I don’t speak about it often because it was so traumatic, but registering for classes as a freshman at A&M was a horrendous experience for me. I expected some happy, bright eyed woman to come and hold me by the shoulders and say, “Welcome, Beth. Let me tell you everything you need to know about A&M and give you free money.” Needless to say, that didn’t happen. The reality was I went to a dark office in the basement of the poorly funded language department where a tall, skinny academic handed me a course catalog 4 inches thick and said, “Pick what you want.” The weight of that book weighed heavily on my shoulders. I felt like if I made one wrong move, I would end up as a mustached cafeteria woman (which I almost did but that’s another story.) So many options, so little guidance. I finally got some advice out of him- which was to take Greek 101…as a freshman Spanish major. Makes sense, right?
The first day of that class was a nightmare. The professor was this large German man who had a stare that could kill you at ten paces and he expected perfection. It was a fairly small class, which meant that we would get individualized attention. Great. Because I had it 4 days a week, I studied HOURS everyday to get an A in that stinking class. I was ready when the prof would stop his incessant pacing, lean towards me, stare with his beady little eyes, and say, “What do you think, Misss Feemster?” After silently chanting to myself not to pass out, I would pull the answer out of the various agricultural Greek vocabulary I had stored in my head. (The only thing I remember from that class to this day is how to say farmer- ho autorgos.) Towards the end, I actually started to enjoy it because it made me feel like a genius. In hindsight, that class taught me how to study in college but I wept many tears over it.
Anyway, all that to say, that I asked for a Greek New Testament and dictionary for Christmas one year. Although I couldn’t look at a Greek passage and tell you what it said immediately, I am a mean dictionary looker-upper. The English translation of the Bible doesn’t always cut it for me and I like looking words up to see if there’s a deeper or parallel meaning that helps me get the true essence of what God is saying. I love finding “hidden mysteries” in the Bible and figuring them out.
Tonight I stumbled across Phillipians 4:8.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
I decided to look up the words: true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable…. to see if maybe there was some super secret hidden message. I found the verse in my New Testament, located the Greek translation of the word “truth”, and began frantically looking for it in my dictionary. The following thoughts ensued:
Bingo! There it is! Reveal unto me all the hidden meanings behind the simple English translation of the word “truth”.
ἀληθής- truth; the opposite of lies
What the? Nothing earth shattering or groundbreaking. You would think that I might have been disappointed…
that defining truth as the opposite of lies is very intriguing. The Greek dictionary strikes again!
You see, lately I’ve been wallowing in self pity. I’m very good at self-pity. All it takes is a little bad luck and lots of imagination. Life has been hard and tiring and I keep messing up. Nothing ever goes right and everyone is conspiring against me. I come home every day and fall on my knees to say, “Why me???” (Not literally, but I do it in my head sometimes.) Alex has been a good husband and listened to me but it’s time to stop. Self-pity gets exhuasting and depressing after a while and I’m ready to be joyful again.
I’ve been believing the lies “It’s all about me” and “Everything needs to go my way in order for me to be happy.” God, in his wisdom, has advised us to think on things that are full of truth (as opposed to lies like those). God has promised us joy and peace in any situation. All we have to do is ask for it.
The truth is that “It’s not about me at all” and “I know that I can be joyful in any situation because God loves me and has given me a way to have a relationship with Him.” I can and will climb out of my puddle of self-pity and stand firm with the faith that tomorrow is another day that God has given me. So, no worries, friends. I will snap out of it.
Whatever is true, think about such things.
What lies have you been believing lately?
The Truth will set you free.