You Are More

Have you ever felt like you failed at something, and it left you utterly crushed? I certainly have. And because of a false mindset it left me crushed for a very long time.

This week I’ve been reading Switch by the Heath brothers as a school assignment. In the seventh chapter I came across this passage that intrigued me.

Read the following four sentences, and write down whether you agree or disagree with each of them.

1. You are a certain kind of person, and there is not much that can be done to really change that.

2. No matter what kind of person you are, you can always change substantially.

3. You can do things differently, but the important parts of who you are can’t really be changed.

4. You can always change basic things about the kind of person you are.

If you agreed with items 1 and 3, you’re someone who has a “fixed mindset.” And if you agreed with items 2 and 4, you tend to have a “growth mindset.” (If you agreed with both 1 and 2, you’re confused.”) (Heath 163)

I knew that I agreed with item 3, and probably 1, though I was unwilling to admit it to myself. I kept reading, and all was well and good until I came across this line.

If you are someone with a fixed mindset, you tend to avoid challenges, because if you fail, you fear that others will see your failure as an indication of your true ability and see you as a loser. (Heath 163)

I felt like crying. This one line epitomized what I’ve been experiencing since my last tournament in high school speech and debate. That last tournament was an unparalleled disaster, going from winning records in debate at every tournament, only to win one out of six rounds Regionals. It was a devastating blow, and I took that failure onto myself as my identity, effectively crippling me for the next three years. It was my last chance to prove myself, and I’d failed. It didn’t help that my partner went on to get first place at the first tournament the following year with a new partner who’d only debated for one year previously. I was consumed with thoughts that I had been holding him back from success the last two years.

But this passage from Switch revealed to me the lie I’d been telling myself for so long. My failures don’t define me. In fact, used correctly they instead shape and grow me. What I need instead of a fixed mindset is a growth mindset. This allows me to see my brain and my abilities as muscles, with challenges as the means of strengthening those muscles. I will be able to accept criticism, because I know it will help me improve.

This reminded me of the passage in Romans.

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Reformation Study Bible, Romans 8.29)

God did not create me to be stagnant. He created me to grow more and more into His likeness.

This train of thought put the song “You Are More” by Tenth Avenue North into a new perspective for me as well. I am more than my mistakes and my failures. Why?

‘Cause this is not about what you’ve done
But what’s been done for you
This is not about where you’ve been
But where your brokenness brings you to

This is not about what you feel
But what He felt to forgive you
And what He felt to make you loved

In the end, it’s truly not about me and what I’ve done. It’s all about God.

Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant. (2 Cor. 3.5, 6a)

Thus, with a correct mindset that God will continually grow me into the person He created me to be for His glory, I no longer have to be crippled by my past failures. Instead, I can learn from them and take those lessons into my future adventures.

And only with this mindset can I reach the full potential for which God designed me.

Works Cited

Heath, Chip and Dan. Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. New York:

Broadway Books, 2010. Print.

Tenth Avenue North. You Are More. The Light Meets the Dark. Provident, 2010. MP3.

The Reformation Study Bible. English Standard Version. Ed. R.C. Sproul. Orlando. Ligonier

Ministries. 2005. Print.

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CSQ ’09

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted.  I’ve mainly been recovering from the Centennial State Qualifier a couple weeks ago.  (I’m still in shock that I’ve finished my Apologetics cards.  After writing 90 six minute speeches, you don’t really feel like you’ve reached the end.)  As you could see from my last post, I was true to my tendencies and was very late in memorizing my speeches.  (There is a guy who, after I told him, shook his head every time he looked at me.)  Needless to say, I was nearing on petrified when pattern B was rolling around.  All three of my prepared speeches were in this pattern, which included the two I didn’t know.  I began praying very hard, just that God would enable me to make it through the speeches.  I didn’t care or expect to make it anywhere, I just wanted to survive.  First, I went in to do my HI.  There was a crowd, and someone was video taping.  That didn’t help my nerves.  I made it through the speech, but with two major blank outs.  The last one was so long, I was nearing the point of telling the judges I couldn’t remember anymore.  Thankfully, I handled my poor performance well.  I knew I shouldn’t expect much for what little effort I’d put into it.  Dad, who had watched me with my HI, walked with me to my Persuasive room.  After the HI blank outs, I was even more nervous for my Persuasive, which I had written three days before.  Once more, I had a bit of an audience.  But, this time, I didn’t blank.  I stumbled over some lines, and skipped a quote, but I had made it through!  However, I was still elated that I didn’t have to give the speeches anymore that day and could practice more on the way home and then back the next morning.

Through all of this, my brother and my duo was doing very well, and I seemed to be doing fine with Apologetics.  Many people assured us that our Duo would break, so we were feeling very confident with this.  With Apologetics, I had always been written down for looking at my cards too much, so I was very relaxed about giving the speeches.  Because I didn’t expect anything at all from it either.  In the realm of debate, my brother and I were struggling.  I’m not sure what it was, but we just weren’t on top of it.  And it seemed from postings that we weren’t doing well.  But therein lies a funny story.  We were very confused with postings, because we were alternately going against poor teams and good teams.  My brother expressed his confusion to one of our friends.  He replied, “You shouldn’t read too much into postings.”  Then, my brother, being the joker that he is, returned, “But if I don’t read postings, I won’t know where to go!” 😉  But, back to the speech aspect.  God enabled me to make it through giving my speeches two more times.  I was so grateful.  On Saturday, the whole hour trip to the tourney, I was praising God for helping me, even though I didn’t deserve it.  I had continued to stumble in some spots, but I hadn’t blanked anymore.

Saturday morning was also nerve wracking.  I couldn’t decide if I wanted to break or not.  The thought of giving my speeches again turned my stomach.  Breaks announcements found me in a state of turmoil.  Debate breaks came first, and we didn’t break.  But we didn’t think that we had done well.  Apologetics breaks came next.  Since I wasn’t expecting anything, I was just listening for my friends names.  But then, my name was read!  I couldn’t believe it!  This was the event that I had reconciled myself to the fact that it wouldn’t go anywhere!  After this came Duo.  We didn’t break this time.  (I’ll admit I was slightly shocked.)  All that was left were my two dreaded speeches.  To my dread and amazement, I broke in both!  Everyone was patting me on the back and congratulating me.  I threw my head back a cried, “Nooooo!”  But it was done.  I had to give those speeches at least one more time at the tourney.

Praise God, all three went very well!  I wish that we had taped them, but oh well. 😉  I was so grateful to God through all of this.  I know I certainly didn’t deserve anything, but God helped me through the whole weekend, and enabled me to go farther than I ever expected.

My HI didn’t break to finals, but Apologetics and my Persuasive were moving on.  With Apologetics, I began to be afraid.  I was going against all of the really good people (course, I guess that happens with any finals room 😉 ).  Unfortunately, I picked a very long card.  So, between my nervousness and trying to get through the card quickly, I looked down at it to much.  Also, I ended up going a minute overtime!  It was so funny!  I’m just glad that I made it  that far. 😉  My Persuasive went better, though I did mess up a quote.  I got confused, thinking that I had missed a portion of a quote, so went back to it.  Then, I remembered that I had indeed done that part, so I laughed and said, “I was right the first time!” 😉  But other than that, it went well.  I should however, be able to do better at the tournament next week since I’ll have had more time to practice! 😉

Unfortunately, throughout all of this, there were a lot of people getting sick with the flu.  From a comment made during awards, it sounded like they were dropping like flies.  There were even some people who were so sick that they couldn’t compete in semis.  Thus, they had to forfeit their Regionals slot. 😦  It was really sad.  Thankfully, we didn’t get sick until a couple days after the tourney was over.

In the end, I got 8th in Apologetics (I’m sure due to going overtime and looking at my cards too much), 7th in HI (which I didn’t even break to finals in, but still ranked higher than I did in Apol!), and 6th in Persuasive.  Now, our focus is turned to the tournament coming up next week.  We have much to work on still. 😉  But, Centennial went well, and was very enjoyable.  I am so thankful for God sustaining me through it all!

Soli Deo Gloria!

~Tee-Kaye

The End

It’s over.  My Dad gave us the news this morning during family worship.  The girl we were planning to adopt has decided she doesn’t want to be adopted.  My siblings and myself were very shocked and deeply hurt.  I’d like to ask for your prayer for my family, that this hurt will heal.  Also for this young lady that God would convict her.  Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t want you to pray for her because she has dared to hurt us.  No indeed.  But because she is not truly rejecting us, but she is rejecting God.

This past Sunday, my parents sat down with her and explained to her the vision this family has and the direction we are going.  How, the boys are being trained to be the providers, priests, prophets and protectors of their families, and the girls are being trained to be helpmeet’s to their husbands.  It didn’t take her long after that to decide that she didn’t want to join in this vision.  She wants to instead continue in government “education” so as to go to college and pursue a career.

My parents fear that her faith is not very strong if there at all.  They fear that it might just be show.  For it seems she is like the seed thrown on rocky soil that the birds came and ate up.  Another fact is, she is in a rather bad situation in the government school.  She has been abused, and she has been put through things that make you weep to think of anything like that happening to anyone.  The fact is, she desperately needs to get out of this situation, and it seemed that God was using us to help her.  But now she has run back to the arms of the state.  Little does she know what a terrible mistake she is making.

So it seems this chapter has closed.  It is rather unlikely that she will ever seek us out again to adopt her.  We do hope though that God will take hold of her heart and convict her, and that someday, she may still be raised by a strong Christian family.

The thing is, this all seemed so perfect, like it was God’s will.  So many things happened by seemingly “coincidence.”  She would have been adopted a year ago by a former foster family of hers, that is a non-christian family, but they had moved into a smaller home less than a month before this young girl’s grandma became sick.  If this had happened, we never would have heard of her.  Furthermore, we “happened” to be visiting Reformation Church the one and only Sunday it was announced that her desire was to be adopted by a Christian homeschool family.  God placed it on all our hearts to adopt her, even those of us who adoption had never crossed their minds favorably before.  Her caseworker and guardian ad lidum were so thrilled that we were interested in her.

But then, my parents fingerprints were sent back twice, so it pushed back the time of her coming in.  So it seems that God must have another plan for us.  This must have been God’s push to get us certified to adopt so we can help someone else. (Boy, I sure hope I didn’t suffer through CPR class for no reason! ; ) )  We know that God has a plan and a purpose for everything, so we just need to trust Him.

~Tee-Kaye

Help! I’m overwhelmed!

Even though it is officially summer, the work doesn’t end with the school season.  I’m starting to get overwhelmed with everything I need to get done in the next few months.

The general events going on this summer that I’ll have to work around are; a week long dance camp starting next Monday, the 4-H County Fair in July, helping at the Father/Son Retreat and going to Family Camp both in August.  Those are just the things I can think of off the top of my head.

In between these activities I need to clean my room, start on my Apologetics cards, start researching our policy on China, find material for my speeches next year (an HI, a Duo, and possibly a Persuasive and a DI), finishing my five projects for 4-H (this includes doing all five record books, making a bunch of pies, baking lots of bread, sewing a dress, and making a skirt then decorating somehow so it will count for Decorate Your Duds.  I’m grateful Mom is letting me drop two others because of the lack of time), making a movie of Nationals, uploading speeches from Nationals onto YouTube, do more more sewing, I’ll probably have to finish my science, and practice violin and singing.

So maybe you can see a little how I’m feeling overwhelmed right now.  In fact, I’m so scared of this task ahead of me, I’ve taken the high road and am acting lazy instead. (I’m being sarcastic.  I am being lazy right now, but I know I need to stop.)

I guess I should stop posting about how much work I have to do and actually doing.  Excuse me, I need to go take a crash course on sewing a zipper on a dress.

~Tee-Kaye

Return of the Menace

Ladies and gentlemen, their back!  If they actually left in the first place.  On Monday I found another carpet beetle larvae scurrying around on a shirt that was on my floor.  The next day I found two extremely tiny (the size of the of head ballpoint pen) beetle looking things.  Without thinking, I squished them, so I wasn’t able to show them to my parents.

Then today, I found another one running around on my curtain.  I got it on a Kleenex and took it to show my dad.  He typed “Carpet Beetle” into Google and immediately knew that was what my visitor was.  So now I am once again infested with carpet beetles, if they were in fact gone in the first place.

So now I have to vaccum my room every few days to try to get rid of the larvae, and wash my curtains, and clean off my window seat and clean out my closet so my dad can spray.

This seems to be a horrible time for this to happen.   I have my ballet performances every night the rest of this week, and I leave for Alabama on Sunday so I need to do laundry and pack.  I don’t particularly have time for this right now.

But I know that God knows what he’s doing.  He obviously didn’t think there was enough on my plate right now.  He also knew that I needed another thing to remind me to come Him for comfort and sanity.  😉  As everything seems to be spinning out of control, I know the One who is in control, and He assures me that He will work everything out for the good.  I just need to trust.

~Tee-Kaye

Scared Silly

I recently came to a very scary conclusion.  A week from today, I’ll be Alabama competing at Nationals!  You have no idea how that scares me!  I feel so much that I don’t belong there, that it was a fluke that I’m going and that I’m taking the place of someone who vastly deserves to be there instead of me.

Whenever I’ve professed these fears in the past all my friends would just laugh at me and my (they believe) unfounded uncertainity in myself.  Though I don’t know how I can help my lack of faith in myself.  Even if I were to overcome it, I’m scared that I’ll become cocky as a result, thus I don’t try to overcome my fears.

But enough of that.  The whole Nationals thing is very daunting for me, and the seconds to arriving there are quickly and steadily counting down.  But I am thankful for all the people who are praying for me.  People from our homeschool group, the CHEC committee, and elsewhere are all lifting me up in prayer and wishing me to do my best.  I am sincerely thankful for all of you. 🙂

I know there is a weighty task ahead of me.  I’m going where no one in our club has gone before.  I’m going somewhere where I need to set a good example of the Christian faith, homeschoolers, and the state of Colorado.  Apart from my speech, I’ll be an ambassader as well.  I pray that I am equal to the task.

Okay, I probably should end this random complilation of my fears.  I would really appreciate it if you all could pray for me.

Love ya!

~Tee-Kaye

“Our Great Saviour”

Last night God answered one of the questions that’s been weighing me down for a few months now.  Unfortunately it was at 11:30 p.m. so I’m a bit tired now. 😉  I want to share what I learned with ya’ll.

Now I have to go back a bit so you can understand what I’m talking about.  Throughout my childhood I was everyone’s last resort friend.  They only talked to me if they had exhausted every other avenue of entertainment. (Yes, I think I’m still holding on to some bitterness over this, but that’s a topic for another time.)  So when a few years ago I actually had friends who enjoyed spending time with me, I was a little shocked. 🙂  God has really blessed me over the past few years with wonderful, godly friends, and I think I appreciate them more now since I wasn’t real well liked earlier on.

But then, over the past year and a half God has been methodically taking away my friends.  A year and a half ago a good friend and I grew apart, last June a very good friend moved all the way across the country, and in January my best friend moved out of state.  Needless to say, I’ve been getting sadder and sadder.  But when my best friend was moving, I felt like my heart would break.  I started asking, what’s the point of having good things, like friends and happiness, if you are only going to lose them?  Is the happiness you enjoy now really worth the eventual pain?  And what was the point of loving people?  You are only going to lose them eventually.  I’ve had these questions in the back of my mind for almost half a year now, but God has begun to answer them.

It started yesterday morning.  We sang “Our Great Savior” in church and the third verse really hit me.  “Jesus what a help in sorrow!  While the billows o’er me roll!  Even when my heart is breaking, he my comfort, helps my soul.”  But I didn’t really let it sink in much at that time.

My parents, brother and I have been listening to “The Giver” by Lois Lowry for a week or so now. (It was a book on tape.)  We finished it last night.  For those of you who have never read it, it is a story about a community that is completely run by rules made up by a committee.  The committee long ago, had decided that they wanted to get rid of every pain that was out there.  So they took away feelings, color, uniqueness, hills, they kept the population down, and set up all these rules that had to be followed.  Every thing was in complete order, but in the process of protecting the people from pain, they took away all their true joy.  They couldn’t enjoy the unique way God had created everyone, or the beautiful colors of God’s creation.  They also couldn’t make choices, as in what their career would be, or who they would marry.  The whole story was rather sad, but it didn’t hit me until last night that this is what a life without pain would be like.  I saw what a life without true joy would be like.

While this was mulling around in my head the third verse of “Our Great Saviour” popped into my head again.  God has promised that he will be there in the tough times to carry us through.  Sure there are sad times in life, but God has given us true joy, and promised us eternal joy in the future.  It is the unbelievers who are the ones truly without hope, for they have nothing to rely on but themselves.  But we, who are in Christ Jesus, have the hope that He has given to us.

I also realized how selfish my thoughts had been.  I didn’t want to feel pain and sadness, but didn’t really care about others around me, or about God.  My only thought was for myself, instead of glorifying God.  But God has convicted me on all these things, and has given me the desire to change.  So know I don’t feel as hopeless any more. 😉  My reliance shouldn’t be on my friends, but on God.  He is the only true foundation.

That’s basically it.  I hope I wrote it in a way that can be comprehended. 😉  I would like to close with the words of “Our Great Saviour.”

 

Jesus, what a friend for sinners!

Jesus!  Lover of my soul;

Friends may fail me, foes assail me,

He, my Saviour make me whole.

 

Jesus what a strength in weakness!

Let me hide myself in Him;

Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing,

He, my strength, my victory wins.

 

Jesus, what a help in sorrow!

While the billows o’er me roll,

Even when my heart is breaking,

He, my comfort, helps my soul.

 

Jesus!  I do now receive Him,

More than all in Him I find;

He hath granted me forgiveness,

I am His, and He is mine.

 

Hallelujah!  What a Saviour!

Hallelujah!  What a friend!

Saving, helping keeping, loving,

He is with me to the end.