Matthew 6: 25-26
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food , and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
My husband and my children are more important than myself. This thought, idea, rule to live by, is not new to me. I’ve heard it throughout my life as how I should feel about myself, and how I ought to treat others in my life, my family and close relationships to be specific. But over the past several weeks, I really feel like every time I hear this or read this, I’m learning it for the first time. I realize more every day, as I battle my thoughts, fears and anxiety, how selfish of a person I really am. I put my needs before those I love. I serve myself before I serve my husband. I make sure I’m taken care of before I take care of my kids. I am a selfish person. And yet, I walk around every day wondering why I have anxiety, why life is so unfair to me (oh the selfish thoughts I have!) Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t neglect my kids or my husband. But I’m rarely present when I’m with them. My mind wonders throughout my day, living in fear of what could happen or what weap over what I’ve been through. My thoughts are not guarded and I lose focus on where I am and what I should be doing. Now you may think that my actions don’t sound selfish, but indeed they are. I am more concerned with myself and what I’m feeling or dealing with, instead of how I can be serving my kids or my husband. It’s so important to be present in my kids’ lives and really enjoy them. Answering their questions without hesitation or sharpness. Saying yes to them, instead of saying no. Sheparding their hearts and instructing their minds instead of sending them off to play because I don’t have the energy to think. It’s important to spend quality time with my husband instead of doing the dishes. Asking him about his day and really listening to his words. Making a meal for dinner that he would enjoy, not just something I think we need to be eating. It’s important to take the time to pray with him, and pray for him. I’m not living my life as if my husband and kids are more important than me. I’m living a life filled with fear, anxiety and worry, and worst of all, a life of selfishness.
Cast all your anxiety on him becuase he cares for you.
Levi and I actually snuck away Sunday night and went to a movie. Holy moly it’s been a while since we’ve gone to a movie! I’m pretty sure the last movie we saw in the theatre was the second Hunger Games. Yikes! Anyhow, we saw The Shallows, with Blake Lively. Super intense movie, but definitely recommend it. After the movie, my mind began to wander off and I started to think about dying (depressing thoughts I have, I know). I often worry about dying early in my kids’ lives. I can hardly breathe when I go there. Blake Livley’s character in the movie, her mom died of cancer when she was young, and seeing that just reminds me of how that could happen to me. After confiding my thoughts to Levi, these words came out of my mouth: “I am afraid of life”. And I am. Totally! I live in fear of dying young or of Levi dying, of my kids getting sick, of gaining weight, of the bugs in my backyard! I live in fear of my marriage failing, of never having enough money, of never being enough for the ones I love. The amazing part of all of my fears is I really have no control over what happens in my life. Sure I can learn to save better, make sure I’m eating right and exercising, make a point it love my husband and appreciate who he is to me. I can make my kids my priority throughout my days at home and not my housework or blogging ;-). But in reality, I can’t just do it, make all of those changes, like it’s easy. It takes so much work to change my whole outlook on life. I need help from someone far greater than me and I need a transformation of my mind. And as a busy wife and mom, there aren’t enough hours in the day sometimes to pray, read and meditate on the truth.
Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.
Before our little Sunday evening getaway to the movies, we heard a pretty moving sermon at church that morning. Using Phillipeans chapter 2, which discusses in depth how we need to imitate Christ’s humility, our pastor spoke about improving our relationship with our spouse. At the core of his message was that if we could lose our selfishness and put our spouse first, and truly serve them unconditionally, oh how our relationship with them would change! That kind of thinking can really work for any relationship we have in our lives. When we make ourselves the center of the world and look for meaning, purpose and direction in people instead of God, we end up with ruined relationships. After processing and praying about that message, along with others I have heard over the past several weeks, my eyes are starting to open to the fact that, not only am I a selfish person, but I haven’t truly been trusting God with my life. I have this grip on my life so tight, that if I were to let go all of a sudden, I may fall backwards. Why don’t I trust God to handle my life? Is it because I’m afraid he will take away something I think I need? Or is it because I just fear letting go and having to trust Him to not hurt me? My heart knows He won’t (Psalm 147:3 He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds), but my head runs the show these days. I’m letting my past ruin my present. My ugly, destructive thoughts tell me that I’m not good enough or too selfish to truly serve my family. I’m distracted in everything that I do, and it’s hurting my relationships with those closet to me, and it’s hurting my relationship with God. I know there are other moms and women out there that deal with this same issue, and sometimes find themselves barely treading above water in their own lives. But I, you can defeat your thoughts, by retraining my/your mind and focus on what’s true in my/your life.
I think a lot about Mary and Martha in the Bible when praying about my heart and it’s distractions, and I think a lot of moms can relate to Martha. In Luke 10, we read that Jesus paid a visit to the home of Martha and her sister, Mary. While Martha is busy in the kitchen cooking and doing all of the preparations for Jesus, Mary is found sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to all He has to say. Mary’s sole focus was Jesus. Martha expresses frustration to Jesus, about how she is the only one working. What Jesus says in response to Martha’s frustration in verses 41-42 are what every mom, woman or servant of God needs to hear: “Martha, Martha…you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her”. What Mary has chosen is love. What we need to do, what God desires us to do is serve everyone out of love and adoration for God, for serving without adoration leads to aggravation. God has designed our relationships and our families to be a reflection of Him. How we serve each other, parent our children, love our spouses, do our housework, cook our meals, should be to glorify God. If we are doing it for ourselves, then it’s no wonder we become aggravated and anger and resentment make an appearance in our lives. Martha’s focus was on the mere fact that she was doing all of the work (and yes, if I knew that Jesus was coming over for dinner, I’d be all over the place making sure it was perfect for Him!) but Martha’s reason for all the work was not focused on Jesus. It was focused on herself. But don’t be too hard on Martha, her heart was in the right place. It should be a joy to serve the Lord! It shouldn’t be frustrating. And I think that’s where I fall short a lot of the time. I lose sight of why I’m a stay at home mom, why I am sacrificing certain things. I forget that everything I do should be to glorify God, not myself. Because everything I have, including my kids, are not mine anyway. They belong to God. And if I can refocus my reason for serving others, I have to imagine my life and relationships would change for the better!
Levi said I’m not living my life, I’m just waiting for something bad to happen. And he’s so right!!! I can’t remember the last time I genuinely thanked God for what He has given to me. I concentrate on the craziness of my kids instead of how amazing each one was molded for me. I have a complaining spirit when it comes to how much housework I have instead of thanking God that I have a home to clean. I get frustrated about meal planning and staying within a food budget, but take for granted that God gives us food to eat everyday. I struggle with my marriage because my husband and I have been through so many tough times and hearts have been broken. But what I should be concentrating on is that, by the grace of God, we are still together. These are the truths in my life, God shows me these truths everyday, but I have been choosing to focus on myself and try to get through things alone. I need God’s grace and His truth everyday, to help reshape my mind and guard my thoughts. I need Jesus’ humility when it comes to serving the people in my life. Otherwise I’m just serving myself, and I will miss out on the happiness and delight that God has for me. True humility, is the absence of self.
Have a Fabulous Day!