We walked into the Brain Balance Center, and the gal at the desk said something that should be totally innocuous. "It's time for you to meet with the director for a progress report." Just typing those words makes my adrenaline flow. Bum bum BUMMMMM!!!
You see I've taken enough personality profiles to know that I'm an achiever. I care about the numbers. I love measurable progress. But that's because most often in my life, I've come out on top. While there are literally hundreds of areas where I am devoid of talent, I'm good at school, formal testing, and measurable goals. It is only at this point in my life when I realize how much worth I have been drawing from achievement. I mean... I knew I got a charge out of completing things with excellence, but I had NO idea how much of my worth I had tied up into that very fragile structure called personal success. Because I FEEL only as good as my last successful venture, and that feeling of solid achievement worth has a pretty short shelf life before another success story needs to be written. Having four children whom I have ZERO actual control over, whose needs dictate most of the moments of my day, also insures that I have very little time to be successful at those things that the world deems valuable.
Now before you think I'm down in the dumps about my days, I'm totally not. I've devised my own scales and records to help myself feel good about my fuller-than-full-time job. Number of laundry loads washed, dried, and put away. Complete nutritious dinners made. Dishes put away and cabinets cleared for long periods of time. Books read to children. Number of beds made and rooms picked up. Number of tasks checked off the to-do list. Exercises with Ben completed. Even (as painfully real as this is) Bible reading done.
As I think about the tasks above, for the most part, none of these have anything to do with my real job: nurturing souls to love Jesus Christ. Do these things need to be done? Absolutely. If I didn't do the laundry, you'd smell it. If I didn't make dinner, my kids would be gnawing on the furniture... literally... this has happened. But all of the things I consider achievements in my day reveal something crucially wrong with my goals. These tasks lead to a cleaner house, an orderly routine, and all physical needs met. It's very visible. Measurable. Satisfying. But at the end of the day, all these things will need to be done again and will most assuredly pass away.
What if I measured achievement by God's goals? "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. But rather store up for yourselves treasures in heaven." It's the eternal and the unseen that will last forever. It's the things that are impossible to measure that will define my success in the Kingdom of Heaven. It's the WAY in which I do the exercises with Ben, not the completion of all his sets. It's the attitude with which I do my physical labor throughout the day that will determine whether my children see our home as wholehearted or hollow. It's the application and meditation of the Word that I read in the morning that will determine the course of my entire life and testimony, yet it's impossible to put a number grade on any of this. It's qualitative value, not quantitative results. For an achiever, this is a lesson I have to remember every. day. And sometimes I have remind myself of moment by moment. It's about the journey, not making it to bedtime.
Oh, Ben. If you only knew how you were changing us. If you only knew how learning to love you well is teaching us about our flaws... the deep down needs that we haven't handled with integrity. You're forcing us to re-evaluate everything, from how we start our days to how we spend our evenings. You require me to know every ingredient in your daily bread, and you drive me to feast on His Daily Bread with ravenous hunger as I search for the strength and grace to be your momma.
Next Wednesday, when we sit down with the Center's director to talk about progress and things that aren't marching along (by the numbers), I promise to remember that this is a journey. To savor the victories we have had. To remind you how proud I am of all your hard work. To celebrate all the good changes we have made in our family. To tell you how valuable, important, and lovable you are in a world that assigns worth in numbers but misses treasures of immeasurable worth. We will not be afraid of evaluations because they do not define us but refine us as we seek to live this life to the fullest. You are more than numbers, my son. And so am I.