My wife and I are like two sides of a magnet. We are polar opposites in many ways. I think if we were to sign up for a dating website, religion could be one of the only things we actually have in common. For whatever reason, we attract to each other and with the aid of her desire to communicate about most things, we are able to make it through a lot.
One of our major differences is how we process events, thoughts, and emotion… which is kind of a big deal. If we are looking at stereotypes, then I am the one who functions on analytics and logic, while she operates from an emotional side. One is not worse than the other and most of us function with both logic and emotion. I do many things based on logic, and I’d like to think I am pretty good at it.
But what happens when your logic goes wrong? What happens when someone throws in a monkey wrench and messes everything up?
When the Unexpected Inevitably Happens
When I was working on my first bachelor’s degree, I was preparing to get into dental school. I had been working my way through classes, gaining all the logical smarts I could. My grades were good enough, I felt I was smart enough to become a dentist, and I was practicing for the dental aptitude test to qualify. I was praying for everything to work out and could really see no reason why it shouldn’t. The goal and the process seemed logical.
Logic dictated that everything was laid out correctly. I was doing all I was supposed to, and I had the next 4 to 10 years planned out. My scores met the various dental schools’ criteria, but I did not get in. I didn’t get in the first year. I didn’t get in the second year. It’s hard to remember if I went through the application process two or three times, but the logical plan did not work.
What went wrong? Afterall, I had prayed about it.
Incorrect Source of Value
The cascade that followed wasn’t great either. I had spent years and years defining myself based on either what I knew how to do or on how smart I thought I should be. Either way, I defined myself based on one thing – logic. Not only did the logic fail, but it failed hard. I had spent the majority of my life to that point defining myself on solitary ideas that could fail. So many of us do this without realizing it. We set the value of what we think we are worth based upon our ability to play a sport or an instrument, or on how smart we are, what type of job we have, how much money we make, even how popular we are on social media accounts. When that source of value gets cut off, things can spiral out of control quickly.
It’s not us as a person that is wrong, it’s our perception of what makes us special. We decide what will define us – and yet, we almost always pick the wrong thing. If you are ever looking to something outside of you to get your value, you are defining yourself incorrectly. Your spirit is what makes you unique. Your characteristics, gifts, talents, abilities, weaknesses, education, experiences, divine potential – all of it, is what makes you the person you are. You want to be at a place where you get value from ALL of it, not just one piece of it.
When Do We Get It?
I had grown up singing, “I am a child of God.” I had dozens of primary and Sunday school lessons teaching me about who I was.
But at what point do we actually get it? At what point do we start to understand who we truly are? What our potential is? When do we catch a glimpse of the big picture – that all of these seemingly monumental problems in life are just us becoming who we are designed to be? It seems that for many of us, we don’t start to understand until after we experience trials and tribulations that truly test our understanding. It begins when we can’t rely on our parents, on the church, or on our own logic, but when we start to develop a testimony of individual principles and doctrines based on trial and error, success and failure. And even then, it comes line upon line and precept upon precept, as we allow ourselves to be taught.
His Ways Are Not Always Logical
In a developing world that focuses more and more on logic, facts, proof, and instant results, we should remember that many times, His ways are not always what we consider to be logical. The paths that He takes you down may not be logical. Failures may appear at every turn. Doubts may creep up even after you have done all that you can do, and often you may question why you are on the road you are on or what it is all about.
One thing in life is for certain: things will not always pan out the way you think they should. But as long as we hold on to Him – His ways, the value He sees in you, He will lead you to bigger and greater blessings than you could have hoped for yourself. Remember, in order to help you become someone who you have never been, he must bring you up and through things you have never done.