“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31.
Growing up, people almost always referred to me as my mother’s daughter. Many times people associated me with her long before they saw me as an individual. This is relevant because she was a teacher. Being a teacher’s child came along with unspoken pressures to excel academically. Fortunately for me, I was one of the most devoted and studious students with or without the pressure.
Although academics came naturally for me, I still put in 110% percent towards my grades. I cannot even count the hundreds of times my peers called me a goody-two-shoes. Being a perfectionist drove me to near excellence.
My dad always jokes with me about the time I purposely tried to fail in school. In grade school, I intentionally did horrible on an assignment. Looking back now, I think I did it to get attention. My screwed up efforts to NOT work as hard as possible did not last long. In fact, my dad says I came home crying and threw a fit when I saw the bad grade on my homework. I practically hated myself for doing so poorly. I cannot help but to laugh at that story. At the same time, though, it shows how much I valued working hard towards goals even in grade school!
Countless years later, I consider myself that same hardworking little girl. I believe someone’s level of drive, motivation, and work ethic stays with them for life. Certainly, my years in grade school prepared me for my future in more ways than I can count.
With that said, though, there were many times I resented my work ethic. I got upset at myself for how much time and energy I gave to certain assignments or tasks. Sometimes, I thought God wired me incorrectly! For years, I tried to convince myself I was not acting how I should. I degraded my strengths and turned them into weaknesses. I thought, “Hey, if you stop working so hard maybe people will like you, and stop making fun of you for being who you are.”
As I got older, I realized my persistent drive is not a flaw. It is part of the foundation of who I am down to my innate core. I am who God created me to be. It is not right for me to resent His masterpiece that is my life.
Earlier this week, a college peer of mine understood that I put in the effort to succeed in class. She understood that I will complete assignments as they are asked of me, even if it is reading from the textbook. It is important to note this occurred recently. When this happened, I faced a fairly new challenge in my academia. I had to ask myself, “Why do I put in this hard work? Why do I complete assignments as I should?” If you asked me that question in high school, I would have said, “I do it simply because it is required of me. It makes me look and feel good about myself when I reach an accomplishment.” However, now my answer is, “Everything I say and do should glorify God.”
The moment I say, “I completed this assignment or task to glorify myself,” I need to stop and take a look at my relationship with Christ. Even though I am still the same diligent person I have always been, my motivation for what I do could not be more different. Instead of resenting myself when someone made fun of my work ethic this week, I chose to let it go. Whether I give 100% or 1,000%, if it is not for the glory of God, it is all in vain.