Friday, November 14, 2008

Two things I read yesterday

In an interview with a prominent speaker and author in a leading Christian women’s magazine, the interviewee told of her experience as a young wife and mother saying “I felt neglected. And I hated my life. I mean, hated it. Okay? And then I started hating my husband. I felt like I was doing everything for everybody and getting nothing in return.” She went to the doctor who gave her the advice to “go out and get a job, to do something to satisfy me.” He also instructed her to talk to herself with only affirming, positive messages: “so I looked in the mirror and started talking to myself. I still do that. Every day I tell myself how cute I am. We can’t wait for people to affirm us or our joy goes underground.” At this point in her life, she testifies: “I began to find me.”

This makes me sad. While she says some things that are indeed true, like we cannot frame our sense of worth around the affirmation of others, I am sad that serving her husband and children as a stay at home mom is seen as “getting nothing."

I know, I know, some moms must work, I get that. Some moms see their jobs as their calling from God, I get that too. But what I hear here is that raising children is an unfulfilling, unsatisfying task and that, for this author being interviewed, preserving her sense of self was more important and more critical than being home. Truly there are a myriad of reasons why women choose to work, but she had to “find herself”? I can’t help but think of Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:39, calling His disciples to lose themselves for His sake.

Sure, being a mom is hard. Sure, I have days just like you and just like this author where I feel lost, where I feel like I’m getting nothing in return for my efforts, when I’d give anything for a “real” job with “real” accomplishment. Days like today where I feel trapped in an endless cycle of mundane, pointless tasks and I resent every single one of them. But then I remember: I am not called to satisfy me, to affirm myself, nor to find myself. My calling is not to my comfort, but to the cross of my Lord Jesus.

From Death by Love from Mark Driscoll:
The theology of glory celebrates what human beings can do based on their personal vision, self-discipline, and hard work. The theology of the cross celebrates what Jesus alone can accomplish for us, through us, with us, and in spite of us. The theology of glory seeks to know God directly in his power, wisdom, success and glory. The theology of the cross seeks to know God through the seeming weakness, folly, failure, and shame of the crucified Jesus. The theology of glory seeks to use God to avoid suffering, hardship, pain, shame, loss and failure. The theology of the cross seeks to see suffering, hardship, pain, shame, loss and failure as opportunities to grow in an understanding, appreciation, and emulation of the crucified Jesus. The theology of glory seeks to use God to obtain health and wealth. The theology of the cross seeks Jesus, even if that should mean experiencing pain and poverty like Jesus.
Also,
At the cross of Jesus, we learn that to be like Jesus means we pick up our cross and follow him as he commanded (Matt. 16:24). Practically, this means that we glorify God by allowing hardship, pain and loss to make us more and more like Jesus. The false teaching of American Christianity Lite is that comfort is a virtue and pain a vice.
While I certainly wouldn't equate being a stay at home mom with suffering (though there are times...), the thought occurred to me: we are all theologians and our theology, what we profess to believe (or not) about God, manifests itself in the way we live, perhaps most particularly for we women in our roles as wives and moms. To which theology do I subscribe? My comfort? Or the cross?

He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matt. 10:39

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ... Gal. 2:20

For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Cor. 2:2

8 comments:

  1. Beautiful, timely post that really spoke to me today. Thank you.

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  2. AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!

    And THANK YOU! I needed the encouragement this morning. Sometimes I feel like if I hear the words "play mommy!" one more time I'll SCREAM! I don't WANT to play cars. I don't WANT stop everything I'm doing to change another poopy diaper. You know the list. It's endless. I want to do my own thing and feel like I'm accomplishing a whole lot for my own sake.

    I TRY to remember that he won't be in this stage forever and that I should play when I'm still being asked to play. But it's easy to think of other things.

    So thanks for the encouragement!

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  3. Well said, my friend. In this Me Generation, putting others first is a foreign concept.

    Twenty-five years ago in nursing school I had an encounter with my instructor over my disagreement about how they were pushing us to be assertive with the doctors. Being obnoxious was more like it. I "got" that nurses should not be doormats. But she never did understand my point. She actually told me "Jesus wants you to be assertive." Um, yeah.

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  4. Yeah, you are right on. That article would've made me sick. What are we to be seeking? Comfort? Affirmation from others? Fulfillment in stuff/wealth/career/etc? No, God says "Seek My face", not find yourself. True contentment only comes when we desire Him above all, no matter where we are in life.

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  5. Thank you. I needed that today.

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  6. I feel convicted about telling myself how cute I am in the mirror now. Thanks for this.(c:

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  7. Good word Lisa. When I read the Scriptures I really don't feel all that much better about myself. The more I read of the Scriptures, the smaller I seem to be and the more massive and beautiful the Lord seems to be. I think that is why Paul said, "may I never boast except in the cross of Christ," because he realized that in and of himself he has nothing good to offer--everything worthwhile and good in him has been won by Christ's sacrifice on the cross.

    Deep down we don't need to see how wonderful we are as much as we need to see how beautiful and gracious and good and holy our great God is and how bountiful His grace to us in Christ is!

    Also, for what it is worth, I thank God when I think of mothers like you who are seeking by God's grace to make a spiritual impact on their families.

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