I Believe In You, Even If You Don’t

May 17, 2013

Next week, I’ll be away from the blog as I take a little cross-country drive – to visit my team at Moody Publishers in Chicago, talk on a couple of radio stations, go down to Louisville to meet some cool people, and get back home.  When I come back, I’ll tell you about it.

Yesterday was the last day of classes at my school.  I know, some of you are still trudging your way to the finish line.

Farewells were made.  Cards and treats were exchanged.  And while the last day comes as a relief, I also get a bit sentimental, because it is another indication that time is passing, and my students are growing up.

Getting sugary treats from students on special occasions is nice.  But I really treasure the words students give me.  Seriously, I’ve kept every card or drawing that students have given me.  But yesterday, I got the best card I have ever received.  The simple message inside, accompanied by a couple of hearts scrawled in pen made me laugh instantly, but also gripped my heart.

“Mr. Appling, I am glad you are my art teacher.  Thank you for helping me with my projects, even when I think it’s a disaster.”

Keep in mind this student is a notoriously stubborn perfectionist.  In other words, she thinks every project is a disaster.  There are many days that I am not sure she is glad I am her teacher.  We butt heads like two stiff-necked animals as I insist on believing in her when her belief in herself remains obstinately, defiantly low.

What gripped me (after I laughed) was how, in my own perfectionism, I rarely believe that I have done enough for anyone, including my students.  I don’t think I’m a great teacher, a great friend, a great husband.  I’m okay.  But I could do more.

But sometimes, all a person needs is someone to believe in them, to tell them that things aren’t as bad as they look, to assure them that it’s not a disaster, to stubbornly, obstinately believe in them, though they insist on not believing in themselves.

Who was the last person who insisted on believing in you when you thought everything was a disaster?

5 responses to I Believe In You, Even If You Don’t

  1. When it comes to art sometimes something I really am “meh” about turns out to be the crowd favorite.

    I’ve been blessed with a number of mentors and colleagues who told me that they enjoyed my work even when I can see that there are many who are clearly superior. As we strive for excellence, sometimes “really good” and even just plain “good” is what perfect.

  2. “What gripped me (after I laughed) was how, in my own perfectionism, I rarely believe that I have done enough for anyone, including my students.” Oh my goodness. This is me. My husband tells me I am terrible at receiving complements. I often add some statement about how I could have done better. I question myself a lot. Yet, when I see that trait in others, I push them and encourage them. I need to listen to these words.

  3. This sounds like a cop out, but really and truly, God is the One who’s done that for me the most and the most recently. Areas in my life where I’d come to the logical, rational conclusion that I just sucked, He’s pushed and pushed me to improve and explore and grow in ability and confidence.

    I still secretly worry that I suck and/or that I’m disappointing people, but since I know for certain that God’s in it and behind me, I don’t worry too much.
    Melissa Jones recently posted..MommyBee Designs

  4. Interesting you should ask that question. I just had a long conversation with my husband about this very topic. I was feeling very discouraged, that I’d failed at tying to start my own photography business, that I wasn’t contributing financially to our marriage (and right now we need all the financial contributions we can get). And he turned around and was totally encouraging. He suggested some positive changes, promised he’d help me with them, told me he thought I was doing fine, and assured me of his continued love and support. Wow, what a guy!
    Anyone want to buy some nature photos? 😎

  5. What a neat card to get!
    Perfectionism is one of my weak points too but this last year I’ve had two amazing people really pour God’s love into me. Week after week, month after month, Karen and Robb have been just as stubborn and obstinate about bringing up my strengths as I am about focusing on my weaknesses. Slowly but surely I’m starting to believe them and even to hope that if my friends can see me this way, God can too! I hope to be that stubborn person for someone else one of these days. Thanks for the encouragement and have great trip!
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