It was my first night out in quite some time. Partially because of budget. Definitely because of time and busyness. The last month seems to have flown by at a breakneck pace. The daytime hours crawl, slowly sapping my energy and then the evening hours fly when I’ve got nothing left to give and my own projects get abandoned by the wayside.
Because the truth is, I come second. Now before everyone jumps on the “take care of yourself” topic. Yes, I believe self-care is important. However, I also want to highlight an important truth. I will always come second. It is the essence of marriage, the very basis of parenting. It is part of my calling.
I am not a martyr nor a doormat. But I am called to die to self and serve others. For me this looks like my husband and family. For others it means leaving behind their own goals and ambitions to serve a higher calling of public service, volunteer or mission work. In our self-centered culture, it’s easy to buy into the idea that what I want matters most. I believe the lie sometimes. I get angry when my plans are derailed or my quiet moments are interrupted. I often have a bad attitude about it. I know that what we are asked to do isn’t easy. But it is still what we are asked to do. To be second. To devote ourselves to the work of God and to be in his service, however that might look.
For me, it should mean letting go of my own ego when I feel like so much off what I do is beneath me. I mean come on, I live in the culture that tells me full-time motherhood is a yuppie luxury at best or waste of time at worst. If it makes me happy, go ahead but make sure I preserve my career and ambitions for when the kids are gone. Even in those mother trenches don’t forget to look out for number one. But if you don’t enjoy every single minute of the daily drudgery than forget it, delegate it and pursue what makes you feel fulfilled regardless of the cost.
I am not for a minute making a statement about how women chose to parent, whether they work full time or not and any other number of lifestyle decisions. In fact, I’m highlighting the one thing we all have in common. We’re all asked to serve with a heart of joy and gratitude. It goes against every tenet of our culture and it chafes against my selfish human will. Sometimes I just don’t want to, and I let everyone around me know. This is not as it should be.
Yes, I can be honest that I don’t love every minute. Let’s face it, none of us do. But I can couch it in gratitude and joy for the blessings. I can make positive statements to help balance out the negatives. I really hate doing laundry. But I’m grateful that I have a washer and dryer that help expedite the process and that my children have enough clothing to keep them covered no matter the weather. These are luxuries most the world lacks.
My evenings at Panera sipping hot chocolate and pouring out my words into a laptop are not a human right. It is a wondrous gift. When life gets in the way and it doesn’t happen. I need to beware of the entitlement that wants to rise up in me and say “Wait, but I’m owed this. I work hard.” Yes, we all work hard and it’s great when we feel like our work is recognized and honored. But that doesn’t change the fact that we are called to be servants, to work only to please our Father. Not to earn his love but because of it.