These days, there’s a lot of talk about finding your passion and doing what you love. And I think that’s important. We should take the time to identify the things in life worth pursuing and dedicating ourselves to.
But I don’t think finding joy in what you do is nearly as important as finding joy in how you do it.
This is something I learned from my grandma.
Growing up, my family attended church every Sunday. I remember, when I was young, hanging out primarily with my grandmother. Mostly, this was because she was working in the nursery… and I was bored in the service.
Every week, during the message, I would complain about needing the bathroom. After escaping to the hallway, I’d check the nursery hoping my grandma needed help. I would always find her there, sitting peacefully, usually rocking a baby to sleep. On a small black-and-white television, she would be watching the pastor deliver his sermon.
As I got older and I began to understand what was happening in the sanctuary, I grew to appreciate it. The words encouraged me and challenged me. Slowly, I began to spend fewer and fewer Sundays in the nursery with my grandma. And I began to spend more and more Sundays in the sanctuary with my grandpa.
He was, after all, the preacher on the stage.
But I’ll never forget the image of my grandma, rocking that baby, watching her husband on the small television in the nursery.
His sermons were being broadcast all over the country. Yet she just watched them faithfully, from right there in that small nursery, with a baby in her arms.
I’ve never met another woman so gifted at comforting and quieting a crying child—or relieving the nerves of an anxious mother.
My grandmother died on Christmas Eve, 2007.
Leading her Memorial Service was one of the greatest honors of my life. In preparation for it, I began to recall vividly those Sunday mornings sitting in that quiet nursery with my grandmother.
I can see now how she modeled love, humility, contentment, and joy in those moments. She never did receive recognition for her hard work. But she didn’t seem to mind. Because she faithfully served others in her quiet role, my grandfather was able to fulfill his.
We live in a world that exalts and honors those who clamor for attention. We praise and idolize those people who appear on magazine covers, climb the corporate ladder, or have ever-increasing numbers of Instagram followers. We place on a pedestal those who have acquired great wealth, fame, or power.
And many of us desire to achieve the same.
But there is an important truth for all of us that I shared the evening of my Grandmother’s service. It goes like this:
If you are content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.
We don’t always get to choose our life’s circumstances or the roles we are called to fulfill. Each of us are gifted in different ways and invited to pursue unique callings on our life.
Our greatest pursuit then, is to find humility, love, and contentment in the role we are best designed to fulfill—whether that role results in fame and fortune or not.
We find joy by focusing less on the “what we do” and more on the “how we do it.”
Serving quietly and humbly like my grandmother is no less important in this world than standing on a stage. And in that way, I may have learned just as much about life while sitting in the nursery as I ever learned sitting in the sanctuary.