Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Small Private Victories

It's drizzling outside. Meanwhile, I am curled up in my favorite chair with Jack and a warm blanket, trying to convince myself that it really would be a good idea to tackle the humongous pile of ironing that sits in the closet.

The inner debate begins: Ironing doesn't save souls. Ironing doesn't win awards. Ironing doesn't have any real eternal value...or does it?

The other day I had a lovely conversation with a friend about the importance of being faithful in the small things: Things like daily Bible reading, like being intentional about spending time with your spouse, like playing games with your kids. Things like choosing to believe the best about people, like praying for those who have hurt you, like focusing on your husband's strengths rather than his weaknesses. And yes, things like taking out the garbage rather than cramming one more thing into the bin, like cleaning out the cat litter when it isn't even your job, and like ironing. None of these things are seen or applauded by the world around us. They do not earn us income, nor praise, nor fame. They are what Steven Covey calls, "Small Private Victories."

SMALL...they are the simplest activities of my day. None of these tasks take intelligence, skill, or talent to accomplish. They are not world changing in and of themselves; rather they are basic building blocks.

PRIVATE...they are not done on a stage or broadcast on the television. No one asks, "Jenn, is your ironing caught up?" No one really cares, except for maybe my mom. They are the tasks that only God sees me do.

VICTORIES...they are a triumph over sin and death! The doing of these seemingly small and thankless duties is a chore, but once I decide to do them...I have won. "Won what?" One more battle in the war between my flesh and my spirit.

Paul put it this way in Romans 7:21-24:

So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!

I have heard the word "integrity" defined as "who you are when no one is looking." That is to say, does who I really am match who I show myself to be on my blog? at church? at work? in the market? Or more simply put, when it is just me and God, do I choose to live by my flesh or by His spirit?

Oh, its actually pretty easy to do the right things when everyone's watching--the PUBLIC victories. With those come strokes, accolades, encouragement. But how are you doing with the PRIVATE victories? I am convinced that they are the ones that really matter. For it is in the quiet, still, lonely places that God does His best work in our lives--if we cooperate.

With that being said, I am off to do my ironing. I choose to serve my family rather than sit and indulge my inner-sloth. But you will never really know if I actually went and did it. Nor will anyone else, other than the Williamson men for whom I wield my Rowenta iron. This itty-bitty private victory will be for Christ alone--by His strength and for His glory.


  1. Jenn, Thank you once again, for allowing me to learn from you about how to reflect Christ. The battle to do what becomes Him is won or lost in those private moments. I pray that God will remind me often.
    Blessings, Carolyn

  2. Small private victories. Yep, that's what I need to spend my time and effort on. I really appreciate this post, Aunt Jen!