I graduated college a little over two months ago, and started my job just about a month ago.
I wasn’t expecting to miss so deeply the feeling of belonging to a place so much bigger than myself — this is who I am, I go to Vanderbilt, you probably know it, I count on its size and reputation to swallow me whole so I don’t have to stand upon my own merit — but I have, a lot, since I’ve left Vanderbilt.
The feeling of being “just” a college student provided me comfort I didn’t acknowledge until I didn’t have it any longer. I liked being just a college student because I wasn’t yet measured by any standard other than the ranking of my university and its perceived grandeur in the minds of others. I still introduce myself as “Kendall, I just graduated from Vandy this past May!” and feel parallel strains of the desire to be worthy by my lonesome and the comfort of the soft cushion of my education. I haven’t yet decided to embrace the role of Kendall, adult, employed.
In the past little while that I’ve refrained from writing here, I’ve been learning how much relational power I exert over my circumstances and the people around me, sometimes without knowing. One of the dark parts of my personality is that I can be pretty manipulative, and understand how to use my position in social situations for my benefit.
A couple of weeks ago, one of my roommates and I went to a spin class on a rainy Thursday morning and it was hard. The instructor was sweet and spirited and I wanted so much to be good enough at it to not hate her encouraging chant-yells throughout the class. At one point I looked her, a bright spotlight on her furiously pedaling body in the middle of the room, and thought, “She’s literally really good at moving her legs in a circle really fast. That’s not a transferrable skill.”
I finished the class, splashing water on my face in the bathroom with an air of superiority in my head – “I’ve decided what’s important and it’s not being good at spin classes.”
Returning my shoes:
“So I’m fine.”
Smiling at the instructor knowingly:
What the hell does that say about who I think I am?
“I’ve figured out what matters and it’s not this.”
Since that day the Lord has shown me that my bravado – my tendency toward know-it-all-ness, my knee-jerk reaction to put myself first in my list of important egos to tend to today – shows a deeper need for him than I have ever known and this is so, so beautiful.
In 1 Timothy, Paul says this:
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Immense patience. This is not only an immense sin and immense grace game we’re playing here with God, this is also a game of the most frustrating child you’ve ever babysat for, the most heartbreaking addiction you’ve ever watched ruin a friend’s life, the most hated sin that continues to worm its way back into sacred relationships.
How many times do I have to tell the Lord I know myself and have fairly evaluated my ego and self-importance before I’m dead and in the ground? Countless more times, if I know myself. I hope this first year post-grad finds me stumbling into my sinful nature a lot more, enough to start learning the insufficiency of myself and the sufficiency of my Savior.