Written By Helen Maria Veronica, originally in Bahasa Indonesia
I never think that I can do anything well enough. My report book has always been full of red marks since my first elementary class. I joined a private tuition, but it did not improve my grades. Even my own teacher called me stupid. It really hurt my feelings. I became discouraged easily and felt that I can do nothing right. My parents decided that it was better that I study at home with my mother’s help. Perhaps it is because they did not see any significant improvements in my results after sending me for private tuition classes. In fact, I always think that God created me a stupid person.
Everytime I see my friends with good grades, I envy them. Why didn’t God create me to be as smart and as bright as them? Quietly, I observe them and try to be like them. When I heard that smart people like to eat food with high protein like fish and eggs, I also ate those food. When I saw my smart friend wipe the perspiration off his forehead in a certain way (he said it helps your brain work better), I imitated him too. The good thing about following them was I not only became more diligent, I became more willing to eat nutritious food. My grades slowly improved, but it is still far from consistent. Although I studied hard, I always think that I am a stupid person and I will remain like that. I feel there is no point in trying harder, because this is just the way God has created me—as a stupid person. What can I say?
One day, I heard someone share that reading the Bible everyday can make you smarter and wiser. Naturally, I was interested to give it a try. I disciplined myself to read the Bible regularly. Though it started due to my curiosity, God in His grace used those times to teach me personally. In Matthew 11:28 Jesus said: “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” I was struck that God cared about the pains I had been through. Even though many people called me stupid, God invited me to come to Him. I don’t have to bear all these burdens alone.
God also corrected my understanding on who a “stupid” person really is. Proverbs 1:7 said: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” God did not create me or other human beings as stupid creatures. He gives us the capacity to learn and to become more and more like Him. We become fools when we “despise wisdom and instruction” and are unwilling to learn and to be taught. But those of us who fear God know that we are limited, so we are willing to be led by God in learning new things. This Bible verse encourages me a lot everytime I face difficulties in my studies.
I also started to realize that all these years, I’ve been too preoccupied with complaining about disappointments to God and to people around me, that I cannot see God’s goodness and the growth opportunities He provides. As I read my Bible regularly, God helps me to see problems from His perspective. With a renewed mind, I can study without any baggage, knowing that God has a good plan for my life, and I will see the beauty of His work in His time. I am excited to study as I trust that God has given me the capacity to do it. He never created me a stupid creature. Believe it or not, my grades improved significantly, and one time I even reached first position in my school!
Somebody told me this saying: “Accept the things you cannot change, and change the things you cannot accept.” There are times we feel that we want to give up because of things we cannot change. For example, we cannot change how other people perceive and treat us. With regard to those things that we cannot change, we can lean on God’s promise that He is working all things for our good, that we may be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:28-29). And at times, there are good reasons not to give up because the things that discouraged us can and need to be changed. For example: our wrong thinking, our bad habits, our lack of knowledge. Let us thank God that although He accepts us the way we are, He will never leave us as we are. Instead, He continues to correct our thinking and encourages us in our journey through His Word.