"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."
~ Galations 6:4-5 from The Message
Some real food for thought, huh? I've been chewing on this verse all week. I had written it out on a note card years ago and stuck it inside my linen cupboard door along with a lot of other paraphernalia over the years, but this week it caught my eye as if it were brand new. Perhaps because I feel pulled in so many different directions. The summer is over and done. I'm once again juggling a full-time, career-calling to teach as well as maintaining my relational roles as wife, daughter, sister, friend, in-law, church member.... and the list goes on. It seems for every single role I fill in this life, there are a million different facets of responsibility that go along with it. Wife, for example, is also synonymous with cook, homemaker, budget balancer, bill payer, laundress, and more. Teacher means tidying up loose ends from the school day hours after the children have all gone home. Don't get me wrong. I treasure every role I have been given. But it can be overwhelming, too, which makes it easy for me to get caught in the trap of comparing myself to other teachers, wives, daughters, and friends who appear to be keeping up with it all far better than I. By participating in this negative cycle of comparison, I end up putting myself down and feeling lousy on all counts. (Doesn't help I am a neat freak. Makes it hard for me to truly relax when I see things undone everywhere).
As I fall into the rhythm of another school year, it is going to be imperative for me to focus on the things I am doing well and try to curb my habit of negative comparisons by replacing them with positive thoughts that focus on the good many things that I have managed to accomplish in spite of a packed schedule. It also means I am going to have to weed out the less important items that can seem so urgent, but are in reality something that won't be bothered with a year from now.
It will take a lot of prayer, but isn't that what a thorn in our flesh (as the Apostle Paul dubbed such continual issues) is supposed to accomplish? A closer walk with our Lord and Savior? So I am committing this school year into His hands like never before and praying fervently for his Spirit to guide my thoughts along positive pathways so I can have the strength, wisdom, grace, and energy to run this race with joy.
May you ever draw closer to Him!
P.S. In case you are wondering, this version of Galations 6:4-5 is from Eugene Peterson's The Message which is more of a modern paraphrase of the Bible than an actual translation. I like to read The Message as a commentary on the KJV or NLT versions. Can sometimes help me broaden my understanding of the passage or put it in a deeper perspective. If you are not familiar with it, I recommend it highly.