Two weeks ago a group of ladies from my parish and I completed Danielle Bean’s Momnipotent Book Study. Through the process we grew closer, got to know ourselves better, and learned how the unique traits that make us women can easily turn from gift to curse if we’re not careful. For instance, our appreciation and love of beauty can turn into vanity if left unchecked. Our gift of sensitivity can take over our lives and turn us into riders on an emotional roller coaster. It gave me a new perspective on our feminine strengths and weaknesses. I have to say that overall the study strengthened my resolve and renewed my sense of purpose as a mother. It reminded me of how important the role of “mother” is in the world even if the world doesn’t know it!
The study materials come with a DVD set that has eight videos of Danielle along with several other mothers discussing the issue of the week. One quote from the videos has really stuck with me. The special guest was talking about our tendency to compare ourselves with others and (for most of us) fall short. To sum it up she said, “Keep your eyes on your own paper!” I had to laugh at the unexpected use of the phrase. When I think about “my own paper”, I fly back in time to elementary school when we stood our folders up on our desk to keep prying eyes from stealing our answers. I had never thought of it as a warning against envy.
But it’s true! We don’t need to worry about other people’s “answers” we just need to do our best with our own. Our value isn’t dependent upon the value of others around us. If my best friend is beautiful and smart it doesn’t mean that I’m NOT beautiful and smart. No, our value as a person stands alone.
Recently our pastor has started a homily series on the seven deadly sins using Dante’s Inferno as a starting point. He talked about the punishment Dante gave the envious-their eyelids were sown shut with wire. While it does seem awfully harsh, the point is there. The envious spend too much time looking at others and wanting what they have. They need to stop focusing on others and instead look within themselves. I guess when your eyelids are sown shut, you don’t have a choice. But, just for the record, I don’t recommend trying this tactic. Instead, just remember the phrase, “Keep your eyes on your own paper.” Do your best to live by those words and you should be just fine.
Copyright 2015 Laura Nelson