Friday, 31 August 2018

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Acts 20:24 - What We Put into Life is More Important than What We Get Out of It.

"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." - Acts 20:24


Commentary from the Life Application Bible:

"We often feel that life is a failure unless we're getting a lot out of it: recognition, fun, money, money, success. But Paul considered life worth nothing unless he used it for God's work. What he put into life was far more important than what he got out. Which is more important to you - what you get out of life, or what you put into it?"

During my QT (quiet time) with God today, Acts 20:24 spoke to me.

What is the task that God put into my life right now? Besides sharing the gospel, which is the task of every Christian, that's motherhood for me right now. And motherhood can come with all the mandane tasks that makes life feel unfruitful and unproductive.

I remembered, when Baby FECS was a baby, I struggled with that. I get nothing done in a day. The day was just filled with cycles of feeding, changing diapers and putting Baby FECS to nap. It is a little better now, but still feels unproductive. It feels like time is just spent getting Baby FECS home from day care and home is chaotic at dinner time. And before I know, dinner time is over and the day is over. And I feel like I have not achieved much, nor gotten much out of a day. And I can feel lousy that I have ended a day with nothing much accomplished.

God has reminded me through this verse that what I put into life (e.g. changing diapers, cooking, etc.) is more important than what I get out of life (e.g. planning and going on a fun trip for my family, written an article or blog post, learning a new course, completing a home project, getting recognition and making career, etc.)

Recently, I took a strength test offered by our HR at work that will help our career development. One of my strengths according to the result is Achiever. The report reads:

"Your Achiever theme helps explain your drive.... It is very likely that you possess the physical and mental endurance needed to spend hours studying, reading, or researching... By nature, you can mentally zero in on tasks for hours at a time when you have a goal to reach. You feel as if every day starts at zero. By the end of the day you must achieve something tangible in order to feel good about yourself. And by "every day" you mean every single day - workdays, weekends, vacations. No matter how much you may feel you deserve a dy of rest, if the day passes without some form of achievement, no matter how small, you will feel dissatisfied... Your relentless need for achievement might not be logical... But it will always be with you. As an Achiever you must learn to live with this whisper of discontent. 

It so describes me and helps me to understand myself better. It helps me to understand why I have this feeling of lousiness when the day ended not very productive seen from my perspective. It helps me to understand why I can't really implement a "Do nothing day" that some mommy posts advocate as a fun one-to-one time with children, even though I tried. It helps me to undersand how I can drive my family crazy by constantly putting more onto our "plates."

Of course, my "achiever" strength is also one of my major weaknesses.

God through today's QT has taught me that sometimes what we put into life is more important than what we get out of it. I need to learn how to re-define what a "successul" day is. A successful day can be a day that all I do is changing diapers and putting Baby FECS to nap. No time for Montessori activity, piano practice for Our Little FECS, or visiting a museum or going to a festival and that is also ok.

Also, I am reminded that I shouldn't feel bad putting in so much, even if I don't see the returns or rewards. In the area of parenting, for example, for the umpteen time, we told our kids not to do certain things, or to do certain things, and for the umpteen time, they forget or don't follow. I shouldn't feel that all my efforts are wasted. Our kids may not turn out as what we like them to be, but what we put in defines the success, not what we get out of it. We put in all the effort to train them in character-building and the rest we have to leave it to God. So what we put in is more important than what we get out of it.

While, I don't think I am going to be able to learn this lesson overnight, but it is at least a good start with the bit of clarity that God has given to me in this area of my life :-)

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