It was graduation day. After it was over, I went to my room and opened the door. An envelope was lying on the floor, and I picked it up. It had my name handwritten on it. It was my writing.
Then it dawned on me – it was a letter that I had written to myself during my first week at Cliff College (a Bible college).
I remember that first week in Sept 1997. I felt very intimidated because I could barely string together a sentence. Everybody seemed to be educated but me. During that week, we were shown around the college. One of the tutors took us into a room that was full of computers. He asked, ‘Anybody here not familiar with IT?’ I thought ‘it’? What’s that? Nobody said a thing, and then this older guy called Victor raised his hand. ‘I’m not’. And then I also replied in a low voice, ‘Neither am I’.
In addition, during the first week we were all assigned to a ‘house group’. Every student in the college would attend a small group meeting, one night a week. At our first house group, the house group leader, Andi Smith, gave each of us a piece of A5 paper and asked us to write a letter to ourselves about our hopes and fears for the year ahead. I didn’t know where to start. I sat on the floor and wrote down some of them. When we had all finished, he gave each of us an envelope and told us to write our names on it and then place the A5 piece of paper inside. We then handed the papers back to him.
The next time I saw the letter was on graduation day. There it was lying on my floor. I sat on my bed and opened it. This is what it said:
I’m writing this letter to tell you what my hopes and fears are for the next year. My hope is that I can learn better English, both written and spoken. I hope that I do well and get accepted into the 2nd year course. I hope that I can learn more about God. My fears are that I will not have enough knowledge. My fear is academic work.
This is only a small piece of paper!
(This is an amended version of the letter)
After reading it, I sat on my bed, feeling overwhelmed. I remembered how I had struggled in school when asked to perform the easiest task. And now here I was. I had just graduated from my first year of Bible college. I was one of the highest marked students. I had learned about IT. I had completed my English GCSE. I was awarded a prize for the best New Testament student, and to top it off, the college had moved me from the 1- year foundation course to the 3-year degree course.
When I look back at this episode in my life, there is a lesson to be learnt: you can lift the lid on your limitations!
What limitations are you placing on yourself? What limitations have others placed on you? Do you feel like your achievements are limited because of your past? The obstacles in your past don’t have to hold you back; they can actually become the stepping stones that pave the way to your future.
Jesus said that, ‘With God all things are possible’. You see, with God in the driving seat of your life: you can lift the lid on your limitations!