When Life Feels Sour, Give

We can stop bean-counting the short-term results because we're giving with a long term purpose. http://wp.me/p2UZoK-BK via @blestbutstrestDo you ever feel as if your life consists of a hopeless round of rinse and repeat? A tree full of sour lemons? That no one notices the efforts you invest in other people’s lives? I confess to feeling this way a time or two—especially since I’ve invested myself in two careers that have long-term benefits and not short-term growth.

After teaching for six years, we made the decision that I would stay home with our girls (an infant and a toddler). Nothing can prepare a person for a career change—no matter how much I looked forward to spending quality time with our little ones during their formative years.

It seemed as if my life turned into an endless cycle of diapers (changing them, washing them, folding them, changing them again) and food preparation. I confess to feeling bored. And grumpy at times. After all, what toddler expresses appreciation for the hours of intense labor involved in her care? I often felt drained with nothing left to give my family.

Teaching can also seem unrewarding. Day after day of teaching the same subject to the same students who never gush and say, “Wow, Mrs. Ojeda! Thank you so much for helping me learn something new today!”

Sometimes, I feel like life consists of an endless cycle of explaining the same thing over and over again and students forgetting from day to day what they have learned and how to apply it in a new situation. I give and give and give and nothing seems to make a difference.

How easily I fell fall into the self-pity trap. Just because I don’t feel immediately rewarded for my efforts, I feel that what I do is in vain. But that’s backwards accounting in God’s eyes.

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

It’s not about the short-term payoffs (those are like the whipped cream on pumpkin pie—they enhance our experience, but pumpkin pie tastes great without it)—it’s about our long-term purpose in life.

Our purpose in life is to give. And give. And give some more. Giving becomes an act of worship, a way of life that brings satisfaction because we know that our labor is not in vain when it’s in the service of God. We can stop bean-counting the short-term results because we’re giving with a long-term purpose. (tweet this)

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Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a 'recovering cancer caregiver' who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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