Girls Night In

the blog for single, over-40 women

The Treadmill

on May 15, 2014
Image curtesy of Naypong/freedigitalphotos.net

Image curtesy of Naypong/freedigitalphotos.net

For months I have been busy plotting my next course of study — the illusive PhD program. In order to be successfully matriculated into such a program one is required to obtain as close to a 4.0 grade point average as possible. I have been striving toward that 4.0 GPA ever since I decided I wanted to pursue doctoral work. Suddenly, however, I’m struck by how tiresome the whole pursuit seems.

I left the achievement grind of corporate America seeking to fulfill my passion and live my calling. Instead, these days it seems as if I am once again grinding in order to achieve the next goal I’ve set.

There’s a part of us that is set like a clock to achievement, to validation from the outside, to stamps of approval and success from those whom we’ve empowered to be our validators and approvers.

“I want an A (or to be accepted at that prestigious school, to win a prestigious fellowship, to be published, to win an award for my book, to sell a million books or be on the New York Times best seller list or be at #1 on the NYT best seller list, to get a six-figure advance, to have my book optioned for a film, etc.) and I’ll do what I have to do to get there!”

This achievement grind may come to us — the perpetually single — in the guise of what we have accomplished and what recognition we have received for our accomplishments. But the achievement treadmill reaches us at other stages of life as well. We want to get married. Then we want to buy a house, and then a better house. We want the newer kitchen and the newer car. We want to have a baby and another baby. Then, because motherhood doesn’t seem like enough, we go back to school. And we begin priming the next generation for the treadmill of the achievement-grind as we fuss over their walking at 6 months and talking at 3 months and reciting the 23rd Psalm at only 3 years old!

The achievement treadmill is never-ending, and success on this treadmill is too often determined by other people’s validation of who we are and what we do.

This is a problem.

Our validation is found in being the beloved of Christ. The approval we need is not that of peers or critics, but that of the Lord. Our hearts aspire above all to hear from Him, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” God offers this approval not so much because of the things we have achieved, but because of the people we have shown love to.

Does it matter that I like the way you — or you like the way I — write or dance or sing or run or knit or paint or speak or style your hair, as long we are out there writing, dancing, singing and living faithfully into our purpose and calling, and in devotion to our Lord?

 

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