Sunday, September 28, 2008

Verse of the week -- Galatians 6:4,5

A few rare times I don't have a book by my bedside, and other times I have many. Right now, I have many. Among others, I started Ordering Your Private World, which I have long wanted to read. Then a book came in at the library that a friend had recommended, You Matter More than You Think. These two have many interesting corollaries as I switch back and forth between them. They also weigh in on two sides of a balance that I have recently found challenging -- Selflessness and self-care, more on that in future posts, I know.

In the second of the two, Leslie Parrott writes specifically for women and delves into a challenging topic that I look forward to working through in my own life. Near the beginning of her book she quotes these verses from Galatians 6:4,5 that continue to come to mind. She uses the Message version which says, "Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life."

I had to look it up in the King James for even greater richness, "4But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5For every man shall bear his own burden."

This spoke to me so much as a mom. We love to play the comparison game, which Paul challenges specifically a few verses earlier at the close of chapter 5. We love to worry about everything except what God wants us to worry about.

In my own life I think this stems partly from an overactive occupation with self-judgment. I look at my own accomplishments too critically, and if I can find a weakness in someone else in an area where I enjoy success, somehow that makes me better. Hence, the reason I need this challenge to prove my own work, examine it, take a closer look, stand accountable for it. And, in so doing, rejoice in it. I can rejoice in those successes that God has brought into my life and character, into my home and children. Rejoicing in Him, not in prideful accomplishments, of course, but finding joy not judgment! Not rejoicing in my so called successes as compared to someone else, but simply in and of themselves.

When I come to the end of this life, and in some ways, at the end of each day, I have to answer for how I spent those 24 hours, those months and years that God allotted to me. With the skills and abilities, disruptions and tragedies, the victories and milestones, the tears and laughter that came with each day. Did I accomplish all that God wanted me to do each day? He placed me here with these children, these challenges, these circumstances, His unique expectations for working in and through me. I alone will answer for how I invested or squandered my resources.

I look forward to sinking myself into my work and life as a wife and homeschool mom all the more this week.

But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden.

~Galatians 6:4,5~


Courtney said...

It's the squandering part that really brings me down. And sometimes as I look back on the years, I don't see the strong work ethic I had believed in myself. Our pastor was recently talking about Heaven and how we'll work there. I hope I am much improved by then! I don't want to be a slacker!

5intow said...

I agree, Courtney. After reading Randy Alcorn's Heaven last year I have thought much about how changed, and yet still preserving my individuality, I will be in heaven. I can't wait for those days!