Yesterday I started a series about how we as Christian moms can cultivate the biblical perspective found in Psalm 127:
Psalm 127: 3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children[a] of one’s youth.
5 Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
Before we begin to cultivate this heart that views children as a reward, inheritance, and blessing from God, let’s think about what makes us view our children as burdens and inconveniences. There are so many factors that can contribute to this perspective, but three came to mind when I considered my own life and history as a mom. Today, I want to talk about the first one: Misplaced priorities.
During times when my overarching feeling toward my children is that they are a burden, I can almost always step back and see that my priorities are out of whack. Generally, this means I have probably been overly ambitious in what I can accomplish during the current season of motherhood. What makes this hard to detect at times is the things that I’m trying to accomplish are usually good. Maybe I’m having more hospitality. Maybe I’m writing more. Maybe I’m trying to sell things on Craigslist to make a little vacation money. These are all good things, but if I start to notice that I am too tired or irritable to enjoy my kids, then I need to look at the list again and start re-aligning my priorities so my husband and children get the best of my energy and effort.
One helpful illustration a pastor gave was about his friend who was accustomed to running on a treadmill for exercise. His friend noticed one week that he wasn’t able to get to the same distance as easily lately. At the end of the week, he realized that the treadmill had been set at a .5 degree incline. It was just .5 degrees, but it made a huge difference in what he was able to accomplish. I think life for moms is full of .5 inclines. Maybe it’s a sick child, a teething baby, a husband working long hours, a head cold, any little thing that sets the normal pace of life at a bit of an incline. Are you feeling burdened lately by what used to feel routine? Maybe there’s a .5 incline that needs to be accommodated. You may want to make life easier somewhere else for that temporary season so that you save energy for your little “blessings”.
In the past, I would look at videos from my early years with the kids and cringe. There’s the video of the boys in the bath tub with the black mold ring around the perimeter. There’s one where they are dancing and in the background there’s a pile of unfolded laundry on the chair. Every piece of furniture was handed down. Not a picture graced my walls. My hair was in a chronic pony tail. My uniform, sweatpants and Jason’s shirt. I used to look at those videos and think, “wow! were ever in survival mode!!!” And we were. But after thinking through this concept of looking at priorities I am now re-thinking those videos. They represent my (of course, inconsistent) effort to keep my priorities right. I didn’t have time or energy to decorate the house, do my hair and makeup, go to the library for mommy and me (oh my gosh, the idea of that with 3 boys under 3 makes me have palpitations even now!), or even bleach the moldy caulk in my bathtub. But we were finding time to laugh at their naked, chubby, soap covered bodies. We found time to play freeze dance. And eventually…I found time to upgrade my wardrobe to include jeans. So, if your house isn’t as clean as you’d like, or your clothing isn’t as fashionable as you’d like, or you’re not able to do pre-school basketball at the YMCA, be encouraged! You may not just be in survival mode. You may be living by your priorities!
You know what is amazing? Jesus had .5 inclines in life here on earth! That is such good news for moms for at least two reasons. First, the creator of the universe, the all-powerful One humbled Himself and became a man who was tired, hungry, and thirsty, so that he could truly understand human frailty as our sympathetic, Great High Priest.
Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Because of Jesus, we have access to the throne of grace and can find help in our time of need. We are more aware of that need when life is at an incline. Let’s run to him for forgiveness if we have been viewing the blessings He gave us as burdens and inconveniences. Let’s run to Him for wisdom to know what needs to stay, and what we can let go of for right now. Let’s run to Him for extra strength every day, and especially on those days when the energy seemed to wear out at noon.
The second reason Jesus’ humanity is such good news for us is that He was in every respect tempted as we are, yet without sin. Jesus was dealing with seeming interruptions, antagonistic pharisees, demanding crowds, and slow-learning disciples, yet He never sinned. He perfectly obeyed the will of the Father. And what is amazing is that His record of perfect obedience has been credited to us who have placed saving faith in Him. So whether you viewed your children as the blessing they are, or whether you succumbed to the temptation to view them as burdens, your righteousness is found in the perfect performance of Another. Thank You, Jesus!
So what about you? What are the .5 inclines in your life? Where have you made accommodations to keep your priorities straight? How can you bring the truth of the incarnation, that God became a man and dwelled among us, to bear on your life today?
I really would love to hear from you. Please make this a discussion. Let’s take it to the comment box, shall we?