Engage

What are you most proud of?

Hello Tapestry Readers! I hope you have enjoyed
reading the various posts over the past few weeks. If this is your first visit
to our site, make sure to take the time to go back and review the discussions
so far. We’ve covered some important topics and
you don’t want to miss any of it!

About a year ago, one of my professors sent out an
email wanting to catch up with all of his former interns. I want to brag on all of you, he said. Tell me about your greatest achievements and accomplishments. What are
you most proud of?

Hello Tapestry Readers! I hope you have enjoyed
reading the various posts over the past few weeks. If this is your first visit
to our site, make sure to take the time to go back and review the discussions
so far. We’ve covered some important topics and
you don’t want to miss any of it!

About a year ago, one of my professors sent out an
email wanting to catch up with all of his former interns. I want to brag on all of you, he said. Tell me about your greatest achievements and accomplishments. What are
you most proud of?

I groaned at the thought! When I received the
email, the adoption of our second child had just recently been completed. I was
exhausted from the travel (3 trips to Russia), the adjustment to life with my
beautiful and lively little girl, and the laundry (did you know that
adding just one child increases your laundry exponentially?). I had decided to
take a semester off from my studies to rest, spend time helping Stella adjust,
and teach myself French (most doctoral students have to learn how to read
French and German—don’t ask why.) My
greatest accomplishment for that particular day was that I had actually taken a
shower and learned a total of two vocabulary words while the kids napped. I immediately
began to imagine what other former interns were doing: missionaries serving
across the ocean, tenured professors at prominent Seminaries, senior pastors of
churches all across the nation, all leading amazing ministries and doing great
things for the kingdom. Maybe I wouldn’t even respond to the email

But
in a rare moment of clarity I did respond with something a little like this: What is my greatest accomplishment these
days? I am potty training my 2 year old, convincing my 4 year old to stop using
potty words in his daily conversations, and all the while teaching myself how
to read French. And I bet that’s something none of your other interns can
claim!

In that moment I realized that when I start
comparing myself to others, I lose sight of who I am: Terri, mother of two,
struggling PhD student, wife of Darren, loved and valued beyond measure by my
family, my friends, and my Lord. I begin to either think myself as less than or
more than I am, rather than with the sober and realistic judgment Paul speaks
of in Romans 12:3 (when you look it up be sure to read the entire paragraph, 12:1-8).
The hierarchy of prominence we’ve created where certain gifts, positions, or
accomplishments are more valued is just that—our own creation rather than the
biblical ideal. Don’t be pressured to
measure your journey or your accomplishments by the standards of others, even
other Christians; be faithful in what the Lord has placed before you and rest
in his view of you. And next time you
see me, remind me to do the same!

Something to think about: If you weren’t afraid of
how it compared to others’, what would you say is your greatest accomplishment
of late?

10 Comments

  • Avatar

    Heather A. Goodman

    Oh, Terri. This is such a

    Oh, Terri. This is such a struggle for me! (And it’s funny because on my personal blog, I posted a similar thread today.) What am I doing? How is God using me (compared to how he’s using so-and-so, of course).

    Instead of a New Year’s Resolution this year, I made a New Year’s prayer–I prayed for insignificance, perhaps one of the most difficult prayers for me.

    I grew up with Bach, Mozart, Beethoven. I was supposed to be someone great, I thought. But I’m not. What do I do with that?

    I rest in God.

    And I tell myself I’m unappreciated in my own time! (Just kidding.)

    • Avatar

      Cecile

      Insignificance
      Wow Heather,
      I stumbled across your post this morning. I have been thinking all day about your New Year’s prayer-insignificance-totally NOT what the world tells us to aspire to. [or even our parents] What an excellent goal-when I am less, HE is greater. That shall become my prayer as well-what a challenge. How we all love the accolades of men.
      Blessings to you friend in Christ.
      Rest well.

  • Avatar

    Sue Bohlin

    Soooooo good, Terri!

    Wow. Really good stuff. Comparison can be deadly, can’t it? If anyone were to judge your answer–about "potty training" two children in very different ways–as unimportant and lesser-than in comparison to lofty academic pursuits, I wonder what God would think about that. He can see what’s truly important in the scope of both time and eternity in ways we can’t because we’re either spiritually myopic or we have spiritual cataracts.

    How many of us will be surprised to hear "Well done, good and faithful servant, for the loving, patient way you handled potty training"? It’s so easy to miss it–as well as other hidden tasks like not murdering an eye-rolling teenager or caring for a failing parent–as unimportant and lesser-than. But I don’t think God misses a thing.

  • Avatar

    Gwynne Johnson

    For everything a season….
    Most of us wouldn’t think to add potty training as a season…but think of the long range implications.

    • Avatar

      Sue Bohlin

      Potty Training

      Boy, Gwynne, that’s a great question! The physical world is such an indicator of truths in the spiritual realm, isn’t it?

  • Avatar

    Sharifa Stevens

    Dude!

    First of all, anyone who can potty train AND learn French is a superstar in my book. Are you kidding me? You’re bringin’ home the bacon and fryin’ it up in a pan, Terri!

    I am constantly struggling not to compare myself to others, to my shame (or paralyzation). Dress size, talent, job, intelligence, money, everything. I feel so played when I succumb to that way of thinking: knowing that only the world’s system honors achieving based on one-upmanship.

    But there is a healthy competition, right? An iron-sharpening-iron, run-the-race-to-win kind of competition?

     

    Is there a difference between competing and comparing?

  • Avatar

    Sharifa Stevens

    Oh…One More Thing…

    …you asked what we would say our greatest accomplishment so far would be.

    I’d say being a support and encouragement to the people I love.

  • Avatar

    Sydney

    Love your insight…
    As one of your friends who loves you and values you beyond measure, I am so thankful for you and your insights! I remember when my twins were little and you told me that you had read someone who had likened nursing twins to their spiritual act of worship for that time being. It was so refreshing to me to change my outlook on what I was doing as a Mom. Not so much as a chore and as a list of all the things I didn’t accomplish that day, but as an act of worship and as a gift to my Lord. Raising my kids for Him. And some days, that is my biggest accomplishment. The house is still standing, the 3 year old and the 15 month olds are happy, clean and fed and I am reminded of my greater purpose during this season of my life. The things on my to do list are often not eternal and I find so much peace in resting in what HE has called me to do right now. Please continue to remind me of this when #4 arrives in a few months!

  • Avatar

    scottsdale dentist

    reply
    As a young person…saying no to drugs and furthering my education and bettering my life by going to university and studying psychology…also for surviving child abuse and not turning to bad ways of coping with the pain…i.e. alcohol etc….