My soul can get restless. On occasion, I want to know where I rank. I believe I am a good Christian. I hope to have a special place in God’s eyes, so I sometimes look for validation. One day, I searched for an answer. It happened after work where I teach high school English. The usual routine after school is for teachers to gather in the department office workroom, grade a few papers, pack up and discuss the events of the day. A coworker interrupted our routine. He led us to a website survey at www.wewantyoursoul.com. The survey consists of 39 questions and will ultimately determine the value of your soul. Even better, or so I thought, it would rank your soul in comparison to others who took the survey.
My colleagues didn’t take the survey seriously. They laughed or gasped when their score was revealed, but I saw an opportunity. I knew the survey couldn’t give me an accurate value of my soul, but it seemed like it was all I had. I felt an urge to show the others that my soul was more valuable, so I took the survey.
Once I sat down at the computer terminal, I was even more convinced that I would win what I started to perceive as a contest. The first few questions were what I expected: Are you a practicing Christian? I go to Church every Sunday. Have you been baptized? Barely out of the womb. Have you ever given money to charity? Every Christmas. Have you ever given money to the homeless? Many times—I know others who refuse.
In no time, I was one proud Christian. Soon, however, unexpected questions appeared. Are you a vegetarian? Are they that worried about mad-cow disease? Do you use Internet chat rooms? Shouldn’t they be more worried about porno sites? Are you a member of Blockbuster Video? Would Hollywood Video be a step up?
By the last question, I had a bad feeling, but hoped God would be on my side. My score was revealed: “Forty-nine percent of people have a purer soul than you.” I barely made the top half. I also got the worst score in the English department!
Driving home, I couldn’t get comfortable. How could I get a 49 percent? I knew I wasn’t supposed to take the results seriously, but it still got to me. What’s wrong with my soul? I disagreed when they asked: “Homeless people generally bring it upon themselves.” That had to be right. But there was that question about smoking. I go through about a pack a week. That’s not really smoking. Maybe my lungs are turning black, but does it necessarily darken my soul?
As soon as I got home, I was determined to find my soul’s worth. I went right to my computer. I retook the survey and changed some answers. Have you ever consulted a tarot reader? Okay, but I never once called Miss Cleo. Do you watch any of the following news channels: Fox, MSNBC, CNN? Somewhat, but usually I think the news is boring.
The result? “Twenty-nine percent of people have a purer soul than you.” Not what I had hoped, but being in the top third isn’t bad, I thought. I tried again after choosing the answers I believed the soul gods wanted, even though it meant I would lie at times. My score improved to 11 percent, but I only felt worse. Even when I lied, I missed the top 10.
Weeks passed before I remembered how the survey made me feel. For the first time since I had been at our school, students nominated faculty members for “Teacher of the Quarter.” My name wasn’t mentioned. I’ve devoted 10 years to teaching. I work hard in my profession. I try to go above and beyond the call of duty for these kids. Doesn’t anybody see that? It was only when I threw aside these feelings of insecurity that I realized something.
The survey did expose the true value of my soul, but not because of the score. I had been competitive. I wanted to outscore the others. If I spent more time listening to God, I would better understand how He values my soul. The real soul assessment, I finally concluded, was between God and me. I worry too much about what others think and lacked the faith to trust what is important: God doesn’t make comparisons in the final assessment. Getting approval from others shouldn’t matter.
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