28 March 2011

Multitude Monday - 1000 Gifts ~ Vanity Wars

Read this quote last week...

"Do not depend on the hope of results... [Y]ou may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth... of the work itself." ~ Thomas Merton

...and have been thinking about it ever since. Posted it as a fb status... Still thinking about it... particularly relative to my roles as
  • wife
  • mom
  • friend
  • missionary
  • teacher...
as well as how it relates to other things I've been reading.  (This is a total aside, but somehow, the more I read, the  more that stack on my nightstand grows rather than shrinks... Do you ever have that problem?)

So often, I feel a failure and think of myself as such because so much of me is wrapped up in results... and in receiving reward and recognition for having attained some particular ambition... in the acceptance of others and their acknowledgement that my contribution, that I, am valuable. Do those around me perceive me as
  • a serving, virtuous and faithful wife?
  • a consistent, gentle and loving mother?
  • a gracious, encouraging and loyal friend?
  • a missionary living with integrity and impacting my small slice of this world?
  • a teacher inspiring students (and maybe even other teachers) to grow and learn?
I  must ask myself: Is this cleverly disguised vanity? Or do my ambitions line up with the plans, the future and hope God has for me? Am I a failure if I obey, seek and follow God but still don't achieve those goals? Are my goals even biblical, if there is any question whether or not I'm seeking the Lord and His glory... or a bit of the spotlight for myself

As I've reflected and prayed through this the last week, several verses have come to mind:
  • "He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you. But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8)
  • Thus says the LORD, "Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? For My hand made all these things,Thus all these things came into being," declares the LORD. "But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word." (Is 66:1-3)
  • Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you. (Phil 3:13-15)
  • But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:41-42)
  • But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (1 Tim 1:5)
Yes, I'm still searching for a yardstick to measure my success. I'd be better off learning to focus on obedience and remembering that God has already hard-won the only success that truly matters... While this side of heaven, I'm not ever going to completely get rid of the me and I'm not sure that I believe THAT is what God wants,(another post, for another day)... I just keep thinking of the words of a song that I remember from high school: "You're so vain. I betcha think this song is about you..." And choosing thankfulness for these vanity wars that the Lord has called me to wage because He continually uses them to show me just how much I need Him.

this week's gratitude list:

#922 that God patiently teaches me the same lesson over and over and over... reinforcing my need to draw near and abide continually in His presence

#923 good books

#924 other missionary stories because they always challenge and encourage

#925 leftover brochette meat for an easy and yummy Sunday meal

#926 our doctor who was willing to run by the office... and then wait a bit... to see my little one on a Sunday afternoon

#927 finished prayer letters

#928 clean water

#929 an unexpected and long block of time when I could do nothing but read

#930 vacation afternoons at the pool

#931 a pool that has stayed cool, even though the air temp is heating up rapidly

#932 sipping iced DECAF coffee concoctions

#933 dry season Bible school graduations where my hubby is the commencement speaker

#934 anticipating a poured cement floor for our new house

#935 being back in my own bed and the super sound, deep sleep that brings rest

#936 God's convicting Word

#937 peace and freedom that comes from confessed sin and the resulting forgiveness from the only One who can truly pardon

#938 feeling like I've really been listened to and heard

#939 faithful examples living all around me

#940 finally settling on the verse to study for this week's ladies' Bible study... and knowing it was what God wanted because it wasn't even on my radar yet fits so perfectly

#941 long, blonde, gentle curls blown by the fan and tickling my face as my sick one snuggles beside me at night

#942 thinking I had finished with script writing... then being asked to help refine and direct and teach others who want to see radio drama used comunicate the best news of all

#943 much needed encouraging comments and letters from most surprising and unexpected places...  God's provision and faithfulness knows no bounds!

#944 the above reminding me that I can't demand that God or others meet my expectations... my expectations must be held lightly while the ones rooted in God's Word must be clasped tightly and held close... just another one of those "is-it-all-about-me?-vanity-wars" that God uses to mold and shape me.


  1. I’m here from Ann’s.

    And every list I go to I find a favorite – like the coconut filled one in the chocolate box – and my favorite from yours today is #941 long, blonde, gentle curls blown by the fand and tickling my face as my sick one snuggles beside me at night (because it warms my heart the way moms take care of their sick ones – blogging in this community I know a ton of moms – and am continually in awe) {smile}

    “cleverly disguised vanity” – that is a sneaky thing – and I get it. I don’t think I would have worded it that well though. And the song – I heart that song.

    God Bless you and keep you and your family

  2. thanks for stopping by, Craig. do you try to make it to every list?


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