On a scale of puny to healthy

0520932978003Think all that is good related to Thanksgiving and know that is where I am, breathing in the warmth of family, good food and a slower pace.

And while this blog isn’t really holiday related, the topic did spark a funny memory from Thanksgivings past — the “healthy” versus “puny” grandmother test.

Once I left for college I only saw my grandmothers at holidays and on special occasions and of course they both were quick to assess the weight situation the minute they saw me.

I remember one Thanksgiving when Grandma Davis told me she was going to tie rocks to me because she was afraid I was going to blow away. And Granny McCaig rated me as “puny” once or twice. Admittedly these were the grandmother evaluations I preferred.

However, the more consistent assessment from both grandmothers was “healthy” — not what I wanted to hear but always honest and accurate.

Do I really want to know?

It’s never easy to have our less than successful areas pointed out but it does provide an opportunity to improve.

Still we all handle critiques differently. Some welcome feedback and soak up every word tossed their way. Others dare you to say one thing that indicates they aren’t perfect. Many people fall somewhere in the middle with a healthy or semi-healthy view and application of constructive criticism.

The Alabama Baptist editorial staff and the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions communications staff are currently working together to broaden the evaluation process for work done among Baptist communicators.

The rating scale ranges from “needs improvement” to “excellent” with “good” falling in the middle. Someone receiving a ranking of “good” on this scale means they performed at an acceptable level. Their product or project was adequate.

Go big or go home

I’m sure you can guess by now that I’m not happy if my rankings aren’t tipping the scale off the right side. Not only do I want the “excellent” rating, but I also want a note indicating that my effort was beyond the scale.

Of course, I can’t achieve this in every area but it is still hard for me to receive an evaluation of “good” much less anything less than “good” — at least in the areas that are officially rated.

What about the parts of life that flow along rarely evaluated? Our time with the Lord, having clear minds during our time with the Lord, the amount of sleep we get, our stressed-induced appetites that keep us from being truly healthy, our quality of life in general.

And what about our knowledge level of areas in which we should be informed?

Are we faking our way through conversations?

A work colleague recently described how most people 45 and younger listen to or read news headlines only to be able to stay afloat in conversations they may find themselves in. He said they (we) really aren’t interested in understanding the full story or knowing all the details, they (we) merely want to know enough of the main points to contribute to the conversation.

That made me think of the latest election and how much time I spent researching the candidates and amendments on the ballot. I did some reading and research, but I certainly didn’t have a thorough understanding of the full ballot when I walked in to cast my vote. But sadly I was ahead of so many others my age who didn’t even slow down long enough to vote, much less register to vote.

Skimming the surface

And if this is how we are living life in general, what keeps us from skimming the surface of God’s word in the same way? Are we living on past encounters with the Lord rather than experiencing fresh ones every day? Are we consistently seeking Him at deeper levels?

My grandmothers would likely both agree my evaluation in spiritual disciplines would be “puny” and this time “puny” is not the desired ranking.

—Jennifer Davis Rash

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