Alysun: I emailed Andrea a draft of today’s post and asked, “What do you think? Too harsh?” Email followed email and then we had to talk on the phone. Ironically, or providentially, she was thinking on the same topic and our mutual passion was contagious. She combined her words with mine and they far surpassed a “ten minute” Drop. It’s now three weeks later and one post has grown to four. Our Drop has turned into a Flash Flood. So hold on to something as we explore the topic of giving as mothers.
Andrea: Oh, sweet hypotheticals: “God will supply all your needs.” So profound. “Love is sacrifice.” What a delightful concept.
Today, rubber will meet road. Status quo will be challenged. Theology and reality will start to meet up. Can you handle it?
Recently, we featured an excerpt from Hannah Hurnard’s Lessons Learned on the Slopes of the High Places. In it, she wrote about “love’s ecstatic joy” found “in ceaseless, blissful giving.” What does this superficially pretty topic mean in real life?
Take a break, society tells us. You deserve it. Take a mommy time-out. Go to coffee with the girls. We’ve all experienced the truth though, haven’t we? Refreshment of this order is temporary at best. Real life crashes in all the harder upon Mommy’s re-entry into the home. The moments of peace and quiet are nothing but warm memories within minutes. Seconds, if permanent markers were involved while you were out.
Alysun: There is nothing more elusive than “me time” for mothers of young kids. Time gets spread thin to kids, causes and my husband. Most days are closed without any time spent by myself. Even the bathroom is not sacred any more. You totally know what I mean, right?
It leaves me crying out in frustration, “I just need some time for myself!”
Forget a pedicure. I would take a sick day with no one to take care of but myself. I demand some time away and I get it (with some creative childcare).
Peace. And. Quiet.
Have you ever returned home from a solo hiatus feeling refreshed only to succumb to a temper tantrum of irritation just moments after stepping through the door? The kids had a bath, but there is water on the floor. Dinner was cooked, but the kitchen looks like a demolition derby. Piles of laundry need to be folded. The zillion projects started before mommy left magically waited for her to return.
What happened to rejuvenation? Returning home feels like I took two steps backward instead of ahead. Once again I’m pleading for more “me time.”
A friend suggested that she knew the one and only solution. And it is not more “me time” or a nanny or a personal trainer.
My friend suggested “serve God by serving your family.” Being self-less will bring the joy and rejuvenation we desire.
I have to admit I really hated this notion. Really. I’m a non-confrontational person, but in this instance I wanted to say, “YOU ARE WRONG!”
Andrea: The only way we know to keep ourselves sane is to take ourselves OUT of service so later we can BE of service. We will all resist this notion that serving leads to refreshment. Some will resist it more than others. Some will dismiss the thought as ridiculous. Some will challenge the idea as anti-feminist. Some will consider the option out of desperation. But before you decide where you will land when the dust settles, let’s look at the facts as found in Scripture:
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3
“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”
“It (love) does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” I Corinthians 13:5
Alysun: The secret of this true refreshment seems to lay hidden in being self-less. When I serve my family with my whole heart, not just for duty, I find joy because I am serving God. Only irritation and bitterness come when I begrudge the work set before me. It leaves me wanting to get away from it all.
The same friend who said, “Serve God by serving your family,” gave some good news too. She said that the “me time” that inevitably comes by living a serving life is sweet and rejuvenating. It is an unexpected blessing. Good things are so much better when they are freely given instead of demanded.
Andrea: Does this mean pampering is out? That it is selfish to get my nails done or to grab a coffee with the girls or enjoy a quiet meal in a public place with my man?
NO!!! Please don’t misunderstand that. The point is that the mentality of I NEED a break is false. You do not need a break.
You need a drink. We spiritually dehydrate ourselves when we look to other sources for refreshment. We take a sip of wine. A swallow of pampering. A chug of escape. We NEED to take a drink of Living Water.
Do you feel dizzy? I feel dizzy. This topic is as enormous as it is uncomfortable. That’s why we’re going to stay on it for a week. Come back tomorrow and we’ll talk more about finding true rejuvenation through humility, giving and service.