This has been a monster week for me, and I must confess the disturbance has not fully given way to sabbatical just yet with final exam grades yet to be posted and some health issues being investigated today. There was little doubt that I would pass my class going into the final exam since, according to my obsessive calculations, I only need a 46% on that test to achieve a passing overall grade (76% gets me a B, and an A is not possible since it would require 111%). Grades are expected to post some time this week.
Just one week ago, I was on an ego roller coaster, receiving word that I had been accepted into the honor society for associate degree nursing students just before the news that I had failed a previous exam. A dear friend stunned me when she responded to my report with a commendation. Here is the exchange:
Me: I failed (the exam) but God owns the outcomes.
Friend: Yes he does. His ways are so interesting. I'm so happy that your outlook has changed. It was painful to see you flog yourself after a perceived fail. Thank-you for letting me see another miracle today. I love you brother.
I often hear it said that one can make a mistake without claiming they are a mistake. Apparently God is bringing about a transformation in me significant enough to align me with the grace in that statement. I have exercised application of that principle to "mistakes," but the word "failure" resists adherence to the same rule. I am slowly coming to recognize that I can fail a test, whether written or lived, without being a failure. Nursing school is certainly teaching me that, since I have failed several written exams over the course of this venture, and still God has managed the outcomes so that I was inducted Monday into the Alpha Delta Nu Honor Society. Miraculously, even the failure of a week ago was turned around after a faculty review of the exam.
Somehow, the obsessive perfectionist in me refuses to die, and yet I can say with ultimate certainty that there is no such thing as a satisfied perfectionist. Einstein's definition of insanity feels far too fitting: "doing the same thing over again and expecting different results." Furthermore, if I insist on condemning myself even while my Heavenly Father extends me grace, then the wrong one of us is in the Judge's chair. I was reminded this week that, no matter how often I dethrone and place myself at God's feet, the Good Father is never content to leave me there, but gently lifts me up onto His lap and celebrates my sonship which I did not earn, but which He bought at great price. The ultimate irony is that in relationship with Heavenly Papa, I am elevated higher and more securely than I could ever be sitting alone on a throne meant for the Master of the universe.