Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oh Lord, It's Hard to be Humble.....

Every Monday and Wednesday night I sit in a college classroom feeling like the oldest student that ever lived. It takes every ounce of my concentration to keep up with what the teachers are saying, especially in Accounting.

I have never been all that great with numbers. I honestly thought Accounting would be a breeze since I have actually had a tiny bit of experience in it.

But, see, my experience was real life. "Put this number here and that number there." I never learned the theory behind it. And, if I am being honest, I still don't really know the theory behind it. I only know that everything I THOUGHT I knew about Accounting is just the opposite of what Accounting really is.

I come in from work to my class and I sit there trying to will it all to make sense to me. What makes it even more challenging is that there are a lot of talkers in the room.

I have to try to sift through what he is saying over what everyone else wants to contribute. I'm telling you, my nerves are shot by the end of class. Before I realized it the other day I had said, "Please just shut up" out loud! Thankfully the other person was talking non stop and didn't even hear me.

I am a relatively intelligent person. I mean, I am not Genius level, but I am not stupid, either. I have an IQ of about 122 which is somewhat below my brother and sister, but still not too shabby. I guess they got all the brain power and I got, well, something in return. Not sure what.

And I can be ditzy at times. I recognize this trait in myself and I am OK with it. It makes life interesting.

I made a 77 on my first Accounting exam and I was quite disappointed. My son says that "all the old ladies make A's" so I was really pushing myself to do well.

There comes a time in your life when you realize the only *person* you need to impress is yourself, and that is what I have been trying to do.

I am doing very well in my other 2 classes so I have been trying to bring my grade up in Accounting.

We had a "take home" test that we turned in last week. I thought I did OK, but I was not positive. Needless to say I was very excited when I received my grade and it was a 91!!


Then......we reviewed the test......

One of the journalizing problems that he had given me complete credit for, when we reviewed it, I had completely wrong....

Completely wrong.....

I looked in the book and I saw where I messed up, but that didn't matter. The point was it was wrong and he counted me right.

My stomach started turning.

I want to bring you to an understanding before I go any further. I am flesh.

Yes, I have been baptized in Jesus' Name.

Yes, I have received the Holy Ghost.

Yes, I do my very best to live this with everything that I am, to be REAL.

But, I am going to tell you that I found myself in a struggle.

I mean, come on, it wasn't MY fault he graded it wrong! I should get to keep that 5 points since it was his mistake, right?

I wanted to. I had an A. I wanted to keep my A.

Then that voice inside me, that very same Holy Ghost that I just mentioned said, "What if THIS is a test? What if he knows that he gave you credit you didn't deserve and he is waiting to see what you are going to do about it?"

And my stomach turned.

I REALLY wanted to keep my A.

Class was finally over, and all of the big talkers had left us in silence.

I approached my teacher.

"Hey, you graded number 61 as correct, but I had it all wrong."

He said he got kind of sloppy grading at the end and was not really listening to me.

My stomach turned.

"No, really. Look at number 61. I know what I did wrong. I looked in the book and I see the mistake I made, but I got this one wrong and you graded it right."

He turned to number 61.

And he took 5 points off my test.

My stomach turned.

Then he said, "It takes a lot to be honest."

In this case, it took my A.

But, my stomach quit turning. Most of the time doing the right thing means you are not doing the easy thing.

I thanked him and left.

"But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble . . . Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."James 4:6, 10

It is hard to balance this blog for me because while I am trying to explain how hard it was for me to be humble it sounds like I am puffing myself up.

But, I'm not.

I REALLY wanted that A.


But instead of an A when I left the class that night I had earned something that means even more to me. I earned his respect.

And I also lifted some of the burden to excel off of my shoulders, because when I remember what is truly important, WHO is truly important I don't have to worry about elevating myself.

My God does the elevating.

So I got a B. That's still pretty good. And since I understand what we are covering now I have another chance to do well on the next exam.

I have something to prove, you see. I need to prove to myself that I can do it, and I need to prove to the Lord that I am worthy of the trust He has placed in me.

Since He "gives grace to the humble" I will always make it as long as I remember to keep an humble spirit, because my Bible says "His grace is sufficient!"

In other words, HE is all I need.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

When Compassion Moves You

I am a Nurse. I have been an RN for many years now. But, few who know me may understand WHY I wanted to become a Nurse.

So let me explain.

Back when I was a teenager we had a couple that rented the guest house from my parents. The wife in the couple was an RN. They would go on trips occasionally and ask me to collect their mail for them until they returned.

She subscribed to Nursing Magazine and I would look through it. The thing that made me decide to become a Nurse was found in those pages. It was an article on bed sores.

Yup, bed sores. Stinky, nasty, rotting bed sores.

I looked at those pictures and I just knew. I wanted to help them.

Over the years I have looked into countless faces. Some on happy occasions, some on sad, devastating occasions.

The key to the whole deal is, I looked at them.

Lying in every bed, in every hospital is a story. These are not just bodies sent to fill up our time until we can clock out and head to the house. These are people who have loved ones, who have histories, who may be lonely or scared.

Every day with every one of them, even the aggravating ones, I looked at them. I did my very best to look at them as if it were my loved one lying in the bed, hurting, lonely, scared....

Just as you will never be an effective Teacher if you are only doing it for summer's off, you will never be an effective Nurse if you are doing it for a paycheck alone.

You have to do it with heart.

That is also why Jesus healed so many, did so many miracles for the people, He looked at them.

Matthew 9:36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

Over and over we read that Jesus was "Moved With Compassion," and in each instance something happens to those He is in contact with.

Because, you see, when compassion truly moves you, you have to respond.

I have not been working in a clinical setting for almost 4 years. Working in Case Management is different in so many ways, but tonight I realized something....

I realized we needed a reminder.

A reminder about those charts that sit on our desks, about those that we visit in their homes, those that are difficult, those that are draining.

We need to remember that written in the pages of those charts is someones story.

And as Case Managers we have the chance to play a part in what could the the final chapter, in some cases.

Each person, each life, each family is an opportunity.

Do you want a ministry?

Look around you.

LOOK at those people that you deal with day in and day out. That is your field white for harvest.

The word compassion means, "to suffer together with."

When was the last time you looked at someone else long enough to see their pain? Or the last time you listened long enough to hear their loneliness?

When was the last time you TRULY cared for another soul without a thought as to how it might profit you?

Do you know what I would have given to have had someone taking care of my parents who could actually see them? Do you have any idea how much just a kind word or a gentle touch can mean to someone?

When was the last time you allowed compassion to move you?