I can’t remember what are my 5 strengths.
Now, if you are an Evangel student, graduate, or professor, I’d expect your reaction to be one of horror and perhaps even disgust.
For all of you non-Crusaders (yes, we were the Crusaders. Don’t get me started on that), let me explain.
When I arrived as a fresh-faced and innocent freshman to the hallowed halls of Evangel University, I was thrown into something called “Freshman Seminar.” Of my classes that first semester, Freshman Sem and “Essential Christianity” were by far the ones I loathed the most. This was mostly because I couldn’t understand what purpose they served – much like I’m sure my senior students this year view British Literature.
Essential Christianity was exactly what it sounds like – a class designed to teach you everything you need to know about the basics of Christianity – specifically what the Assemblies of God denomination teaches.
Having been first introduced to the Assemblies of God doctrine whilst still a fetus, I found the class to be a tad, well, boring.
Freshman Seminar for students of the humanities was a class made up – if I remember correctly – entirely of females, most of whom I believe were Art students. One of the things we were required to do was buy a brand new textbook (that I never actually read) and take a “test.” This test was a sort of personality test. It’s purpose was to discover your top five strengths so that you would be better equipped to survive the next four, five, or eight years of your life at EU.
Now, either the 5 Strengths test wasn’t stressed enough in that seminar, or I was too busy daydreaming, but I got the impression it was just something we had to do but it wasn’t of any importance. Honestly, I don’t remember much of that class except that I was often bored, that one of my classmates was a girl who lived down the hall from me and always had the coolest shoes, and that there was another classmate who I assumed was perhaps one the smartest people I would ever meet and who I could never seem to get rid of as we tended to have all the same classes for the next four years. Both of these girls are of the few people I still keep in regular contact with.
I took the test, diligently copied down my top 5 strengths, completely disagreed with them, shared them with the class as I was required, and promptly deleted the information from my mind.
And then during my sophomore year, I suddenly realized that apparently those 5 strengths were important. All the freshmen and transfers in the fall of 2005 spoke of little else than their top 5 strengths and how each had met the love of their life while waiting in line at the cafeteria.
During my senior year, I had to look up my 5 strengths again, and luckily Evangel had the information carefully stored away for me. However, because I was a senior, I again only bothered to remember the information for as long as it was necessary.
Now, why am I telling you all of this?
Well, since this is a bit of a confession, I’ll just go out and say it –
I had a bad day
following a bad month
and a very bad year.
I’ve been a true grownup with my B.A. in a real job in the real world for 3 years this May, and I’m exhausted.
Typing this here makes me feel so ungrateful and selfish. Perhaps I am, but I don’t mean to be. I’ve got a job, for which I’m thankful. I’ve got a home, for which I’m thankful. I’ve got friends, for whom I’m thankful. I’ve got a family, for whom I’m thankful.
And yet, I’m terribly frustrated.
University taught me a lot. I learned how to live with people who I was nothing like, how to sleep through noise, how to write, and how to be myself. I learned that I can understand math, that Meteorology requires studying, that some people will always be immature but I don’t have to be, and that God loves me.
The real world has taught me that life isn’t fair. It’s boring, it’s lonely, and it kicks you when you’re down.
Today, after a particularly hard and tedious day, I came home and vented to God.
(Don’t you wish that God would part the heavens and speak to us in an audible voice? Like in The Simpsons or Monty Python and the Holy Grail? It would make life easier.)
God let me rant and rave for a few minutes, and then an idea popped into my mind:
Do other people feel this way? Am I the only one? I can’t be, can I?
And if other people do feel the same way, how do they cope? How do they survive it? How do they live in spite of it?
And most importantly, how do they make it better?
The task then was to find out these answers, and perhaps this could be achieved through blogging. Yes, the perfect, passive-aggressive answer – blogging.
And a little EU-approved voice whispered in my mind,
Now, if only I could remember the other two strengths.
So ladies and gentlemen, are you happy?
For those of you who have it all together or are at least content with your life, how do you do it?
For those of you who feel as I do, I’m sorry. A cup of tea, Jars of Clay’s The Shelter, and a hug might help. Any thoughts on something more long-term, though?
I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope.