When an "A" Might Be Sin

by on July 30, 2008

I’m back! I’m sure no one has noticed, but since the last Love & Marriage post 6 weeks ago I’ve been missing in combat. Jeff and I have discovered that — surprise! — baby #2 is on the way. Consequently sleeping, throwing up, and consuming an embarrassing quantity of cheesy bean burritos has taken precedent over blogging of any sort. But I’ve missed goingtoseminary, and I thought I’d share these details because as a mom in seminary, there have been a few more lessons than just those on the final exams.

I entered seminary three years ago a childless overachiever. A 4.0gpa in high school and 3.97 in college, graduating in three years…I wasn’t sure how to slack off. At graduation I spoke to the college students about Colossians 3:23, working at everything with all of our hearts, as unto the Lord. And with conviction! When seminary was coupled with working full-time and managing our home, it just meant a little less sleep–no big deal. But then during Spring term of our first year, pregnancy hit and I was throwing up during class breaks, warding off migraines during finals, and eating saltines to stay awake during our late night classes. It was then that one of our professors shared this with our class: He said, “For some of you an “A” might be sin. If you are working full time and have a family and are getting all A’s, then it’s highly likely that something or someone else is suffering.” I don’t remember a whole lot about the parable structures in the synoptic gospels, but I sure remember that.

I entered seminary childless. I will graduate this year with two in diapers. Jeff has sacrificed as well–giving his evenings to spend time with our son, then staying up until all hours of the night finishing papers and teaching outlines. He always puts our family first, even when it means he can’t do as well as he’d probably like to on a particular assignment (why do overachievers marry overachievers? :-). But I guess you’d say we’ve both realized along the way that not everything in our life can be given 100%. Sometimes, “just enough” is all you’ve got. They say that it’s not worth doing something unless you can do it well. Three years ago I’d have hung that quote on my wall. Today I say perhaps there are times when a little mediocrity is really excellence in disguise. Today I’d say that “working with all your heart, as unto the Lord” can even mean skipping that last paper revision so you can skip rocks with your son. It might mean (the horror!) missing an assignment so you don’t miss her recital. Perhaps there is a time when an “A” might be sin.

Comments

I always preferred Chesterton: “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.” But, then, I’m not always an overachiever. Very good point, this article.

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