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Sacrifice On the Altar of Ego

This is an update of a post from May 2016 and is the counterpoint to my blog post from last week, “Don’t Let Your Girls Grow Up to Be Moms“.

I love Carolyn Arend’s “Altar of Ego”. It’s a song whose lyrics I need to think about often. Last week’s post was about the emphasis placed on motherhood and being a wife especially within the church. I started with five words that define me and ended with a question for everyone. Do we have an identity that we put too much emphasis on?

This was intentional. I had a follow-up post planned. More supplement than counter to my motherhood post.

Before children, I went on a church retreat. I had one of those deep, soul-searching conversations with a woman who is a bit older that me. We discussed the topic of working mothers and the decision of whether or not to work outside of the home. She was a working mother who put away her suits and heels to stay at home.

At the time I hadn’t decided what to do but going part time was the most attractive option. My employer prides itself on work-life balance and makes it very easy to work part-time. In fact, many women in my company have opted for this status while raising children. The woman I interviewed with was a part-time worker, and I kept that option in the back of my mind.

Not long after the retreat. I came to a point where I had to lay down my job and give it to God. Not only the stresses but also the satisfaction and even identity I drew from it. I’d love to say from then on, I kept it in perspective, but that’s not the case. I struggle. Often. Being an engineer is part of who I am. An unusual part and tied to an accomplishment that was difficult to achieve. However, it is not entirely who I am.

As hard as it was, this action and subsequent actions of fully relying on God with respect to work has been life-changing. I simply don’t stress nearly as much about my job as I once did. It has also helped me keep a better perspective on where my job fits into my life.

Maybe one day, I’ll be able to describe myself in one word, disciple (lower case). Probably due to my Wesleyan (Methodist then Nazarene) background, my faith is closely tied to the pursuit of holiness. I’m nowhere close to my destination, but I’m moving forward. In the words of the Apostle Paul, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” (1 Corinthians 9:24, ESV). I’m a distance runner. Last year I ended up placing in two different races (first in a small 5K walk/run and third in my age group in a half marathon). I ran to do my best never expecting to win, only to do well. But there’s more to that passage, “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.” (1 Corinthians 9:25, ESV) In the end, I want this said of me, “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’” (Matthew 25:23, ESV)

What do you want to be your legacy?

About Gretchen E K Engel

Chemical engineer by day, spec fiction writer by night

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