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.
*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…