by Robynn King
I grew up in South Africa in a very achievement oriented family. No, my parents weren’t the ones screaming and shouting on the sidelines at the netball match, helping the coach do her thing; but there was a silent ‘driven-ness’ that buzzed through our lives continually. In one sense this was motivated by the fact that it was the end of the “struggle” which gave way to the beginning of the climb. It was a time to move into white neighbourhoods with bigger homes and enrol your children into white schools. Now you could venture into the corporate world, or try your hand at that career you always wanted instead of sticking to one of the three Apartheid dictated you could get a bursary for. Yes, in case you haven’t picked it up yet…I’m of a darker complexion. With this came the angst of making sure your children understand how fortunate they were (are) to be a part of this new dispensation and remind them that it could easily slip through their fingers. So essentially, the “struggle” was not over. So, we pushed, hard. Being the most driven person in the school or university or workplace remained the ultimate achievement because it guaranteed success perpetually.
Proverbs 19:21 says, “many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Fast forward twenty years from the end of Apartheid and you’ll find that I was in the middle of a crash landing. After being a corporate prodigy, managing people double my age by 27 years old and then boldly leaping into entrepreneurship (fully convinced that I’d be on the cover of Destiny Magazine by the end of that year), there I was babysitting other people’s children.
It became my most precious possession, especially when I’d lost nearly all my earthly belongings.
What followed was a year and a half of not being able to lean on my impeccable credentials, my education at the best university in Africa, my networks or the colour of my skin. For the first time, it dawned on me that none of these elements was as reliable as I was made to believe. But then, what is? Paul puts it this way in Philippians 3:4-8, “If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.”
On the days when the most valuable contribution I made to society was washing the dishes in a small home I shared with a friend, the worth of knowing Christ became very real to me. It is what held my heart and mind throughout that time. It was what filled me with joy while facing the deep loss of relationships, businesses and money. It became my most precious possession when I’d lost nearly all my earthly belongings.
So, now this is what I rely on. While I once again go boldly into more business and career pursuits, I do it with this knowledge deeply ingrained in my soul, that when I have nothing in this world, I have Him. I can confidently say, as David did, “Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” (Psalm 16:5-6)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
You may have seen her on a stage somewhere, but Robynn can most often be found behind a laptop happily making magic in the corporate marketing and events space. She is a member of our Four12 partners, Oxygen Life Church.
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