Have you ever just wanted to do something different? That’s me all the time.
Seven years ago (wow..time flies), I spent my last semester of college studying abroad in London. My alma mater didn’t offer men’s fashion courses so I jumped at the opportunity to take one there.
I wanted to try something new.
I didn't know anything about menswear, and to be honest, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The course I signed up for was very challenging, and I struggled to keep up with the other students.
When it was time for my mid-term assessment, my professor gave me a big fat 'F' as my mid-term grade. OMG! I literally went to the bathroom and balled my eyes out.
I needed a passing grade in that course to graduate that semester. And all I could think about was how much of a disappointment I would be to my family (and to myself) if I didn’t graduate on time.
This couldn't be happening to me.
After a few minutes of panting and uncontrollable tears racing down my face, I regained consciousness and realized that I still had five weeks left in the program to turn things around. To pass the course, I was going to have to be someone I only pretended to be—a hard worker.
So, I started going to the sewing lab before class, after class, after my internship, and on the weekend. I was always the last to leave and would've slept there if they didn't kick me out every night.
And after working day and night on my final project, I, unfortunately, wasn't able to finish on time. I worked hard, but it wasn’t enough because I failed for so long to work on me.
The bad habits that got me through 3.5 years of college finally caught up to me, and I was going to have to pay the price. And I did ... but not with my graduation.
I wound up getting a ‘B’ in the course 🙌.
When I went to collect my project, my professor told me that he saw the effort I put into it. He graded me on my work ethic, not just on the completion of the project.
My experience in London taught me a valuable lesson ... we may not always be where we are capable of being, but part of the process of getting there is putting our best foot forward where we are.
"Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else." — Galatians 6:4
When we focus on others and what they're doing, we lose focus on what God is calling us to do. Comparing yourself to someone else can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety.
Don't believe the lies.
You are exactly where you need to be with the gifts that will take you where you need to go. Focus on your own work.
When I was in London, I knew I wasn't as skilled as the other students in my menswear class. And to make things worse, I was the only one graduating that year.
I was very discouraged at times, but by the grace of God, I kept pushing forward. He worked a miracle to get me to London, and I wasn't going to give up without a fight.
And neither should you.
What you're doing, who you are, or what you want to show others doesn't have to be perfect before you put yourself out there. God is the only perfect example, and no one can take away what's He's put inside of you.
The world defines who we are by what we do, but the Word defines who we are by our identity in Christ. You are NOT your results.
You may fail at times, but you are not a failure. You may make mistakes, but you are not a mistake. People may not always like you, but you are loved by God.
Be the best that you can be, do the best that you can do, and leave the end result to Him.
I'll leave you with this verse from 1 Corinthians 3:7, which says, "It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow."
My prayer today is that God will help you to stay focused on the work that He has for you. And that the Word will empower you to step into your God-given purpose without any fear, doubt, or worry.
Don't give up.
Have you ever experienced a time when your work ethic (who you are) outshined your results? What can you do today to stay focused on your own work? I'd love to hear from you. Reply on the discussions page, and I look forward to chatting with you.
You were born to do great things. If you don't believe me, check out Jeremiah 29:11 ;).