Posts Tagged ‘frustration’

Today I gave the message at Space for Grace, our weekly chapel service on campus. By know you all should know how dearly I love the sound of my voice, especially on microphone, so this was very fun for me! I thought of the topic for the day (fairness, or lack thereof) and, with help from the college chaplain, prepared the entire service for the day! It seemed to be a bit of a one woman show though, as I was the only one singing and I gave the message, but that just means more mic time for me!

I’m including a copy of my message here, for those of you who want to hear it but were nowhere near Monmouth today!

Growing up with a twin, I was always very conscious of what was fair and what was not fair. If my sister got two hugs, I got two hugs. If my sister got five more minutes before bedtime, I got five more minutes before bedtime. If my sister got $1 for allowance (which, at the age of five was A LOT of money!), then I got $1 for allowance. My dad was always very careful to be fair, and was that way until I entered middle school. However, I do remember one evening when my mom said to my dad, “You know, Rob, life isn’t fair. And you’re doing these girls a disservice by splitting everything exactly down the line.” I never forgot those words. That was the moment I realized that life is not fair, and no matter how hard I struggled against this reality, it was not going to change.

Fast-forward about three years. I am in the fourth grade, finally old enough to run for student council. So I run for secretary. An easy job…easy enough for a fourth grader. I diligently prepare my speech on how I have neat handwriting (even though I didn’t), and how I live close to the school so I would never be late for meetings. I didn’t win. When the next election comes around, I run again, but this time for a different position. I didn’t win again. Now, at this point, any reasonable child would stop trying. I did not. I kept running for positions on the student body up through seventh grade when I finally realized that I was not popular enough to be elected. Does this seem fair? To me, it did not. I kept running because I kept telling myself that I was the best candidate so, naturally, I would be elected. And every time I lost, I was crushed. But I’d come back with more resolve, determined to do better the next time.

Now, I could go on and on in this same vein, with elections for drum major of both my middle school and high school marching bands, and even positions I ran for and awards I applied for here at Monmouth College. But I don’t want to bore you with my failures. These were merely examples that show how life isn’t fair, because if life was fair, I would have won at least one out of the ten or so elections I competed in.

But most of the time, life isn’t fair. And sometimes when we think that life isn’t treating us fairly, it is a blessing in disguise. Take one more example: During my junior year at Monmouth, I applied to be a Head Resident. I was highly qualified by all accounts, having spent the previous two years as a Resident Assistant, completing the necessary programs, getting excellent recommendations, and serving the best I could. As you may suspect, I was not hired as a Head Resident, but instead simply rehired as a Resident Assistant. Again, I was crushed. However, I have realized this year that this unfairness has been a blessing. By not being hired as an HR, I have been able to live in Peterson Hall (the nicest, newest building on campus), meet my quadmates (who are wonderful) and spend time with a staff of great people with whom I never imagined myself spending time. Also, the fact that I have fewer responsibilities has probably kept me sane. It truly has been a blessing.

Today’s scripture comes from Matthew 20:20-28. It describes the mother of brother disciples James and John, coming to the feet of Jesus and asking if her two sons may sit on Jesus’ right and left in His kingdom. When the other disciples heard this, they were angry. It was not fair of this mother to come and ask Jesus such a thing! But Jesus called them all together and said:

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

I read this to mean that the rulers did not treat their subjects well. They were bossy, egotistical, and probably unfair on many occasions. “The rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them and their high officials exercise authority over them.” Fairness somehow includes a sense of mutuality – and a willingness to serve others. That is what Jesus was trying to get across to his disciples in this story. He tells them that they are not like the rulers.. Because to get ahead, to rule the group, one must serve, “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” The Son of Man came to Earth to serve man, to pay for man’s sins, and to teach us that life is not fair.

Life isn’t fair. There was absolutely nothing fair that Jesus went to the cross. If life were fair, we would be paying for our own sins. Thank God life isn’t fair, for God loves us and cares for us unfairly.

I hope you all have enjoyed my message as much as I enjoyed writing (and delivering) it! 🙂


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Life is scary. I know, I’ve been through this already. But life–real life–is scary.

I’ve been thinking for a while about my intended career path. I had it all planned out. I was going to get a Masters in Arts Administration, graduate in 2 years, and then get a job. Except recently, I’ve been thinking that maybe a MA in Arts Admin would pigeonhole me in the arts field. So after talking with a professor/boss, and my parents, I’ve decided to find a job. Preferably with a PR agency in the DC area. After a few years of work, I’ll go get my MBA with a concentration in Marketing or Marketing Communications.

Really scary. But that’s the new plan. So if anyone knows of any PR jobs in the DC area, let me know!

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Do you ever feel like what you’re doing doesn’t matter? Or that you don’t matter? Maybe you’re trying to raise money for a national philanthropy and only  manage to raise $200. This foundation gets donations of thousands of dollars at time! Does it even matter? Or maybe you really want to do something, but get passed over. Do you still matter?

I think yes.

I’ve had my fair share of “pass overs” and I can tell you, it hurts. It hurts a lot. All I want to do is cry, mope, and host a personal pity party, table for one. I heard this quote somewhere…

“People with high expectations for themselves are prone to heartbreak.”

And I’ve been heartbroken.

I was recently talking to a friend about one of these “pass overs,” and she helped me see it in a different light. I may have been passed over on more than one occasion for more than one opportunity (which I really wanted, at the time), but because I did not receive that position, I was able to do more elsewhere.

And while it seemed like what I was doing elsewhere did not matter at the time, that does not mean that people did not notice and appreciate. Perhaps the universe has a different plan for me. And I’m needed elsewhere for that moment, hour, day, week, semester, year. And it’s not that I wasn’t chosen because I wasn’t good enough, popular enough, or qualified enough. But because someone else was differently good, popular, or qualified. That person may do very well or very poorly. But it is pointless to spend time saying, “I would have been better at that.” Because I don’t know that! I would have done things differently, achieved maybe a different outcome, but I can’t say I would have done better. That’s a struggle for me.

The idea can be applied to the modest fundraiser. While the foundation is used to receiving donations averaging $2,000, it is easy to say that they will notice and appreciate a donation a tenth of the size.

Keep trying. Keep doing good. Keep putting yourself out there, but do not be disappointed if it does not go your way. It’s a big world out there, and there’s lots of opportunities for everyone. Be patient, wait your turn, keep your limbs inside of the car, and you’ll reach your destination sooner than you think.

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