Some Things Matter More–A New WNIJ Perspective

By May 29, 2018 WNIJ
“You suck. You suck. You suck,” hammered my thoughts as I stood in front of a class that did not want to talk. We were talking about Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project.
I appreciated that Rubin talked about how money contributes to happiness, a common-sense slant that people often forget. While they sat, silent, I remembered a missionary talk I’d heard back in the 70s. Tom Little was a local optometrist called to work in Afghanistan.

Back then, people were big on how many people you lead to the Lord. Our youth group leader said you weren’t a Christian unless you’d brought someone to Jesus. We were supposed to gather souls like notches on our belt. I was heartbroken because I wasn’t so good at convincing people to follow Jesus. A friend said I made Christianity look too miserable to convince her.

I remembered Tom because he’d recently been killed by roadside bandits. He’d served the Afghani people through the Russian, Taliban and American occupations. If he could keep doing this work of helping people see better, then I could keep pushing my students to think, to write, to talk despite their disinterest.

Little told us there wasn’t much hope the people he was ministering to would become Christians, but his work was still good work, work that he was called to do. He said it’s more important to be faithful, to do the work, than it is to be successful.

I’m Katie Andraski, and that’s my perspective.

This was first published on WNIJ. If you’d like to hear me read this click here.

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  • Mark says:

    “You suck. YOU suck. YOU SUCK!,”

    Oh Katie . . . I say this to myself ALL THE TIME too.

    Why the hell do I do THAT? Why do I play Devil’s Advocate against myself? The answer’s in the question, huh?

    Thank God for Tom Little in your story. Thank God for people like him . . . for people like my wife . . . who don’t obsess over themselves. They just do good.

    One time, Karen and I were out for lunch with another couple, Jeff and Gwen, who had been Karen’s teen and young adult leaders at her childhood church, who both had meant so much to her when she was growing up into the beautiful woman she is. The couple meant a lot to me too, because it was in their young adult Sunday School class where I’d first met Karen. Jeff’s a retired engineer and a high level executive at Motorola, as well as an elder in our former church. We four hadn’t seen one each other in years, and I was going on and on about spiritual paths not taken because, somehow or another, I tend to make things all about me. After a while, Jeff said, “Wait!” When I shut up, he explained to me that as I was lamenting, he’d been praying in the Spirit, and he wanted to tell me what he’d heard Jesus say about me. Then Jeff began to share what he’d heard in Heaven, words of affirmation, not condemnation, words which I wished that I could remember, but I can’t, words that I know in my heart I will hear again one day when Jesus says them to me.

    I can’t remember the words, but I’ll never forget the effect that they had on my soul as I listened to them being spoken over me. I began to quietly cry, initially fighting back tears, as any man would, but soon tears were streaming done my face as I unashamedly wept right there in public. They were tears of joy and gratitude. My tears were grace, all grace.

    Why don’t I remember that experience whenever I revert to diabolical self-accusations?

    Sometimes I do.

    • katiewilda says:

      What an amazing story about Jeff prophesying over you. I wonder if the effect those words had on your soul were the point, if remembering the words might have made you lean into them in a way that might not have been healthy. I’m so glad those were spoken to you. And so glad you’ve got Karen to remind you of the grace working in you and around you. (My experiences with prophetic stuff like this have not been kind. Sigh.)

      Those self accusations are diabolical. I wonder if they are bad thoughts brought to us by the accuser of the brethren. Kathleen Norris says that the seven deadly sins were originally the seven deadly bad thoughts.

      When I lived this I was going through an extremely difficult time that I call a nervous breakdown. (I’ve got a book shaped around that time but have not released it or worked on it much.) I think when these thoughts arise, it’s time to block them with something like the Jesus Prayer (Lord Jesus Christ, son of the Living God, Have Mercy on me a Sinner) which leans into the truth of our brokenness but leads us smack dab into God’s mercy. That prayer saved me because it blocked the darkness while acknowledging it and it lead me right to Jesus who heals that. I’ve been writing “Now unto him who is able to keep me from stumbling and present me faultless before the presence of his glory with great joy” as an affirmation. The more I write it, the more I find what a deep mystery this kind of grace is. And the more I long for an out pouring of His spirit and His return.

      Thank you so much for telling this wonderful story. Prayers to you…Oh and listen to this one: Fear is Liar

  • Mark says:

    Love the song, Katie! Thank you. I just downloaded the artist onto my phone.

    I think you’re right. Had I remembered Jesus’ words of affirmation that my friend prophesied over me, I would have idolized them just as surely as did the Israelites the Nehushtan.