Be the Ant…but What Kind of Ant?

With a click of a button, Facebook makes a movie about your recent years, so you can watch your life come alive on your monitor.

Mine opens with my husband and me at a neighborhood party, then my middle child small enough to sit on the back of the neighbor’s golden retriever. We have my family in front of Boston’s Old North Church, me at my mother’s side as she smiled just days before her passing, and then some popular posts–“Congratulations, Joe, on your driver’s license!” “Thanks for prayers, my friend Kate survived her brain surgery.”  More photos–my guinea pig, my teen winning a leadership award, the “I voted early” sticker on my shirt, me posing at the top of a mountain in Colorado next to black diamond trails, and finally, the boys and I at the starting line of a 5K.

I’ve never considered these years as full of accomplishment. They began with ambitious plans to write books and build a ministry. But I had to slow down to survive grief and rebuild.

I’d often wondered if not  pursuing success with all my might was disobedient to God.  After all, doesn’t Paul say And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus?(Colossians 3:17) 

And doesn’t Solomon tell us in Proverbs to work hard like the ant when it says Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.  (Proverbs 6:6-7)?

Each time I tried  to pursue “my” calling with all-consuming energy, I would hear “mom” and turn my attention to hang out with the boys, all the time wondering– is this being a sluggard?

One August afternoon I found my boys in the driveway, staring at bread crumbs. “Mom,”one said. “Watch these ants. They all walk in a line to the bread.” I watched with him.  He was fascinated by the line they made. I noticed something else.

They walked.

Ants don’t rush. They don’t neglect parts of their life or take on more than they can handle. They simply walk and keep their goals in front of them.

I suddenly wanted to be an ant.  I wanted to stop rushing and walk–in every thing I do.

I still struggle with my natural tendency to pursue my goals all out and overcommitting.  But fortunately I’ve made some progress here, and my Facebook movie seems to reflect that. I try to imagine what that video would have looked like had I spent my years running towards high glory goals and away from the simple life of raising kids God has laid before me.

When you think about it, I didn’t set aside the ant–I became the ant. Real in that I’m doing what was placed here to do right now- raise my kids.  She prepares her bread in the summer and gathers her food in harvest.  (Proverbs 6:8).

This ministry is an example. I was tempted a year ago to overextend myself to make it grow, but that would have been my effort, not God’s will. Today it gains momentum at God’s pace, without this mother sacrificing her duties to her children. 

Sometimes the “work” God lays before you is actually just time spent goofing off with your kids.  If I worked all the time, my kids wouldn’t want to be around me. I like that we can still  goof around and watch silly youtube videos or just play monkey in the middle with the chocolate lab.  

I look ahead to the next five years and wonder what will my Facebook movie look like then?  Will I stay on the path and be obedient to the Lord and enjoy the results He brings?

Or will I let MY agenda steal my joy by eating up the time I could spend showing others the blessings of Christ they would have seen in me?

What kind of ant will you look like in your new season?