Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God... (2 Corinthians 3:5)
Just turn on the news, or even worse, a reality television show, and you can witness arrogance run amuck. This misguided arrogance is especially prevalent in our American society because we’ve traditionally honored “The self-made man!” Sorry for the exclusive language, but that was the exact language I learned growing up, trying to become a man.
I cannot claim anything in this life of mine. Oh, I may take pride in my degrees, because I think of all the late nights and sacrifices made in my studies. But I cannot take credit for the brain God gave me. I had a number of birth defects, that I didn’t know about until I was twenty-one years old. I found out the reason my mother said I cried non-stop until I was two years old. I had spina bifida, which is an incomplete closing of the infant’s spinal area. Mine grew just enough that I did not live with severe health issues that would permanently affect brain activity. From the moment of my birth, anything I would ever accomplish would be a gift from God.
Not a single person in this world can take credit for one’s mental capacity, or their opportunities. You may be brilliant, but if you were born in the slums of Calcutta, you would probably never be given the opportunity to thrive. You get my point - there is no such thing as a “self-made man.” We are all given certain opportunities and challenges in this life. I have yet to meet a person who was blessed with every opportunity, without any area of struggle or shortcoming. The blessings we have come from God. I would argue that even many of the shortcomings are from God as well. If we were perfect, we would not learn necessary lessons, such as humility, trust, and ultimately, faith.
Today, remember your own story. Think about your God-given blessings. Then, think about your challenges. How has God guided and molded your unique and special life? How were your joys and sorrows affected by your trust in God? Were there ways your decisions could have improved, if you trusted God just a little bit more? Answering these questions is not meant to drag you down. They are meant to remind you that our competence comes from God. Further, I would argue that even our happiness comes from God. It takes reflection to stay close to God, which is where our true competence is found.