There is peace in knowing that my salvation does not rest on anything besides my belief that Jesus is Lord who died for my sins and rose again.
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17
I am astronomically spoiled by Jesus because He chooses to love me. He extends me grace even though I deserve death for my sins. There is absolutely nothing I can do to convince God to love me more or less. I am fully forgiven because He forgives. I am washed clean and made pure by Jesus Christ alone. The times in which I am overwhelmed by the understanding of who I am in Christ and because of Christ, there is no other label that matters. It’s not ironic, but perfect, that I would look to any other definition or description attached to my name and find it insignificant compared to the way Jesus defines and describes me. I am a daughter of God and that is the only label that matters. Truly I share with you that there is nothing in this world and under the sun that compares to what is to come and what exists beyond the sun. Jesus blows everything out of the water. He loves you.
I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. 8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ 9 and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. 10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead! Philippians 3:7-11