rebelling against low expectations

I Am Mediocre


I’m not a big fan of the word “mediocre.”

It’s not a term that’s been applied to me very much. When teachers write report cards, they usually put something along the lines of “hard worker” or “attentive student.” Not mediocre.

Another aspect of my un-mediocrity is the fact that people have been calling me “smart” for ages. Why? I usually get A’s and B’s on all my tests and quizzes. I’m used to it.

Or I was.

That little streak was shattered when I recently received a 78 on my math test.

That’s a C. Or a C+, if it’s any consolation to my battered pride.

I think I’m headed down a bad path.

Seriously, for real. When I was doing the test, part of my subconscious mentality was Oh, I’ll do good like I always do. It’s just a thing that’s programmed into my brain. I’ll get a high B or above, and everything will go just the way I like it.

When my teacher told the class that we did kind of bad, I was all, Heh-heh, except for moi. When she handed back the tests, shaking her head, I was all, Heh-heh, except for–WHAT?????

I was supposed to be the good girl! I was supposed to be the one who got a good grade when everybody else did bad! I was supposed to be the girl who made a difference, who was different, who actually did her homework and studied for the test!

To find that underneath all that, you’re not all that different, that you’re actually human *sarcastic gasp* is a real shocker.

And this kind of relates to the bigger picture of what has happened to me.

About a week ago, I worked in the local Little League Snack Shack. I almost clogged a nacho heater full of fluorescent cheese, I spilled a slushie, and I had to be corrected with my change. I had no idea what to do there. My mom offered to help, but I said no, claiming I was too busy. I wanted to be independent.

In a post on my blog about it, I laughed my pathetic mistakes off and said something like “God’s grace abounds.” I thought I was being so spiritual.

The Snack Shack itself wasn’t a big deal — the nacho heater wasn’t maimed permanently, and the people in charge weren’t mad at me or anything — but when I didn’t ask my mom for help during rush hour? I thought I was being “independent.”

My parents didn’t see it that way.

They saw it as pride.

Now that that problem has become more aware to me, I see my pride everywhere. With how I react to people, how I view people, how I see myself.

For a long time, I’ve been telling myself that I’m secure in the knowledge that I’m a writer, I’m a Christian, I’m a good girl. I thought that I was confident in who I am as a person, and just because other people might think that I’m annoying, weird, or socially awkward didn’t mean that I have to pay attention to them.

Get my drift: I look down on people who annoy me, bother me, or think I’m annoying.

Granted, I can’t care too much about what other people think of me — that’s what the social media, celebrities, whositwhatsits are telling everybody: be yourself, no matter what happens or who cares.

But honestly, what I learned? Just because you shouldn’t let other people get you down doesn’t mean you should look down on all human beings that criticize you and mentally call them bozos. Just because you think they’re immature and whatnot doesn’t mean you look down on them.

Because in the end, we’re all sinners. I’m not better than people who tease me and annoy me and think I’m annoying. I’m worse, because I think of them as lower than I am.

In the end, we’re all human. I have flesh and bone and skin and a heart and a head. I am human. Which means I inherit all the qualities of a — i.e., our inherent depravity.

In the end, we all need Jesus. I need Jesus. We all need Him. He’s the only One who can do anything. He’s the only One who can save me.

And without Him, guess what?

I am mediocre.

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” — Proverbs 16:18

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About the author

Rachel Seo

began writing at the age of seven, scribbling on sheets and sheets of notebook paper. Now she's a college student who pounds out blog posts, articles, and novels on her trusty Macbook. Eighties sitcoms make her laugh long and hard; Tori Kelly and Jon Bellion are her favorite musicians; and Ecclesiastes is her favorite book of the Bible. Find her on her blog or her YouTube channel.


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    • Yes, sometimes pride can be disguised as confidence 🙁 Fortunately, we have Jesus to help us get through it! So glad that this post encouraged you 🙂

  • This is a great reality check for me… thanks a lot, Rachel! I needed this. I tend to be secretly…mediocre.

  • I liked your end point about being mediocre without Jesus. If it wasn’t for Him, I would be quite blissful in my comfortable state of mediocrity. As it is, I find myself being pushed to do my best, and try to be better. I thank Him all the time for making me who I am, because I wouldn’t just be mediocre, I would be nothing without Him!

    • You’re exactly right, like the verse “You were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you once walked…” We’re nothing without Jesus, and we owe it all to Him because He died on the cross and resurrected from the dead, just for us. How awesome is that?! 🙂

  • In an effort to become more responsible, how do we draw the line and say that we actually need help? 🙂

  • Wow, this is a great blessing to see that there are others struggle with exactly the same things that I do. Props to you for recognizing the danger of pride at an earlier age than I did! Keep up the good work. I especially appreciated the reminder of Proverbs 16:18

  • This hit a painful nerve for me…. All these years I have
    joked about being prideful, and now I am sitting here speechless and saying,
    “That is me!” I already knew that I hated admitting when I was wrong,
    and I cried over my first C in math, but it is hard for me to find fault with
    myself and admit that I am prideful. I am encouraged by you being truthful, and
    it’s made me think that I need to work more on my humility!

    Also, I loved how you mentioned how human we all are. It is
    so easy for us to try to make ourselves look better than someone else, and to
    seek attention and glory (I should know as I greatly struggle with both!). It
    all goes back to how God sees us, and how there is a bigger picture than just
    what we see of this world. Thank you for writing this article, and blessings!

  • This was just perfect for me. You described me! It’s hard to realize the pride sometimes… Thank you.

  • It took me quite a while before I could digest everything. Being excellent really isn’t about pleasing your teachers or classmates (even our parents). It’s all about fixing your eyes to Him. Excellence for His glory, not ours. Because He enables the humble and weak to pursue excellence with his grace. Thanks for writing this post Rachel! May God bless our pursuit! It’s great to know that you’re on the right track/ I love that last part…

    Without Jesus.
    I am Mediocre

  • Thanks for this. This really helped me realize how prideful I get at times too… like too much. I get good grades, everyone is also asking for my help and says that I’m “smart.” Well, sometimes, even though they are trying to compliment you, it is really just hurting you. Maybe you won’t be able to see it at first, but it’s there. When I get bad grades, I get so hung up on it. Thanks for changing my view.

  • I read this when it first came out and I am reading it again. It is very hard hitting – thank you so much Rachel!

  • Thanks for writing this Rachel! It takes humility to admit all of that, but I’m glad you did because I needed the reminder. I find that I get this prideful attitude mostly toward my little siblings, because, you know, “I’m older, so naturally I’m right and they are wrong”. But I’m not always right, it’s just my pride talking… Anyways, thanks again! 🙂

  • I think we are actually the same person. Reading this article, I honestly could have believed I wrote it myself, down to the smallest detail! I loved it, by the way

By Rachel Seo
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →