“He thinks only of what he wants and he does not ask himself whether he ought to want it.”
-Bernard Of Clairvaux
There is rich beauty in our mundane, normal, ordinarily
I recently received a call from a friend who had worked ever so diligently toward a huge goal. She entered her name into a competition and then proceeded to sacrifice her time, sleep, money, effort, energy, marriage, and family in hopes of her winning it all. In the end, when her name wasn’t chosen, she was not only depressed, but angry. At one point in our conversation she voiced the true reason for the anger in her loss. Her response was weighty. After a long pause she said…
“I want to be more than just a mom.”
Being ‘just a mom’ simply isn’t enough for her. The role of motherhood is no longer significant enough for her.
Mom + something significant = happy, meaningful life.
And gosh her words were convicting.
Nowadays it would seem that adding all sorts of roles on top of motherhood is the only appropriate lifestyle. I too have become restless with the mundane. I have allowed my thoughts to wander with desire of making an “epic splash in the sea of ordinary.” Just like my friend, I want to stand out too, to make a difference. To matter.
“I desire to be common, mundane, normal, unexceptional, monotonous, routine, average, usual…” said no one ever.
The ordinary, at times, is unsatisfying.
Often I dream of walking in patent heels on red carpets not hanging out un-showered with bare feet in my unswept kitchen.
Thoughts of doing more, of accomplishing more, of BEING more fill my heart and mind. I am distracted. I race with the desire for new ideas, new plans, new hopes and new dreams…
…but desires are like fireworks…
Handled wisely, they fill the night sky with light, color, beauty, and delight. Handled poorly and they can burn an entire home down.
My home. Your home.
The absence of my consideration to these misfired desires is making me ragged. Why am I bored with the routine? Why do I groan at the mundane? Why am I dissatisfied with the ordinary?
Why do I think my “job” is insignificant?
James 4:1-2 says “Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.”
The desires for celebrity, consumption, immediate gratification, and attention have tainted my views of my God-given role in motherhood.
“I’m made for more,” I mutter under my breath as I sweep up the goldfish crumbs for the 16th time today.
“I shouldn’t be the one to have to clean this mess up,” I say aloud as I pour out the bathwater that has been dumped into the bathroom trash can.
“There’s got to be a better, more meaningful use of my time,” I tell myself as I sit down to fold the 14th load of laundry this week.
Something more eloquent. Something more glamourous. Something more influential. I should be somewhere else, doing something else.
The normal, every day is not enough. And pride is at the root of it.
The focus on something grand “out there” steals the joy
of the ordinary “in here.”
At times I catch myself daydreaming of my own desires and completely miss the little voices right by my side. Often I am interrupted in the midst of my big, grand daydream of marvelousness by the sound of my name being called to come and wipe my toddler’s rear after he has pooped.
It’s humbling to say the least. But such a great reminder.
I often do not realize how these distracting thoughts of doing something “better” are like a disease that eats away at the joy of my soul.
And that disease doesn’t just affect me. My family suffers for it.
- My desires are misguided if my idea of greatness involves looking past the eyes of those little ones who look up toward me every day.
- My desires are off track if my role in motherhood becomes nothing more than a stepping stone toward something better and beyond.
- I completely miss the mark when those who are most precious to me suffer for the sake of the fulfillment of my “other” desires.
“Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly” (1 Peter 5:2, emphasis mine). Of course, Peter speaks to pastors here, but I honestly believe the truth is relevant for us mothers as well.
To love, serve, and strive for the sake of our family is a noble and honorable task. It requires a great deal of patience, love, joy, steadfast determination, humbleness, a whole lot of grace, and tunnel vision for what matters most.
“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”
Daily I must choose to redefine and reprioritize what I value most and continue to bend my definition of greatness to the one Jesus not only gives for us, but was the perfect example of:
“But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:43-45 ESV)