What’s the Point?

This morning the kiddos, pooch, and I went for a hike on the other side of the lake. When you get to the very top you can see the entire lake and the cabin. It’s an awesome view and I was excited to share it with the kids as they had never been there before.

It’s not that I have never invited them to come with. I have asked them countless times to accompany me on a hike or kayak ride. The answer is always the same “No thanks”. This year however things have changed. Charley has decided she wants to be more fit so she promised me all summer she would go hiking with me. Thomas had more noble reasons- he wanted to hatch Pokemon eggs. Apparently the only way to hatch eggs is by walking. I know there are many people who think this whole Pokemon Go thing is stupid, but all I know is after twelve years my boy is finally going hiking with me!

We set out happily on our hike eager to reach the top. We had gone out last night and did the smaller version of the hike that still leads to great views, but isn’t quite the top. We were running out of daylight so we didn’t have time to do the higher trail. Today though we had plenty of time to reach the top. It is only a total of 3.5 miles which is nothing for a couple of young healthy kiddos.

The happy trail didn’t last long. Thomas’ phone wasn’t getting service and his game wasn’t acknowledging his movement. every couple minutes he looked at his phone and would complain about his phone not working. I ignored the comments knowing that if I engaged in the drama soon we would all be frustrated and the hike would be ruined.

My patience lasted about ten complaints and then finally I had heard enough whining. “Thomas! I am sorry that your phone is not acknowledging your steps but look around you. Look at this view. Look at your surroundings. Can you please try to find the enjoyment simply in being out here!” For the most part he was quiet after that though there were a tremendous amount of dramatic sighs and grunts.

I couldn’t really blame him. As humans we are wired to crave reward and acknowledgement. I believe that is part of the draw of devices like the Fitbit. We love to see that we made our 10,000 steps or that we came in under our calorie allotment. We have a need to have our accomplishments recognized and rewarded. If you think that’s incorrect I have one word for you- Facebook.

The problem with needing acknowledgement and reward for our hard work is that we live in a world that does not offer much acknowledgement and reward. Most of us have bosses that not only fail to offer acknowledgement but leave us feeling as though we don’t do enough. We are also too busy working our hineys off for acknowledgement that we don’t take time to acknowledge those around us. We are all craving the same thing and working too hard just to get a little recognition.

I remember when the kids were little, like one and three, and Tom was working horribly long hours. I was having one of those days where I was feeling under-appreciated and alone in raising the kids and taking care of the house. I desperately needed some acknowledgement. I decided I was going to clean that house like it had never been cleaned before. I was going to complete all the laundry and make a delicious dinner. The house ws going to look so perfect surely Tom would notice and rave on and on over my Proverbs 31 woman skills.

As the day went on I was getting more and more exhausted and irritated. I decided it wasn’t enough for the house to be spotless and the dinner to be delicious. I decided Tom had to see just how hard I was slaving away at home while he was off enjoying the world (at work behind a desk). I decided I would save the kitchen floors for last. I decided that when he got home that night he would find me scrubbing the kitchen floors. Surely then he would know how hard I worked to maintain a clean house.

As the day turned to evening I became more and more agitated. How late could he possibly be? I had already put the kids to bed and I could’ve been relaxing or even sleeping but there was no way I was going to miss my final performance. I finally heard his truck pulling up the driveway and I assumed my position on the floor in front of the scrub bucket and started working away at the floor. Finally after ten minutes of him finishing up a phone call in the garage he came in and walked into the kitchen. He plopped his suit coat on the counter and looked over at me and said “What are you doing on the floor.”

I felt like such an idiot. There was nothing I could say that would make me sound like a normal human being. I muttered something about spilling something and left the kitchen and crawled into bed furious with myself and with Tom. All I wanted was to be validated as a stay at home mom. All I wanted was a little reward in the form acknowledgement for my hard work. I am sure Tom felt the same way after being at the office for 12 hours but I was too caught up in my own needs to see his. Funny how looking back I can see it from his side but at the time I simply thought I married the most insensitive man on earth.

We all have times in our lives when we become overwhelmed and exhausted with all that we are doing. Even the prophet Isaiah felt under-appreciated and in need of some acknowledgement. Listen to his lament in Isaiah 49:4

I replied, “But my work here is so useless! I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose. Yet I leave it all in the Lord’s hand; I will trust God for my reward.”

It’s true, God will reward us for all the good that we do while here on earth, and that will be a glorious day. Perhaps in the meantime we can lift those around us up with some words of encouragement and a little acknowledgment. Who knows- maybe we can change the world one acknowledgement reward at a time 🙂

If you are feel under-appreciated feel free to fill out a prayer request. I would be happy to lift you up and acknowledge all you do!

Love, Grace, and a Rewarding Day to You All,

Jen

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