“Mothering a mess of kids is as important as preaching to a stadium for a month of Sundays.”
Ladies, let these words from Ann Voskamp sink in and settle on your heart. Do you believe them? In the day-to-day of carpools, soothing babies or putting in overtime at work, what you do can feel inconsequential, unappreciated, unglamorous. But the work you are doing is just as important as the work of Max Lucado or any other ministry leader.
In fact, Max Lucado himself will be the first to admit it. Ann writes: “I begged grace from Max Lucado a few weeks ago with this note that I wouldn’t be able to speak [at one of his events] as planned. There was ocean-depth wisdom in his gentle words: ‘Ann, we have the option of hundreds of speakers. Your kids only have the option of one mom.’”
Though she’s a best-selling author and widely sought after for speaking engagements, Ann has come to understand that her top priority at the moment—her number one ministry—is her family. “There was an invite to a retreat in Italy, an invite to a retreat in British Columbia,” she writes. “Invitations aren’t obligations. Invitations are options…Every yes automatically says no somewhere else.”
Every yes automatically says no somewhere else. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard these truth-filled words. Last year, Nicole Unice sat down with us for an interview and had this to say about the dangers of saying yes to every opportunity that comes up:
“Sometimes I say to women, I want you to imagine all the people you are trying to please in a pie chart…Every time you say yes to something, you’re saying no to something else. If you would start seeing that that is how your life operates, you would realize that you say no to many, many things... you may be saying no to your spiritual walk, you may be saying no to your husband, to margin in your life.” (Listen to the rest of Nicole’s thoughts here).
It’s this crippling, sinful impulse to compare ourselves that has many women saying yes to the wrong things and neglecting the good things they have right in front of them. Ann has written about this before, noting, “We use comparison like a measuring stick, assessing our own worthiness based on others’ victories or failures, beating ourselves or one another down with it.”
In her book Clout, Jenni Catron talks about the crippling consequences of judgment and comparison. “The fear of not measuring up robs us of seeing the value in our influence, and it keeps us on a perpetual quest to be better than others.” The solution to this problem of judgment and comparison, she says, is to focus on the work you’ve been given. “When we can find peace with the gifts that we’ve been given and aren’t tempted to compare ourselves with others at every turn, we begin to enjoy the freedom and purpose of living from our unique God-given influence.”
Ladies- are you comparing the ministry God has called you to that of another? Comparison will only rob you of the joy that God wants you to have for the work he has given you. Whether that ministry looks like raising little ones or speaking to millions- all of it is important to God, all of it matters. So set your eyes on him and trust that he will bring you joyful fulfillment as you live out the calling he has for you.
Kelly Givens is the editor of iBelieve.com.