Denied, Deferred or Accepted

My oldest son is a senior in high school so this has been an interesting year for us.  He is in the middle of the process of trying to determine where he will continue his education.  Last spring we did the typical college visit circuit, visiting several different universities.  He took the ACT exam, sent off applications and waited to see if he would “make the cut.”  Accepted, denied, and the land of limbo…deferred.  Being deferred means one of two things…they want a little more information, such as an upgraded transcript once your first semester of senior year is completed.  Or, you are deferred because they are waiting to see how many students in the school’s “first choice” group accept or decline.  For every student that declines, you move one step up on the ladder. Once he had his acceptance, he began the next part of the journey…scholarship applications.  More essays, more updated transcripts, more waiting.

Today I traveled to central Illinois with my son.  He made it to the semi-finalist round for this university’s scholarship.  He and 99 other students!  Parents and students gathered for informational meetings, tours and, for the students only, interviews!  Twenty minutes to convince the interview panel that YOU should be the recipient of one of the scholarships.  And once again, the waiting begins.

I can only imagine the thoughts that roll around the minds of these kids throughout this entire process.  Are my grades good enough?  Was I involved in enough activities?  Will my ACT score be sufficient to get in to the school I want to attend?   Did I work hard enough?  Did I do enough?  Around and around these thoughts go…most likely all boiling down to one question…am I good enough?

As we sat in that ballroom today listening to speakers talk about the scholarship requirements, I was overwhelmed with peace.  Sure, I’m really hoping that Chris is awarded this scholarship.  It will be a big financial help to him as he heads off to school.  It would also be  affirming to him and a great reward for his hard work in high school.  All that would be wonderful.  But regardless of whether or not he gets this scholarship, I am struck by the peace I feel.  In the midst of that crowded room, I was struck by the truth that I don’t have to “make the cut” with God.  I don’t have to do enough or be enough or reach a certain standard to be accepted.  I’m accepted not because of who I am or what I do.  I’m accepted because of who He is and what He has already done.   For reasons beyond my understanding, God loves me so much that He wants to be in a personal relationship with me.  He wants me to be a part of His family.  I don’t have to take a test or make the grade or satisfy a list of requirements.  There is only one requirement of what I have to be…a sinner.  And I’ve got that one made.  (Don’t chuckle…you do too!) And the only thing I have to do is come to Him.  Just as I am, right where I am.  And I’ve done that.  Seventeen years ago, I gave up trying to make the cut.  I surrendered my checklist of what it takes to be “good enough for God.”  I simply came to Him.  I asked Him to forgive me, and He did.  I asked Him to be the Lord of my life, and He said “I will.”   And I asked Him to love me, and He said, “Child, I already do.  I always have and I always will.”  That’s where the peace comes from.   And that’s the peace I’m resting in today.

Are you resting in that peace?  Or do you find yourself, like I sometimes do, jumping on the hamster wheel of performance, still working to be good enough?  My friend, you don’t have to worry about making the cut.  You won’t be denied.  You won’t be deferred.  If you come to Him, you will be ACCEPTED!  That’s a peace worth resting in!

by Julie