Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I Am An Ant - the Bug Kind


A ten-minute challenge to write about the problem with significance.  Here goes!

It's two o'clock in the afternoon and the baby girls are napping.  My big kids are off being learners at school ... or kick-ball players or song singers or story writers ... whatever they do at two o'clock in the afternoon.  I am sitting.  The lazy-boy is cocked back and the foot rest is giving my tired tootsies some relief.  I just finished reading part of a Psalm and part of a Proverb in my attempts to read them all this year.  A few thoughts are popping around my head but they all seem to hinge on a verse:

Look at the ant, O sluggard, see how he labors.  He gets his work done and isn't in want.  (Or something like that ... I hope you'll accept my rough paraphrase).*

With a little introspection, I recognize myself as that little ant - pulling ten times my weight and never ceasing to tidy, cook and clean.  These few minutes seated in the recliner are just that - few, indeed.  I am happiest and most satisfied when I'm busy and productive.  A sluggard I am not.

But my little self-evaluation doesn't end here.  Yes, I am a laboring ant, but I also flirt with being prideful of that fact.  I am in danger of comparing myself to others and viewing how I measure up in light of the hours per day that I toil.  Not a good place to be.

But even worse, I am prone to worshipping my ant-like-ness ... my got-it-all-done attitude, my tackling-the-list perspective, my valued-by-my-work thinking.  If I've been busy, I'm good.  If I've been idle, I'm bad.  Another bad place to be.

I'm certain King Solomon intended this tale of an industrious ant to spur the reader on to productivity and against laziness, but my tendency to find significance in a job well done sets me off on a slippery slope.

I am not significant because my laundry is clean and folded, my dishes are washed and dried, my fridge is full of fruits and veggies, my floor is free of crumbs and Gimli-bits, my windows are spotless and sparkling (which they aren't), my bookcases are dust-free and shiny (not a chance!), my kids are washed and dressed, my plants are watered and blooming or my pillows are stuffed and fluffed.

I am significant because God made me.  Period.


*Proverbs 6:6-11
Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones.
    Learn from their ways and become wise!
Though they have no prince
    or governor or ruler to make them work,
they labor hard all summer,
    gathering food for the winter.
But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep?
    When will you wake up?
10 A little extra sleep, a little more slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest—
11 then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit;
    scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.


  1. "I am significant because God made me". I love that last line in your post. I could recognise myself in your post especially when you say you are not significant because the dishes are done etc I suffer from a chronic illness and I put a lot of significance on these things being done and a lot of angst if they are not and I tie them to my own significance as a productive person in those moments. Thank you a helpful post to me today :-). I came by from RAW ten minute Tuesdays. Behind The Smile.

  2. Oh, I totally worship my ant likeness. Great post!

  3. I love your take on significance! There are so many different ways to look at significance and what it means for us. Thank you for your honesty. I just got another wonderful sneak peek into who you are...:)

  4. You blew right past me at "laundry... folded." My favorite insight, though, is "If I've been busy, I'm good. If I've been idle, I'm bad. Another bad place to be."
    So true. LOVE this post, and your conclusion!


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