Christian Living · encouragement

When You Don’t Receive the Recognition You Deserve

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“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”

~ C.S. Lewis

One challenge of choosing stay-at-home parenthood is the dealing with perceptions. In my younger years, I was a girl of great ambitions. I graduated second in my high school class and graduated college with honors, even after switching my major and adding a minor. As I neared college graduation, one of my professors asked me what I planned to do with my life. Would I go to grad school? What company did I hope to work for? Would I seek to be a company VP? I answered, “I hope to be a graphic designer, but if I get married and have children, I would like to be a stay-at-home mom.” 

He chuckled and shook his head. “It won’t happen—you’re far too ambitious for any of that. You’d be bored out of your mind.” 

Boredom is hardly a problem when you have three kids, each of whom are twenty months apart. Throw homeschooling in the mix and all this mom wants is the freedom to be bored—alone—for at least an hour. Boredom is not my problem; I struggle with pride.

Like most adults, any introduction often involves the discussion of work or career. When I tell someone I am a stay-at-home mom (and homeschooler), subsequent questions and comments take on new shades of meaning:

“What do you do all day?”

“You’ll be lost when they leave home.”

“You’re at home so you must have time for _______.”

“Will you go back to work when they graduate?”

“Oh, I could never do that, I would be____________.”

Tell people you stay home with kids and there is often an automatic assumption that you are lazy, unambitious, or uneducated. I have felt the sting as people turn away, not wanting to hear about my “mundane” life. I recently had someone talk about me like I wasn’t even there, and I was sitting right next to them! I had an “aha” moment as I realized that my feelings were wounded because of my own selfish pride.

Even if you work full-time outside the home, you may have been made to feel as though your job was not glamorous enough to merit someone’s respect or attention. I could attempt to inspire you to “feel good about yourself,” but it is of greater value to take Christ’s approach. Our culture is all about self—self-improvement, self-help, selfies, and me-time. We wants likes, follows, shares. We want recognition. 

As a child of God, we are called to counter this self-serving, self-glorifying culture: 

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

~ Philippians 2.3-8, ESV

This text in Philippians calls us to have the mind of Christ. Even in human form, Jesus deserved all praise and honor, yet received little. He counted you and I of enough value to come to earth, live as a humble human, and die a violent death. He emptied Himself, showing us the way to live. If my Lord emptied Himself for me, I should do likewise for Him.

Regardless of “what you do for a living,” living for Jesus is of greater value. We can live for Jesus no matter how lowly or how lofty our position in life.

I long to be recognized, but the Lord calls me to serve without recognition. 

I love to care for myself, but Jesus calls me to care for others first. 

I want earthly affirmation, but Jesus asks me to seek God’s ultimate affirmation—“Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord.” 

It does not matter what others think of my chosen career or of me. Even if my own children or husband fail to recognize my efforts on their behalf, it is of no consequence. I serve a God who sees every labor of love. This same God calls me to let go of my pride and serve with humility. I need to think of myself less and consider others more. 

The next time someone slights you, do two things:

  1. Remember that our achievements and/or career are of little worth compared to the gift we have in Christ. We are God’s adopted children. We carry His name. We are fashioned in His image. It is God who gives us worth, not we ourselves.
  2. Take your pain to Him in prayer. Jesus knows what it is like to be humiliated, insulted, and slighted, and He cares. Lay the pain at His throne and ask Him to work through you, transforming the pain into compassionate service:

Lord, you see all my efforts and you recognize the pride in my heart. Teach me to empty myself and imitate Jesus’ example of humble service. Please fill my heart with your strength, your peace, and your love so I can pour it out to others. Remove the fog of selfishness from the lens of my heart so I can see clearly and serve effectively. 

When I fail, Lord, forgive. 

When I feel wounded, be the healer of my heart. 

When I forget, point me back to the cross.

In all my efforts, Lord, may you be glorified. May my work show that Christ truly is living in me.

In His name, Amen.


This article originally appeared at the Courage.com. For more articles on faith family and culture, click here.

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16 thoughts on “When You Don’t Receive the Recognition You Deserve

  1. Oh amen! Good post. I have really struggled with pride and offense too, and people saying awful things like, “So, when are you actually going to DO something useful with your life?” Arrggg…..

    A bit funny, I have taken this lamentation to the Lord many times and He has pointed out the He actually died for the sins of mankind and to this day, people do not give Him the recognition He deserves. The Lord gets it, He understands, He’s been there a thousand times, maybe a million. His heart however, really is with those who love and care for others and He actually says of the woman with the perfume, “Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

    Those are some powerful words! We are so valued by the Lord, so seen and recognized, that He places the very essence of who we are, right alongside the gospel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well-said, my friend! I am learning more and more how much Jesus really understands our feelings. As you point out, He has done more for anyone than any of us can claim to have done and He receives so little appreciation. Thank you for your encouraging comment, IB!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent, Elihu! Your transparency coupled with your godly wisdom makes this post so powerful! Yes, right now you serve and put your ambition aside. But when your children graduate (trust me on this) you will still have time to pursue your dreams! I’m sure you know that… but I wanted to cheer you on today! Love and hugs!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the encouragement! I’m trying very hard to enjoy these days with my kids now because I know they’ll be gone in a flash. I don’t want to chase other ambitions or dreams and miss out on this truly awesome gift. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like a gift, but I need to remember it is and not take it for granted. Love your encouragement! May God bless you!

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  3. Thanks for sharing a bit of your journey!

    “Regardless of “what you do for a living,” living for Jesus is of greater value. We can live for Jesus no matter how lowly or how lofty our position in life.” Amen to this, hard to remember but important to hold on to what you have said.

    My wife has chosen to be a stay at home wife and its been an interesting process. I get it but when it comes to others asking “Has Brandie got a job yet”. You know the rest lol

    Thanks for the 2 things to do when someone slights you

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know about those questions for sure… haha!

      I get the impression from my parents that many housewives during the 1950s and 60s were rather lazy/unmotivated. Perhaps that is where the stereotype emerged, but I’m not sure.

      I think choosing to stay at home is a prime opportunity for quiet service. When the kids went to Public school, I could volunteer quite a bit at their school, be a chaperone on field trips, and that sort of thing. There’s also a little more time to help others.

      May the Lord bless your family in your journey with Him!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh dear. You have shared your feelings. I am glad. I tell you, being a house wife is a 24×7×365 days job. I prefer moms to be at home. But I leave it to moms to take the call. I appreciate that you took up the challenge. You are serving the Lord by serving the three souls and disciples God gave under your care. God bless you.

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    1. Thanks! I am very grateful that the Lord made it possible for me to do this. For a long time we didn’t think we would be able to afford it.

      I have several friends that simply cannot because it isn’t financially possible. I firmly believe that whether one chooses to stay at home or work, do all to God’s glory. It’s hard being a mom and working outside the home too! I know so many have spent more than a few mornings driving to work in tears and others who are simply exhausted.

      My mom couldn’t stay home, but she still made every effort to give me a lot of her time and affection. As an old friend once said, “there are good moms who work at home, and good moms who work outside the home (the reverse is also true).” I hope to encourage moms in both circumstances. 😊

      Thank you again for the encouragement and may the Lord bless you also.

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      1. Thanks Elihu for a wonderful reply. Yes, my wife is a working mother. She is a good home manager and fantastic MD. She handles everything so well. I really praise God for providing such a supportive and multitasking more than better half.😀🙏👆👌

        Liked by 1 person

  5. A bought a great E-Book by Tim Keller. It is called, “The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness.” The concept is great. We focus on what we are doing wrong. If we focus on what we are doing right, the focus is still on us. But, for us to decrease and for Christ to increase. We must forget about ourselves and focus on Christ. Good post.

    Liked by 1 person

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