In my younger years, I applied to several medical schools over a three-year timespan. Despite the abundant attempts, I was not accepted by any of the schools. Over the years, I have often wondered what I did to be rejected.
Unfortunately, deep in my soul, I carry a painful sense of inadequacy. Were my grades too low? Was there something missing in my application? Did I come across as too immature? What could I have done differently? Am I not acceptable? Am I unlovable?
Although I was not accepted, I did receive invitations to interview at two of the schools. During the interview process, I was nervous and excited. Finally, I had a chance to impress them with my wonderful personality and charming words.
Considering that I was unable to woo them as I had originally thought I could, I sometimes feel a sharp pang of shame regarding three events in particular. Here they are in chronological order:
1) One of the interviewers saw me without shoes later that day, and my sock had a new hole in it.
2) After lunch one day, I noticed that many of the interviewees with me did not pick up their trays or discard their trash. I decided to capitalize on the opportunity to stand out and in an embarrassing display of self-righteousness, I cleaned the lunch room while everyone else watched me questioningly.
3) One of the interviewers and I were walking back to the common area, and I said something to the effect, “What makes me a better candidate to be a doctor is my ability to explain things to patients. For example, I remember learning that one should not touch a toothbrush head with fingers. This could cause an infection in the gums. I would be very good explaining something like this to patients.”
Even listing these three things here now, I can hear the bullying voice inside me scoffing at me, “How could you be so stupid? No wonder they didn’t select you?! You are a useless mistake and do not deserve the prestige, respect, and income of physicians!”
I take in a deep sigh and release the shame. Today, I do not have to listen to the lying voice that tells me I am not worthy. I am as God created me, and He loves and accepts me. I may not be a physician, but that is okay. Actually, over time I have come to understand why God took me in a different direction, and I am grateful.
God has a plan for me, and I trust Him to carry out that plan through (not despite) my mistakes. I can surrender my shame and find serenity in His Embrace.