berkeleyreview asked: Question for ya, sensei. I just started medical school, and adjusting to this is a little tough. I fight my pride about it all the time, thinking that I’m awesome and super smart for being here. My quiet times have been kind of crappy since I got here. I spend a lot of time in textbooks, which doesn’t leave a whole lot of time to get to know and love other people here. For someone that loves Jesus, a lot of this stuff feels a little toxic. You’re awesome and super smart, so help me please.
Unka Glen answered: LOL, don’t puff me up just so you’ll have some company!
I’ll tell you a secret about growing up in a dysfunctional family, when people have a bad opinion of you based on some psychological problem in their head, you either end up being destroyed by that bad opinion, or you find that switch in your head labeled “I care what people think about me”, and you switch that bad boy right off.
That’s the route I took.
This mentality caused me to get into some bad boy behavior without much concern over it, but it also meant that I never craved the attention or approval of others. When I got to your age, I realized a lot of people were choosing a major (and a profession to follow) that was based on some form of vanity, none of which appealed to me.
Some dreamed of retiring early and living the good life, some thought being a philosophy major made them sound deep, others pictured themselves in a white lab coat and being called “doctor” instead of “mister”. But it was around that same time when I first heard that famous quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln: “A man never stands so tall as when he kneels to help a child.”
That went off like a tuning fork in my soul. Anybody can change themselves and accomplish something for themselves, that was just a matter of time and effort. But to change the life of another, that was something big that excited me. As long as it was just about me, I was bored, but the idea of serving others, that hit me in a way that just had to be the Holy Spirit.
It was as if God was setting off every firework in my head and pointing every blinking neon sign to this idea of serving others, that this is the whole point of the Christian life, and that nothing else would satisfy.
You are right to think that all this “yay me” thinking is toxic, as is putting your studies above your faith. But the truth is, it’s a way cool thing that you set a goal and achieved it (with God’s help, I have no doubt). And the truth is, being a doctor will give you plenty of chances to serve others.
The key is to reject that siren call of the ego, no real lasting pleasure is found there, only a happiness that’s always just out of reach. And there’s always this lie: if you just push a little harder, sacrifice a little more, ignore your priorities for just this once, and you really reach out, you might almost grab it.
But kneeling down to help those in need, that pays off from day one.
1 Corinthians 8:1-2 …We know that all of us possess knowledge. This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know.
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