We are constantly searching for positive affirmation of who we are. Some spend hours in front of a mirror making sure they look good enough. Some constantly brag about what they own or how much money they make. Some are moving from one relationship or from one job to another. All hoping to be worth something.
Some of us worry about passing tests.
It is difficult to fully gage how much we rely on little affirmations of our self worth until it is severely jeopardized.
I wrote several months ago about studying for a test. I’ll be honest. The test was the single hardest exam I have ever taken in my life. It covered an immense amount of information (ten years of medical school, residency, and fellowship). It was given as an oral test. It involved discussing patients I had treated and surgeries I had performed.
When I walked out of that exam, I was miserable. I was with my family in downtown Chciago, but couldn’t enjoy it. We had planned to stay a few extra days afterwards, but we had to come home early. I had to get out of town. I was done with the windy city.
Passing boards is important. No doubt you probably want to go to a board certified physician. But my misery did not come from anything significant. It did not derive from having done a poor job. When I walked away from the test,I knew that there was nothing else I could have done better.
But I was still sick with anxiety.
My misery came from fear. Fear that I would fail. Fear that I did not belong. Fear of being worthless.
The truth is that I am the exact same person when I started studying as I was when I walked out of the exam room. I am the exact same person when I finished my residency as I was when I checked out of my hotel room early and drove back home.
And even though I found out yesterday that I passed, I am still the exact same person as I was when I felt completely stupid and miserable in the middle of the test.
And that person a sinner saved by grace.
I do not need any other affirmation. I do not need any other certification. I do not need any other positive feedback.
What am I worth? I am worth enough that God would become man and then die for me. That he would suffer so that I could be with him.
Being board certified is great. Actually its awesome. But that certification will only help me for 25-30 years. Someday, relatively soon, no one will care. It will just be another stupid piece of paper.
And the fact that I was worth enough to Jesus will be the only thing that matters.
Do you struggle with self worth? Have you ever been extremely anxious about an exam? Leave a comment here.
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