Last week I was reminded afresh why I have never considered myself a scholar. Midterms will do that to some people. I am one of those people. One of the average folk who occasionally decieve themselves into thinking that they are greater, smarter, swifter, more eloquent, more admired, more infallible, and/or more aspiring than they really are. It seems a bit contrary to popular notions of promoting self-esteem and a healthy self-image to says these things about oneself. Popular notions do not equate with accurate notions. In truth, I don't consider these commments entirely negative. The truth is that when I left that class room after taking my exam I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it had been a good five years since the last time I had bombed such a major exam with such unintentional tenacity. It is also true that hope is not only appropriate for the Christian, I believe it is necessary.
I was a jumble of sentiments after writting the four essays on epistomology. I possessed both hope and disgust all in one silly moment. For post-midterm stress relief, I went on a walk in the park with two of my classmates. Both women exceed me in every way academically. I was trying to sort through all of my present emotions with them--something, actually another thing, that I do very poorly, especially being an artist. I was ticked off, and unusually so, but I was also captivated by the hopeful thought that God uses average people to glorify himself. Am I looking for fame, fortune, accolades? Maybe so. I admit that my motives are never one hundred percent pure, being the fallen human that I am. (My Mom told me once that if you wait for pure motives you will never do anything at all.) I will hastily admit that I want God to use me for his glory, because the way God glorifys himself is always big, brilliant, and a mystery. His plan is true life and high through and through. If God used Moses, a coward when it came to public speaking, Esther, only a pretty face, to shift the political currents away from genocide, Sarah, a sterile and decrepit woman, to be the matriarch of the nation of Israel, and Paul, a misguided buffoon, to preach grace and peace to the world, then surely he can use you and me with all our weaknesses for great things.
Did you know that Michaelangelo turned down the pope's numerous offers to paint the Sistine Chapel, because he felt that he was a sculpter and not capable of such a large painting project, until the pope finally made him an offer he couldn't refuse (which looked more like a command)? His painting, The Last Judgement, in the Sistine Chapel is considered by many to be the greatest epic painting this world has ever known, unmatched by the hubris of many talented, but not as gifted, artists over the centuries.
In sum, I have just written myself a pep-talk for this next week of difficult studying. I must press forward knowing that God will use the things he gifted me with. God also gifted me with weaknesses. It is weakness which really makes a person great. I hope that we can apply these thoughts in some way to our own creative persuits. Be encouraged. Reread the title to this essay as often as you need to. I know I need to. And I will need to again...next week...when I get my exam handed back to me....along with my pride.