I read something the other day that’s been running through my mind ever since: “The system you have in place today is set up to get exactly the results you are getting today.” Since then, I’ve tried to challenge myself to have different reactions than I would typically have.
I had struggled with and overcome the demons of self-doubt and fear of failure, launched out into the deep, put pen to paper, and written my first short inspirational piece.
I sat back and read it through several times. Pleased with my modest effort, I submitted the piece to a monthly magazine for possible publication.
Have you ever thought of taking up a new sport, learning to play a musical instrument or just stepping out of your comfort zone to do something new and different? Perhaps the desire was always there but there was always something that was stopping you from actually doing it? Well, let me tell you a short, true story.
It was the end of another long workday. In my first semester as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher, each day brought dozens of new challenges, which I failed to conquer. The concepts I tried to pass on to my students would somehow escape them, leaving me to groan over their exams. The principal of my school had been telling me that my students weren’t making enough visible progress in their English. Parents were complaining about my classroom management methods. I was a failure in every aspect of my work.
When I was a kid, I saw plenty of goldfish in the houses of my friends, and I remember wondering why so many people would want to keep such small, unexciting creatures as pets.
When I graduated from college, I had my heart set on becoming a professional full-time translator. For four years, I’d devoted every bit of spare time to studying my language pair and taking translation courses. I loved the challenge of transposing meaning from one language to another, and I had already been a volunteer translator for a few years.
One morning, I walked into my music teacher’s classroom to start my violin lesson and noticed two violins on the desk. My eye was immediately drawn to the first one, which looked new. A brand-new violin is something to behold, with gorgeous curves, a glossy, unscratched surface that shines in the light, and an engagingly twisting scroll fitted with squeaky tuning pegs.
One key element in our pursuit of Christlikeness is emulating the humility of Jesus. In the ancient world of the Greeks and Romans, humility was seen as a negative trait. It denoted a subservient attitude on the part of someone considered to be of a lower class. It was seen as a cowed attitude, one of self-belittlement or degradation. The honor-shame culture of that time exalted pride, and humility was seen as undesirable.