On Laying Aside “What I Think I Deserve” to Follow Jesus (as a Mother)
I feel that God is calling me to a deeper life. (And you!)
This is a shift that’s happened subtly over the past several months. Somewhere along the line I began surrendering my expectations about my life to God.
These were expectations of things like comfort, help, control, sleep, breaks, entertainment, pampering, “me time,” goals, date-nights and personal pursuits.
I began letting go of my plans and entitlements, my ideas of what life should be. I began to surrender my life to Jesus on a new level –not just on a big-picture scale, but on a today, in-this-moment sort of way. It’s been a very slow process… but it’s beginning to take root. And it looks a lot like trust in God.
I have reached countless breaking points since becoming a mother, all of which paved the way for unprecedented spiritual growth and depth with God. I am exceedingly grateful for each of these times.
And somewhere after my third baby was born, I hit the end of myself.
At some point, I began to function out of God’s strength rather than my own. I began to walk in step with Him and to follow Him in each moment, rather than to demand my rights or advocate for my own “happiness” or ease of living. (I don’t do this perfectly! But I’m living and thinking this way more than ever.)
This is, in part, what facilitated my decision to submit to God’s leading in my life to homeschool next year. I’ll be honest, that didn’t fit my image of what would be in my personal, day-to-day best interests.
But suddenly, “my best interests” are mattering less, and I’m learning to trust God more. In doing so, I’m creating an opportunity to experience His miraculous provision in my life. It’s already happened with inexplicable excitement, joy and enthusiasm for this next season of home school.
This new perspective of surrender has other implications as well.
It means guarding my mouth to keep from complaining. It means not closing myself off to things that God might call me to do.
It means choosing joy and gratitude every day, laying down my life, trusting God with outcomes and letting go of control.
It means surrendering my plans –giving them to God with open hands.
So for example, I currently have three children, and this is exactly what my husband and I have always said we wanted. Plus, we are also more than content with the level of sacrifice and responsibility that three children require. So on paper, we’re definitely done having kids.
What’s more, I have struggled with anxiety and overstimulation since the third was born. I’ve experienced new levels of sleep-deprivation, felt stuck at home, and have had no choice but to step back from ministry, leadership roles and even friendships. There is NO doubt that my best interests dictate that this having babies thing be done.
Not to mention that with every little person we bring into the world, we make our financial situation just that much more strained. Plus the physical strain of pregnancy and so on.
So we should be done having kids, right? By the world’s standards… yes! My the measure of “me,” yes!
But in God’s eternal, glorious, kingdom-level, bigger-than-my-self-pity plan? Maybe or maybe not.
To be clear, I do still feel that our family is complete, but this is one of the things I have felt moved to surrender to God.
Because I’m realizing that the purpose of my life is not comfort or ease. Truly, this life is nothing more than a mist in the wind. How wrongly we often evaluate it’s value, to our great folly! We pursue all the wrong things when we spend our brief moments on the earth consumed with self and pursuing present rewards rather than having the faith to laying up treasures in heaven through obedience and kingdom work instead.
When I am willing to follow God unreservedly, I get to experience the unparalleled blessings of His provision and favor both now and eternally. And if this life doesn’t look how I think I deserve for it to look, I’m learning that that’s okay too.
When I reach the end of myself there is the glorious free-fall of trust. This is where the adventure is found. This is the life lived abundantly!
And it’s truly rich.