"be fruitful and multiply"
I read a wonderful, inspiring article in a magazine the other day... The article as a whole was about young people excelling in their fields in some way. None of them were famous, just doing their part to make the world a better place.
The one that intrigued me was a mathematician. Math comes naturally for her, I think, but she also got a bit of a head start on her education. She has a big sister who, when they were young, would come home from school and teach her little sister everything she had learned.
I like that part of the story, because that's how I learned to read when I was three.
Anyhow, there was a quote from her, that said, "My sister taught me addition and subtraction and multiplication and division, so by the time I got to school, I knew it all, and when we'd do the times tables, I was just focused on doing it faster than anybody else. I already had the information, so it just got me to focus on excellence."
I just love those two sentences about focus. The challenge that the other kids had ~ doing their times tables ~ was not a challenge for her. So she devised a new challenge for herself: speed. And when learning the information was done, her focus became excellence. A beautiful goal, indeed.
A lot of people seem to rest on their laurels, whether by conscious decision or not. Either they set a goal, and then coast once they've achieved it, or they just aren't the striving type. Each day, or each task, or each season of their life is characterized by "satisfactory".
That's not God's way. He intends for us to grow, and we don't grow from the same old challenges, the same old obstacles. So maybe it's better that we decide to stretch ourselves to new achievements.
And to me, the most important lesson in this is that demanding more of myself doesn't necessarily mean bigger and better obstacles to overcome. Sometimes ~ maybe most of the time ~ it just means going through my routine, doing my normal thing, but with a focus on excellence. As Helen Keller said, "I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble."
~ "Well done, good and faithful servant;
you have been faithful over a few things,
I will make you ruler over many things." ~