I knew what my job was; it was to go out and meet the people and love them. ~Princess Diana
When Matt finished his doctorate our family traveled to Southern California to watch him graduate. Our young boys and I stood outside in the heat, sweat poring down my back. Matt’s name was called, people politely clapped, he walked across the stage, and . . . the next name was called.
That’s it?! I remember being so let down. I mean, he had worked for many long years to get this far. And not just him; we all had worked and sacrificed. Our family had eaten bean burritos and pasta with butter for YEARS. Where were the fireworks? Where was the crashing cannon? Shouldn’t the Blue Angels be zooming overhead?
Can I tell you a secret?
I like to be told when I do a good job. I even let my husband know when to praise me and how to say it.
“When you get home you need to notice how nice the yard looks. I spent five hours out there and my arms are shaking from the weed eater. It needs to be a really impressed, ‘Wow! Traci, what a great job you did. I can’t believe you did that all by yourself!'”
And if he walks in and says something of that sort, but I don’t feel the appreciation in his voice is at the appropriate level, I ask him to go back out and come in again. “This time with feeling, Honey.”
I’m not even joking.
You spend your weekend writing up report cards with personal comments on each student, and you wait for a thank you from parents and principal. Nothing. You buy flowers for the front yard at the homeless shelter and spend Monday evening working in the beds. No one speaks to you. No one?! You make dinner for an elderly couple at church and take it by on Wednesday afternoon. Maybe it just comes out in your conversation that evening at Bible study . . .
You want to do the nice things because it’s the right thing to do, but deep down you want people to notice that YOU are nice.
I tell my husband I’m just trying to help him be godly and follow the proverb: “Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth;
an outsider, and not your own lips.” Proverbs 27:2 NIVUK
The truth is that it is hard to be selfless. We want someone to notice when we make an extra effort, when we go beyond expectations, when we . . . act like Christ.
And it is noticed. Jesus said when you do good deeds, do them in secret so that God can bless you. He also said when you pray do so in secret so that God will hear you. And he added when you fast, don’t let others know, and the Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6)
It isn’t easy, but the reward is much better than the instructed praise I give my husband.
I’m certain I will never ask God to go back out and try again.