Over the past week, I have received words of affirmation. These words are a beautiful building up for my life, and I appreciate them deeply. I screenshot them and tuck away the notes and write about them in my journal. I keep these words, because they are reminders of what others see in me and what I seek to become.
Yet please know that I am broken with an unkind heart and an unsound mind. Anything good in me is what Christ has redeemed in me.
I am not a result of my own hard work or personal success, but a product of Christ's saving grace, of the way my parents raised me, of the opportunities people have given me and of the friends God has surrounded me with.
So don't praise me.
Praise the Lord, who rescued me from a dominion of darkness and brought me into the kingdom of the Son who He loves, in whom I have redemption, the forgiveness of my sins. He is renewing my cold heart and redeeming my cruel mind; that is what I am apart from the Lord. I am a cruel, sinful and evil liar, unworthy of any praise. So know this of me, and then praise all the more God's powerful, mighty work in changing lives.
Praise my dad, who taught me to love the Lord and respect others. When you compliment a meal I made, know that he's the one who taught me how to cook. He showed me how to listen and have empathy for others. He passed onto me his value for education and academic excellence.
Praise my mom, who served as an example of a godly woman. She showed me how to be strong in the face of challenges and how to be an encouragement to others. If you wonder how I keep a tight schedule, know that she taught me how to be organized and funnel motivation and excitement into achievable goals.
Praise my sister, who taught me maturity and generosity. She showed me how to be humble in the face of opportunity and to not take for granted the blessings God has given me.
Praise Senora Perry, my first professor, for instilling in me the value of learning and the desire to respect my professors.
Praise the leaders and the pastors who showed me the result of a life spent in pursuit of knowing the heart of God.
Praise the employers and advisors who gave me opportunities to serve as an intern or a leader or an editor.
Praise the friends around me who encourage me to have a quiet spirit and kind speech.
Without my God, my family, my friends and my people, I am nothing. Don't praise me - praise my Savior and my village, for they are what made me.
Nothing good in me is a product of my strivings. It is all the Lord and how He is working in my life. And this work in my life is not solely for me. We can all know Him and offer unending praise to the Father who wants to work His renewing power in the lives of all of us.
So don't praise me.
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