Any woman who takes her faith seriously at some point asks herself, “Do the things I do matter? Is my parenting, my career, my service, my companionship, my presence on planet Earth really going to have lasting impact? Or maybe if we are honest, the question we keep closer to the vest is, “Do I matter?”
The question resonates with me because I’ve asked it of myself more than once and not so long ago. Frustrations were at an all time high and I decided the reason for the angst was because my pursuits – primarily career related – were in the secular realm and therefore, the emotional energy and mental focus I devoted were nothing but a waste of precious time that should be spent doing work that mattered.
“Spend the better part of my time doing what matters.” I wrote that blurb in my journal and penciled ideas on what that might look like including but not limited to finding a ministry-related position that would make me feel like the hours I spent away from homemaking and ministry wife-ing directly benefited humanity in some tangible way.
My disgruntlement multiplied the more I convinced myself that the “things that mattered” were somewhere beyond my here-and-now. Non-coincidentally, Psalm 42 and a simple yet profound quote made their way before my eyes and consequentially into my head and heart. Hear this Elisabeth Elliott wisdom:
Here’s what I have come to know…
The statement, “Spend the better part of my time doing what matters” is immature and incomplete. What it should have said is, “Spend my time doing all things in such a way so that they matter.”
See the shift?
The problem wasn’t that I was doing things that didn’t matter, it’s that I wasn’t doing them in such a way so that they did. The answer wasn’t in a different set of circumstances, it was a different me in the same environment.
Stripped down, the base motive for our pursuits should be the ability to offer the thing back up to God. What if every workplace believer’s concern was climbing the corporate ladder instead of infiltrating her office with love and light? What if every “unhappy” wife gave up on her marriage? What if every mother decided to let the kids sleep in on Sunday morning and trust their spiritual formation to Veggie Tales? What if believing women separate the faith they profess from the morality of their choices? If the result of our actions – whether relational or productive- can not be laid proudly at the feet of Jesus then no matter how much we invested – the thing doesn’t matter. It’s wood, hay, and stubble and will be set on fire.
No matter how we’ve blown it, the go-forward is that we can redeem the exact same situations by allowing our faith to inform our failures and do the same thing differently this time. Instead of searching for “what matters” outside our current circumstance, make it all matter right here, right now.
Fix our minds on things that matter.
Prioritize things that matter.
Be affected only by things that matter.
Listen to people who matter.
Let the dreams we chase be centered on Kingdom matters.
Invest creativity in things that matter.
Carry ourselves and treat others as though they matter.
(And so many more. )
We can’t always undo what’s behind but there’s nothing stopping a single one from allowing God to shift our thinking from always chasing the elusive to making our current situation the one we dreamed of all along.
So starting now……