Credit where Credit is Due

I need to interrupt my regularly scheduled blogging because a year ago today I was just learning how to use WordPress, and today I am putting the finishing (hopefully) touches on a fairly complicated plugin written in two languages (javascript and PHP) that only 9 months or so ago I would have found too difficult. It is time to give credit, because I never could have learned and done so much on my own. I want to acknowledge the role of prayer in my work process, and the continuing support of my spouse and life partner Josh.

How to Get Things Done

To do anything, all that is needed is the motivation to try and a means to achieve it. I thank God for providing me with both of those.

Comic created with Nina Paley‘s Comicomatic site.

Motivation

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”
Colossians 3:23

What do you tell yourself when you feel like giving up? When I think of my past, it always helped me to have a parent, teacher, or mentor in my life who I knew believed in me and who would share my joy in succeeding. On my own I would be tempted to take the easy way out and quit, but with someone else rooting for me I find strength within myself to keep going, even when things are difficult. I know it may seem strange, but my connection with God works the same way, but amplified: God is the ‘parent, teacher, or mentor’ of the world and of my whole life.
Everyone has times that they feel self-doubt, or wonder if what they are attempting is worthwhile. I am happiest when I remember that it’s not the endeavor itself that is important, but rather that I put forth superhuman effort and know within myself that I did the best that I could. That’s what I get from Colossians 3:23.

Means

Nothing that I have done or gained in life was through my own merit. I think that anyone honestly assessing their life will be able to say that same thing. My safe and happy upbringing was a gift; the teachers who encouraged me were a gift; and my own “success” in school was a gift. Those gifts gave me the ability to complete a year of Americorps, get a BA, and earn a teaching license. These too were gifts, possible because of abilities I was born with and the support of my family. Being at college gave me the chance to meet and fall in love with a person so perfect for me that their very existence inspires in me a deeper faith in the meaning behind life, and that was a gift. My own initial luck at finding work, combined with the support of our families, allowed my love a chance to study computer science and begin his own career, and that was a gift. Now his career allows him to support and mentor me in learning web design, and as I start my own second career it is a gift. In every case, the choices I am able to make are possible because of gifts that came before, and for each of those gifts I thank God.
Now, I know if I go too far with this logic, I seem to run into contradictions. If God created all the good things in life, even the good choices, then didn’t God create the bad things too? Why would God make things hard? Why would God create a fallen world? In moments of loss or frustration, I have asked these questions.
Even in bad times, I come to the conclusion that life must be taken as a whole: If you took your favorite book and cut out all the difficult or sad or dangerous parts, what would be left? Would the story still be meaningful? Would it be moving? Would it teach anything? Without shadow, light cannot be seen. God is the author of life, and while I’m not always happy with the story, I am still thankful to be in the story. And if my life story includes the means to overcome a challenge, then I thank God, (the author), for including that means.

Thanks

I have only been doing web development and design for a year, and I am rapidly approaching the point where I can make a website do almost anything. I have never taken a course in web design: Today, you can learn anything on the internet. (Except maybe open heart surgery?) If you don’t believe me, check out my web design resources section or start surfing wikipedia.
So today I think God for the internet, for Josh (my love), and for life.

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4 thoughts on “Credit where Credit is Due

  1. Dale Nonemaker

    Hi Flarnie Can you email me your blog to me?
    I am proud of you
    Love
    Uncle Dale

  2. Gary Nonemaker

    Nice writing, but I don’t get the cartoon… I am writing to comment on the second paragraph under “Mean”. I don’t believe God created the bad things. First some of the bad things, for example pollution and global warming, are probably the result of God giving us free will. I know you knew that! Also I believe a lot of the bad things are due to Satan, the Devil, Bezelbub or whatever you want to call it. I tried looking up Satan and the Devil in the Bible and was surprised to see quite a few separate listings for each. Jesus certainly interacted with it a lot. However, I do agree with you that no doubt God has not made our course entirely obstacle-free. I’m just not so sure that the crushingly horrible events in our life (have you had any yet?) are due to Him. We are at the end of Acts 4 and the beginning of Acts 5 where God strikes Ananius and Sapphrotite (I’m sure I got their names wrong) dead for lying to him (in a HUGE way). That shook up the early church as it was a pretty horrible event, but not without reason. Anyhoo, glad to see you are reading the NT. Love, LG

  3. paradasia Post author

    You make a good point! I pretty much forgot about the devil, and I agree that crushing life events are not just ‘tests’ from God. Yes; free will has certainly allowed us to make a mess! That part about Ananias and Saphrodite (I also don’t remember the spelling of their names) is pretty tough to put a positive spin on. All interesting things to think about. Thanks for your comment! : )

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