Day 8: But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do God’s work and speak out for God, to tell others of the night-and-day difference God made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. (1 Peter 2:9-10)
Yesterday, I mentioned I had an interview for a fellowship and that I would be notified by the end of the week whether I was selected. Well, I was notified YESTERDAY afternoon that I was chosen for the fellowship.
While it was nice (and I am grateful) to have been chosen by the selection committee for the fellowship, I am reminded that I have been chosen for an even bigger purpose! Today’s affirmation is a scripture from the Bible that is a reminder that all of us are chosen by God. We are chosen to do God’s work (to love, to seek justice, to advocate on behalf of the poor, to do good, and to be good stewards of what God has given us).
For me, I am especially drawn to the last part of the scripture that says we are to share with others the difference God has made for us: “from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.” Who I am and all that I have is because of God. I grew up in a single parent, working class home, went to neighborhood schools and somehow managed to make it out of “da hood.” I studied hard and was given the privilege to attend Chicago’s premier magnet school. Attending this school exposed me to cultural and educational opportunities I might not have been exposed to had I went elsewhere. After high school, I stepped out on faith and accepted admission to a school with a tuition that cost more than what my mother made in a year. I didn’t know how I was going to pay for it, but I knew I needed to be there. The summer before my matriculation, I received notification that I had received a 4 year full ride scholarship. In college, I studied abroad, joined organizations, became a student leader, acted, sang, and graduated with college honors. I was accepted into graduate school on a multi-year fellowship, have had the privilege to study and work under top scholars in my field, have presented my research, and been recognized for my promise in academia. My life story tells of one who has been chosen.
I struggle with being chosen. I know I have many gifts. I can sing. I can act. I can write. I can plan. I can administrate. I can lead. I speak well. I perform. The list goes on and on. Many of the aforementioned are truly gifts–things that came naturally to me and that over the years I have honed. Still, I struggle with being chosen. Most days, I would rather just live my life, unknown and invisible. But, deep down, I know that this is not what I was chosen for. That’s why I have to constantly affirm my decision to shine. In life, we are faced with obstacles and difficulties, but we can not forget that we have all been chosen for a special reason.
For the most part, I have enjoyed my time in graduate school. There have been many difficult points, and at these points I have done what many humanities graduate students have done–looked for a job outside of academia. LOL However, at each of these moments, I have been drawn back and reminded of my purpose and that I am chosen.
Recently, I went through a similar experience. Writing this dissertation is THE HARDEST EDUCATIONAL CHALLENGE I have experienced, and rightly so. I mean, when I finish, I will have a PhD, the highest level of education I can attain in this area. But, early this year, I just wanted to quit. My thoughts weren’t coming. My writing wasn’t flowing. I couldn’t quite pinpoint why my project was significant. And, I thought, who really cares? Can’t I make a difference in another way? I was so close to just throwing in the towel. But, then, I was reminded that I was chosen. I was reminded that my project matters. My success in academia matters. Finishing my PhD matters.
There is a great responsibility that comes with being chosen. 1 Peter 2:9 says being chosen requires that we work and speak out for God. Part of my work is finishing this dissertation. While the difficult part is far from being over, I do have confidence that God equips who God chooses. I affirm that I have been chosen by God and that the work God has for me to do is within my skill set and ability level.