I don’t know about you. But when I think about the list of adjectives I one day want to precede the description of my life as a girl that loves Jesus…
Meaningless is not one of them.
Nor self-centered or self-seeking.
In fact, if I were honestly choosing the kind of adjectives I’d prefer to describe the things I did with my life. I’d probably stick with words like…
I mean how else can I “Go out and make disciples of all ages, nations, and races…” without going and living in a remote village overseas or writing a book or passing out care packages to the homeless on the street?
For awhile as a young married girl with *no kids* that kind of faith was the kind I was able to partake in. No, I wasn’t doing missions overseas. But I taught Sunday School, volunteered with youth, hosted a weekly Bible Study in my house and worked at a church where I was able to participate in community mission projects.
And at the time, I was rather pleased with the impact I was making on the world around me. Because I was subconsciously doing all of “significant” things I knew would please God. And I felt good.
But then, oh then.
Everything changed when I gave birth to a sweet, little, adorable high-maintenance baby.
And it suddenly felt like my life was unable to do the things I’d always done that really mattered.
I’ll never forget the day I realized my time (and my life) was no longer my own. But shared with the needs of a little one.
One Saturday morning, Guy and I both had our usual unspoken lists of all of the things we wanted and *needed* to accomplish that Saturday. That for the four previous years, we had always done in tandem with no need for negotiation.
Problem was, we now had a little baby boy that needed at least one of us with him. So both of us went full on attorney at one another presenting our best evidence and case for court as to why our agenda was more important for that day. Because if you know either of us, we relax by being productive.
“Well the grass is really long and I need to go and get new line for the weed eater because I know how you think weeds are tacky.”
“Well I know how you like clean laundry and we’re out of detergent and if I don’t have time to get some then we won’t have anything clean for tomorrow.”
“Right but I also need to go get filters for the air conditioner….blah blah blah.”
“Right but I have that baby shower tomorrow and if I don’t get a gift today then I will be rushed….blah blah blah.”
And I guess my court skills weren’t quite as refined as his, because later that evening, as I set holding my sweet baby while Joe mowed the lawn, I remember thinking to myself. “Wait, so when will I get the laundry done? And that errand run? And that gift purchased? And a nap (hahahahahahahahaha)?”
Then this shocking realization hit me like 3 boxes of diapers in the head…
“Wait, is the most productive thing I’ve done today love on a baby and change 6 dirty diapers?!”
Then the harsh reality of what productivity with children looks like.
And I realized the answer was a big, fat YES.
Fast forward two more kids later, I have pretty much mastered the art of multitasking with life and kids. I can somehow breastfeed, shower and clean my shower all at the same time. I can do my grocery shopping with kids crying and whining while having an in-depth conversation with my sister without batting an eye. I can exercise, feed kids breakfast and walk the dog all while reading my email.
But my me-directed free time is mostly non-existent. The time when I would should be going out and doing things that make the type of real impact God is calling me to make.
And if it does appear, it is brief and normally at a time of day when I can’t keep my eyes open (unless I use toothpicks).
Then when I do try and do just basic things like take them all to church or attend a Bible study, by the time I just get them fed, dressed, diapered, napped, pay a babysitter and over separation anxiety (or not in the case of Fisher), I feel like I have run a flippin’ marathon and have NO energy or desire to go and try something harder.
Or when I’m in the middle of life and an opportunity presents itself where I’d like to be bold and help someone in need, my fear for their safety prevents me from doing it. Last week, I was sitting at a light for 3 minutes with a $20 bill in hand desiring to hand it to a woman who may or may not have been using it for food, but I just couldn’t make myself roll the window down as I looked at my two babes in the back.
So then as my opportunities to serve are whittled down to less and less, I begin to feel something I warmly refer to as “Slacker Christian Mom Guilt.”
And this is how it goes…
Me to Guy while we are laying in bed: “Are we doing enough? I want to do more. Are we sharing Jesus’ love? Should we be flying overseas and doing something bigger? Is it fair to wait till our kids are older to do the things we would be doing if we didn’t have them?”
Guy: And he sweetly smiles back at me and says, “It’s 12:00 at night, sweetie. Could we have a life passion conversation tomorrow when my eyes aren’t already shut?”
So I let him go to sleep then I wake him four nights later and say it all again. ;)
Well, if you’ve ever experienced this same phenomenon.
I have some really good news for you. (Like the best news you’re going to hear all day.)
God could care less about my/our definition of significance. Or making a BIG impact.
Did you get that?
He doesn’t care about significance.
He was born in a stable. He rode in on a donkey. He played with children. He didn’t wake up each day worried about things being too routine.
So my understanding or guilt that if my days aren’t able to do some of the things I deem as valuable or significant to show his love…well, it’s flawed. And needs to be rewritten.
Making an impact isn’t about doing certain big things.
It’s about being open to God working through you. Will there be times when He will call you to those bigger things? Yes.
But on the days in between. There are plenty of other ways for you to be insignificantly used for a big impact.
And ironically, I would argue that feeling bad that I’m not doing more things does nothing more than hold me back from making the impact God wants for me.
Just think about, Jesus a man who taught about humility and putting others first, became the most significant man in history.
Maybe the best way to make the impact he desires is to focus on insignificant obedience?
Jesus used the analogy that as his followers, we are all parts of the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12.
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ…Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.”
So, I challenge you to feel worthy in whatever way God uses your body to shine his love and grace today.
Whether you are using your hands to give some of your spare money to someone who needs it or to wipe a butt for the fifth time today,
Or using your arms to carry food to the poor or rock a little baby in your arms,
Or using your feet to get on a plane and fly to a hut overseas or your feet to chase a little one out of the street,
Or using your ears to listen to someone lonely in Target or to listen to a little one tell you 20 minutes of their dream from last night,
You are a vital and necessary part of the body. And don’t you forget it.
Because I guarantee if Jesus was standing in a room with a kid needing a diaper change, he wouldn’t look at them and say I have more important things to do.
Nope. In fact, I’m 100% confident based on the accounts of his life, he would scoop the little stinker up.
Lay them on their back. Smile at them as if they were the most significant thing in the whole wide world.
And begin gently wrestling them like a pig as if he were in an Olympic sport. (And he would win, by golly.)
And if it’s good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me.
Who knows? You might even be changing the diaper of the next Billy Graham. Or Mother Theresa. Or Martin Luther King.
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