After 17 years of a rather slothful approach to the effectiveness of the home office, Katrina (my wife) and I are on a bit of a mission to lift the bar – rather considerably. The first step involved the making of space, which meant the discarding of multiple things which are now unnecessary. To my surprise, I found over 20 years of tax files. ‘Why?’ I asked myself. That was an easy decision to make to discard. But then…
I re-discovered letters of high commendation from employers as a teenager; certificates from my high school for excelling at academic and personal achievement; certificates of high achievement from national maths and chemistry competitions; letters of personal thanks from community leaders, etc.
As I sat looking at the shredder which had just devoured over 10 years of tax records and then at the pile of personal affirmations, I must admit that I struggled. I didn’t want to let go of affirmations from times past. As I tentatively put the first ‘High Distinction’ certificate through the shredder my initial thought was rather selfish: ‘Who will ever know?’ Pondering that question, I held on to the certificate as it got sucked into the shredder to the end. And finally, I let go, both physically and spiritually as I recalled this text to mind (in part):
Brothers and sisters, I know that I have not yet reached that goal, but there is one thing I always do. Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead, I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above. (Philippians 3:13-14)
Please don’t misunderstand me as someone who is super-spiritual and is able to totally able to disconnect myself with past achievements – I still struggle with it. But as I grow in age and (hopefully) in maturity, I am coming to better appreciate Paul’s commentary about not putting one’s sense of self worth and identity in past achievements. Rather, I am coming to understand that Christ is continually calling us to look forward and seek what he wants us to become, in whatever form that may be.
However high or low your past achievements might be, may you be assured in the declaration that you are deeply loved and accepted by God, regardless of your past, and that day by day, we ‘strain toward what is ahead’, which is simply to live the life that Christ has called us to live.
Spiritual & Cultural Leader