(I know this is marketed as a “bookish blog,” but I also said it would be a little extra. This is the little extra.)
This has been a tough season for me. I have really struggled to understand my place in the world as a mother– it’s hard to go from what I was before my son to what I am now. Honestly, every day is so similar to the one before that I feel it’s automatic action: I wake up in the night at least once or twice to take care of the baby, wake up when he does in the morning, feed him and count down to nap times, pray he naps longer than 30 minutes and then cringe when I hear him crying shortly after that mark. I eat hurried meals on the couch or standing in the kitchen, sometimes sitting on the floor while I beg him to let me finish the last few bites. I wait for my husband to get home so that I can clean whatever I couldn’t clean because the baby was unhappy/clingy/cuddly, and then hope there’s enough time leftover for a quick bath. I go to bed earlier (but more exhausted) than ever before.
So much of my value has hinged on my ability to be thoughtful. And when I say thoughtful, I don’t mean it in the kind and considerate sense (which is both embarrassing and shameful to admit), the “Oh, it was so thoughtful of you to bring a dish when you know I was feeling low,” or “You’re so thoughtful to consider me” way. I mean thoughtful in that I wanted my opinions to be heard and well-regarded. I wanted time to think and to have those thoughts heard. It’s hard to have thoughts (or hear the few thoughts you do have) when your day is filled with noise.
I think from the above paragraphs it’s probably easy to see how I tend to wallow in self-pity. I’m an Enneagram 5– we value our time and worry about our energy. Generally, I have less energy to give in the first place. Constantly serving DRAINS me, even serving those I love. I mourn deeply the loss of my time. Furthermore, I’m selfish with my time. I’m a stingy old time-monger. It’s not good, and I’m not proud of it. I’m not a natural nurturer. I don’t express/share my emotions well. Being a mother, being maternal, is not something that I come to with ease. It is HARD. It’s hard to constantly put people before myself, even people I love.
Resentment isn’t far behind self-pity. It’s no one else’s fault that I’m drained, but I am. And I get upset.
So here I am, sitting in self-pity for months. Angry because my life is no longer my own. Frustrated because I have no time for me. And suddenly I’m getting assaulted on all sides by the solemn truth.
THIS IS NOT MY LIFE.
The moment I gave my life to Christ all those years ago, I committed to live for him. These days, as much as they frustrate and challenge me, are not mine. In response to my commitment to living for him, he gave me the days and the life and the choices to make for myself– that doesn’t mean I own them.
So I’m sitting in church on Sunday, juggling a squirmy munchkin, as our supply pastor begins teaching on Psalm 146. He reminds us worship is not to be an aspect of life, but it is to be life. We are to live worshipfully. And while I love the concept, I have not been implementing it into my everyday. I mope. I whine. I sigh. These actions have never been equivalent to praise. I’m not thankful, and I struggle with even the smallest moments of gratitude. I feel that heavy presence in my chest that all Christians recognize as conviction.
Then, Monday morning, I’m reading my daily devotional (Pressing Pause) when I read these words:
“It is the Lord Himself we serve as we enthusiastically check off our ‘whatevers.’ Not a husband. Or kids. Not a boss or the committee or chairperson. We are serving Jesus Christ Himself as we work.”Pressing Pause, pg. 21
I just know that I love worship; I love the act of praising someone who deserves it, who has taken my life and transformed it. It pains me that I have created a lifestyle so wholly life-absorbed, but I know that this not-so-subtle message from my Savior is a wake up call, and it’s time to give humility a shot.
A shot at service.
A shot at patience.
A shot at missional motherhood.
A shot at being better.
A shot at worship.