Initiative Inadequacy

One of the quickest ways to feel bad about yourself is to look at those around you. I’m not usually one to play the comparison game but lately I have been feeling like I’m coming up short in several areas when I look at some women around me.

This weekend I received the latest edition of my college’s alumnae newspaper. I went to school with some smart, ambitious, active and well-rounded women. For each newspaper edition, alumnae can submit details about what’s new in their lives. And I’m blown away each time I get the paper. Granted you can take anything dull and make it shiny if you rub it enough, but these women weren’t padding their resumes with fluffy words and nice adjectives–they were simply stating what they are doing. For instance, one of my fellow graduates is now the southern Africa regional environmental and health officer for the State Department and is living in Africa. Another fellow graduate is a Grammy award-winning singer in a fabulous country duo. Another is a neurologist with a specialty in epilepsy. And what am I doing?

I sit at home in a nice little townhouse everyday trying to teach one kid while trying to at least pay a minute’s attention to the other.

Sorry, Mom and Dad, for wasting all that money on a private college education.* I want my own “job in Africa”. Maybe I should just learn how to pad my resume with the things I’m already doing…

Logically and consciously I know these feelings aren’t valid. I firmly believe that I am doing God’s will for my life right now. I believe I am in this townhouse, teaching my children at home because that is where He wants me. And I am truly satisfied–99% of the time. When you are doing God’s will for your life there is nothing else that you should be doing. Whether it’s staying home with your children or being the president of a corporation, you will feel at ease when you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing. Knowing that doesn’t prevent the comparison monster to rear its ugly head every once in a while. And then I compare. And then I feel inadequate.

As I write this I’m realizing there is something these women have that I don’t tend to exhibit in my life: initiative. While not downplaying all the things that I do now, I know I could be doing more. I’ve had several “project ideas” (for lack of a better term) float through my head at various times but I’ve lacked the initiative to act on them. Getting arrested while protesting at the Capitol has not been one of them, just so you know.

I think what I admire in these women is their drive and desire to accomplish the goals which they have set before them. And that they set goals in the first place. It is very easy to become complacent. What I need to do, as an addendum to the goals I set at the beginning of the year**, is to determine to have more initiative–to set some goals and act on these “project ideas”. What is important is that I make sure these ideas are things that God would want me to do.

I don’t want to do it for the accolades or to make myself busier. Lord knows, I really don’t want to be busier. I know I will be satisfied though if I am busy doing something He wants me to do.

Now, to find some initiative…

*We didn’t choose the college because it was private. We chose it because of its small size, teacher/student ratio and beautiful campus. In fact, I almost couldn’t go because we weren’t going to be able to come up with the money. Thank you, God, for scholarships, loans and grants.
**Doing well in 3 out of 4 of those goals isn’t too shabby! Maybe my initiative should be finding time to sew…

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10 thoughts on “Initiative Inadequacy

  1. Du says:

    You are doing great in 3 of your 4 goal areas for this year! And sewing is just around the corner 🙂 Being a Proverbs 31 woman who is making a huge difference in the lives of your husband, children, friends, and acquaintances shows major initiative. The “helps” and caring support you give to people is huge — you are impacting God’s kingdom for the good on a daily basis.

    You’ve got initiative. Can everyone use more? Sure. But, its tough to get up for that new challenge when you can get bogged down with the daily grind of teaching, running/taking care of a household, and orchestrating the schedules of 4 people with very full schedules that aren’t always compatible.

    The fact that you are in God’s Word daily seeking His will is awesome! Your introspection in articles you read and on things like this blog show that you have initiative and are focusing on what you need to do for this season in your life. You are the Proverbs 31:10 woman — “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” Love you.

  2. Then you’ll love my post about TODAY. Because I am tired and have NO initiative.
    I stayed at home full time for almost 12 years. There is not a moment a regret. My brain cells did diminish a tad, but my children are well-grounded because of my lack of “professional” initiative!
    Never underestimate the role of the stay at home mom. You may not shine compared to your fellow alum, but your kids will remember and your heart will know all that you gave up to be with them! 🙂

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks for the encouragement. I highly value the SAHM position and am avid about defending it, I wish I were a little more adventurous when it came to being productive I guess. I like your comment about the lack of “professional” initiative 🙂 I wonder what I’ll do once they’re out of the house? Or even before then?

  3. Jennifer says:

    Hi Vicki, I can relate to how you feel too. I have a degree in Biochemistry – kinda wasted right now is how i feel. i should be out there finding a vaccine for AIDS, that was my goal before Zoe came around! teaching kids seems a little less, but perhaps one of our kids will go on to fufill goals that are even more important. so that makes our job really important as well.

    • Vicki says:

      See, another brain! I know how you feel, my degree in international relations is kind of foundering at this moment and I don’t know what I’d ever do with it now. Are you keeping on top of your field with the latest advancements and the like? Do you plan on doing something with biochemistry once you’ve finished teaching?

  4. I bet that most (if not all) women feel the same way that you do, even those that are pursuing a career outside the home, and everyone has feelings of inadequacy and lack of motivation every once in a while. With that said, I think that it is great to try to improve certain areas of your life, just don’t be too hard on yourself! You are doing a great job, and your work IS important!! 🙂

  5. You are truly not alone in your feelings, but then I think our humanness convinces us that we know better than God what we should be doing…and that’s when we need to be humble enough to be satisfied with God’s plan for ‘right now’. You’re doing just fine!

  6. Tracy says:

    Vicki:

    Life really does have seasons and your life revolves around raising your girls right now. It will change eventually and you may do something completely different later when your girls become more independent.

    It is easier to start a new career in your 40s than it is to try to have that family–your successful friends probably have those moments when they wish they had chosen a slower, more family-oriented path. You can’t have it all–at least not all at once. But you can have an awful lot if you wait for the right time.

    BTW I am a former homeschooler, mom of 4, grad student who will graduate one day after my daughter graduates from college and a woman who has finally found a career I love as much as I loved homeschooling my kids. I do, however, admit to a smidgen of envy on sunny days that are perfect for field trips.

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks for the encouragement! It means a lot coming from a homeschooling veteran. What advice do you have for me in regards to what, if anything, I should be doing while I’m raising my girls…resumes, skills, etc.

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