Motherhood: The continual process of laying down my rights.
Perhaps I think that by now, I should have this mastered…this whole giving up my rights for another- namely small humans under the age of 4. Ha! I am slowly understanding that this will be a life-long process.
One of my biggest missions in life is to be honest, in every season of life. We, as mothers, get caught up in this big comparison game way too often…and mostly those comparisons are about how amazing someone else is. Do we ever compare our failures? Yes- sometimes, in jest, we admit to the occasional freak out when another mom is struggling but are we willing to lay it all out there?
I struggle a lot with selfishness. I want what I want, when I want it, how I want it. It’s a battle each day to let go. Last week in my Beth Moore Bible study homework I was struck with one huge arrow to my heart.
Within the context of living a crucified life (having accepted Jesus as my Savior), there are many truths I believe. The one that was highlighted to me so blaringly last week was entitled “You must forego your rights.” Whoa. Now, contrary to popular American belief this is not a bad thing, because we still have the best and only right we need- to be filled and led by the Holy Spirit. I so often get stuck believing the lie that I can do things better and my way is best. And while I still struggle daily with this, it is becoming more and more apparent to me that I cannot do it better and my way is never best. This doesn’t often matter though, because I’m so bad at giving up control- aka: selfish. But God.
What I realized through this study is that I usually just try to ignore my rights, suppress the desire to shower, to eat when I want, to keep my clothing clean…my right to alone time, quiet time, uninterrupted time…my right to be understood in this season, to be heard, to develop deep friendships, my right to have fun, to craft…and probably my most enviable right- to sleep. I just shove those rights down into a large box in my heart entitled I-know-what-a-good-mother-and-Christian-should-look-like until I have no energy left and then bam! My poor husband, my usual victim, gets a load of the most selfish grossness you’ve ever seen and then, if I’m lucky, I repent and start all over. Gross.
Yet, hope is offered. Change is available. God didn’t just say “give up your rights and live a horribly difficult life”. No, he offers a gift. But in order to receive His gift, I cannot just ignore my rights…instead I must surrender them to Christ and ask Him to replace them with a supernatural work of the Spirit: with healing, with power, with wisdom! What a promise!!! I don’t have to just give it all up and live in self-pity for the rest of my life. No, I get to have victory because it’s God doing the work. Continually I am reminded; I have not because I ask not. It’s not enough to surrender my rights…I have to ask Him to replace them. Replace my wicked heart with His beautiful one. He’s a kind Father and won’t force me into this- yet He promises life to the fullest in Him if I will. And the best part is that He loves when I craft and when I sleep…my desires aren’t bad, they are just prioritized incorrectly. Surrendering them doesn’t mean that I won’t get to enjoy these things ever again… no, in fact, it means that when they happen, my heart will actually be grateful for them- which is a far better feeling.
I know that before motherhood, there were millions of times to put this into practice and perhaps I succeeded occasionally. I love being a mother. I always wanted children and now that I have them, I am so continuously grateful to Jesus for their lives. But I refuse to live the lie that tells people- women specifically- that your life is complete once you have them. Sanctification is the process with which God uses to purify us, to make us holy. He uses whatever He wants to bring about this cleansing. My hope and prayer is that I will surrender to His plans in this season of my life and say yes, every time. Only with His grace, His power, is that possible.
Motherhood is my battlefield right now…what’s yours?