The assignment was to write a little something about who we are and why we are taking this online course and include a random fun fact about our self. Honestly, as soon as I am asked to say something fun, all witty answers exit stage right. I ended up walking the line of ho-hum by telling them that I grew up a Navy brat and I had to move thirteen times by the time I was eighteen. I shared that this probably helped me to break through my introverted tendencies though I require a lot of down time after spending time with others. Real friendly and fun, right? Well, probably not, but I did enjoy reading about the coaches and my fellow classmates a great deal, and the following woman’s answer had me thinking, probably a little too much.
“One random fun fact about me is that outside of being a teacher I always wanted to work in a hospital to help people. In fifth grade I fainted at the sight of a video about scoliosis. I also have a hard time with blood and body parts. Ha! I learned quickly that God was calling me in another direction! There is no way I could make it being a nurse or tech of any sort.”
I imagine she was disappointed that she probably couldn’t handle the work of a nurse or a tech in a hospital, but I don’t know that she was heartbroken. It sounded as if she wanted to be a teacher just as much. This early knowledge most likely helped her focus her goals on teaching right away. That is something I didn’t do.
When I was supposed to be focusing on my future, I was holding down three jobs, going to school, and drinking away my off-hours. I was completely unfocused and on the fast track to graduating with a masters in failure. Through it all I had constant reminders that people had high expectations for me, but I was ruining everything by labeling myself “ugly”, “unworthy”, “messed-up”, and “useless”. I think of myself as being like Onesimus in the Bible, however.
Go ahead and puzzle over my dizzying intellect. I’m just trying to be real with you. This is how my mind works: new acquaintance learns early that she cannot handle work in a hospital helping people…her other interest was teaching, and I assume it was easy for her to focus on a teaching profession…I wasn’t focused on anything positive, in fact I was trying to deaden my feelings of depression by drinking when I should have been deciding on a profession in college…read about Onesimus.
Do you remember who Onesimus is in the Bible? He’s the useless slave, thief, and runaway who met Paul, who was in prison at the time, and was converted to following and serving Christ alongside Paul. Did you know the name Onesimus actually means useful? I so appreciate the play on words Paul uses in his appeal to good friend and Christian brother, Philemon, who happened to be Onesimus’ owner and the person Onesimus stole from before running away.
I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me. Philemon:10-11
Onesimus was once a useless slave, thief, and runaway, but when the letter arrived with Onesimus to set things right between the slave and his owner, Onesimus was living up to his name, and Paul had this to say about the man.
I am sending him – who is my very heart – back to you. I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do will be spontaneous and not forced. Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good – no longer as a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord. Philemon:12-16
I was at the brink of complete self-destruction when I finally gave myself to God. That’s when He rewrote my beginning; I was born again. Just as Paul was ready to pay Philemon for any wrong or debt Onesimus may have had outstanding with him, Jesus paid for all that I owed and conquered all the wrong I did, and I hope you believe and accept that He has done this for you also. There is no need to compare my old self to anyone else, I am new…period. I can only compare who I once was with who I am today. He changed my name. He calls me “beautiful”, “forgiven”, “redeemed”, even “useful”. What does our Father call you?
Dearest Father, Thank You that I can face each day with my head held high. I look to You as the definition for who I am. You are my king, You are my redeemer, You are the conqueror and keeper of my heart. I pray every woman who reads this will know the joy of becoming Yours. Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear: Forget your people and your father’s house. The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him for He is your lord. (Psalm 45:10-11) You are my LORD, and I love You. Amen.