Friday, December 19, 2014

Getting Over Myself

I cannot explain the battle that takes place in my heart at times- sometimes in the early hours of the morning, before the sun has even touched the sky, sometimes in the middle of the day while putting lunch on the table, and sometimes late at night when I am looking forward to crawling under the warm covers and falling fast asleep. It is a battle of flesh and Sprit, of my sinful selfish nature and of my new nature in Christ. It is a battle in which my old nature so badly desires to complain, to "vent" to someone, to mope around so others can see how "tired" I am (which sounds embarrassingly stupid and childlike now, but always seems so satisfactory in the moment!), to cry, or to go about the motions of cooking dinner and doing laundry but with no joy, thankfulness, or kindness. But, thankfully, going against these fleshly desires is the Holy Spirit working in me, reminding me to give completely of myself- with my heart and not just my hands- joyfully, willingly, graciously; to deny myself and follow Jesus; to put the needs of others above my own. Some days, the victory over my sinful desires comes more naturally, but other days, this war inside of my heart can feel so extremely intense!

Recently, I was talking with another mom at church. She and her husband just welcomed their fourth baby into their family. I asked her how the transition was going, and she said it had been really easy. This surprised me at first, but then I thought, Yes, I've heard other moms say it gets easier the more children you have, because you get more relaxed about everything. So I nodded and made some sort of comment along those lines, "Yes, I've heard it gets easier because you're more laid back with each new baby." She smiled. Then, after a short pause, she added, "Yes, and you just get over yourself too!" I didn't know
exactly what she meant by that, but she went on, "When we had our second, I found myself having mini tantrums or pity-parties because I didn't get the sleep I felt like I deserved or was so focused on myself. But then, God helped me to just get over myself, and it's so much more joyful!"

Now, this conversation was so brief, and the other mom might not even remember any of the details of what either of us said, but her words have come to my mind over and over and over the last few weeks... "You just get over yourself." I just keep thinking, Wow, I have a LOT of myself to be getting over! But, I think that exactly how God uses motherhood in the lives of His daughters- to help them get over themselves! He patiently and gently teaches us to put the the interests and needs of others above our own, looking to His example (for He continually gave and gave and gave of His life for others- even to the point of suffering a torturous death on the cross for their (our) salvation). This is a daily lesson- put into practice in the "nitty-gritty" of mommyhood life- with each difficult night of little sleep, each cleaning of the smashed peas on the walls, each tender embrace as we rock our little ones to sleep, each shower-less day, each discouraging trip to the closet because our clothes don't fit quite right anymore. Mommyhood is a call to completely give of yourself to others- to give your body, your time, your sleep, your privacy, your quiet, your love, your heart, your mind, and your strength.

Thankfully, our loving Father gave us the greatest example of all to guide us.
(Phil. 2:3-13)
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death
        even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
Jesus gave up His life for me! I have not been called to die right now; I have been called to change the diapers of my sweet girl, to hold her in my lap and read to her, to comfort her in the middle of the night when she is teething or sick, to patiently tell her not to pull down the Christmas tree ornaments, to hold her tiny hands as I teach her to clap. My job as a mommy is so precious and special!

And, most days, I have no problem actually doing these things. The temptation comes in how I do them! If I miss some of the sleep I feel I "needed", I want to complain to Matt so he (or anyone really!) sees how "selfless" I am. If I have had to say "no" a hundred times one day, I am sure to tell Matt, again, so he can see how "difficult" my day has been. My heart is craving recognition, appreciation, sympathy... glory for myself, ultimately. But, Jesus is calling me, and all of His children, to not just give of themselves with their actions but also with their hearts!

One verse that He has been reminding me of often is Mark 10:45, which says that even Jesus (Who is God and deserved to be served!) did not come to the world to be served but to give His life for us. This is a challenge to me to be thinking each day, Okay, am I going about my day seeking to be served, recognized, appreciated, thanked, even if I am technically "serving"? Or am I following Jesus' example and looking to truly serve and give of myself to my husband and our little girl? 

I am thankful for the other mother's honesty and the reminder from God to keep looking to Jesus' example and learning how to "get over myself."

No comments:

Post a Comment