You ever want to go back to somebody you knew in high school and blow him a great big raspberry?
Or is that just me?
It’s the person you think of when you hear the song, “If They Could See Me Now.” Or maybe it’s your whole graduating class. Ah, if they could see me now . . .
Well, it wouldn’t be that impressive. I’m not famous or rich. Still, if he could see me now . . .
See, I always wanted to be a writer. Even back when I was a little kid, but I didn’t have the courage to tell anybody. Sure, I’d tell people I wanted to be the President. I distinctly remember a period of my young childhood when I wanted to be a princess, and I’d walk around with a book on my head all day so I could learn to walk like a princess walks. You know, so I’d be ready. I wasn’t shy about telling anybody that. Deep down, I was fairly certain I was never going to be a princess. My father wasn’t a king, after all. And I sincerely doubted I’d ever be president, since I never even had the nerve to run for student council.
Being a writer? That seemed both plausible and just out of reach. And all those years I dreamed of it, I never told a soul.
I remember when I changed my major to journalism in college. I told my mom, “I kind of like to write, I guess.” Truth was, I loved to write. I wanted to write. I just feared I wasn’t good enough.
And that’s where my high school nemesis comes in. Only he didn’t look like a nemesis. He looked like an English teacher. A six-foot-four, balding, blond haired Irish guy who hated his job almost as much as he hated his students. A miserable man who, every year, swore it was his last year teaching. It was he, that grouchy old (relatively—he was probably in his forties) man I was desperate to please.
My Junior year, I poured and labored and agonized over my term paper for weeks. I wanted it to be perfect. I wanted it to blow him away. I guess deep down, I figured if I could please him, then maybe I could become a real writer someday.
He gave me a B+.
I’m still mad.
So here I am, enough years after high school not to number them, and I still think about that teacher. He never encouraged me, never gave me any reason to believe I had any talent or ability. And yet, somehow, despite him and his lousy little B+, guess what I am? Yup, I’m a writer. A published author, as a matter of fact. And an editor, hopefully encouraging other writers on this journey.
Somewhere along the way, I learned a very important lesson. In Galatians 1:10, Paul tells us who he’s looking to for approval: “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (ESV)
When I quit living to please the teachers, professors, employers, and friends, and starting living to please Christ, He gave me the courage to do things I’d never have dared before.
I think, if that grouchy English teacher could see me now, he still wouldn’t be impressed.
But as long as God is pleased, that’s all I need.