Friday, September 5, 2008

One ditch or the other, June 5, 08

When I was a little girl, my grandfather made my sister and me a balance beam out of a long wooden beam and covered it with carpet. I could walk across it pretty well, but my sister could do all kinds of crazy things on it. She could do somersaults, back walkovers, toe touches…she even attempted to jump on a po-go stick across it! I just stuck to walking, and if I felt exceptionally confident, I might try to walk backwards!

I feel like every part of life is one big balancing act. Lately I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how to balance my roles as a wife and mother with the other parts of my life. Learning how to honor God as a woman can be complicated. All my life I’ve been taught to dream big, to have goals, to reach for my potential. In addition to that I’ve been taught (and I firmly believe) that God has given women the unique role of nurturing the family. I’m at a point in my life where I am trying to discern how those two things work together.

It’s easy for women to fall into one ditch or the other. Some women attempt to throw off all hindrances in attempts to “be all that they can be”. They’ve got a goal, a career, a palm pilot, and they are not going to let anything slow them down. Even women in ministry can become like this…pursuing their dreams with such zeal that they neglect their family, the most important disciples that they are training. Their kids end up with a distracted and exhausted mom who spends a little bit of time with them in the morning trying to get out the door and a little bit of time with them in the evening as she puts them to bed. A woman in this situation finds that she gives the freshest ideas, most creative energy, and best performance to those who don't matter most to her while the ones who matter the most get the leftovers. I don't want to be this woman.

On the other hand, many women devote themselves wholehearted to their family, and their home, and their schedule to the neglect of the outside world. It’s easy to hide behind your family and to become some self sufficient that there is an unhealthy and inaccurate perspective on the world around you. These women can get so busy cutting the crust off of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that they forget that they ever had dreams, goals, or God-given gifts that He wants to use for His glory. Once we have kids we can easily put our lives on hold, striking a martyr's pose, and just allow the urgent daily demands to dictate how we spend our time. I don't want to be that woman either.

What I want is to be head over heals in love with my husband and my kids. I want them to know that, next to my personal relationship with Jesus Christ, they are my top priority. I want them to feel like I am supportive and available. At the same time, I would like to strive to reach my full potential and use the gifts and talents God has given me to bring Him glory. I want to be diligent with the time that I have, making the most of every minute. I want to invest in what is of eternal significance (the souls of my family and the souls of those in my sphere of influence).
Motherhood can be all-consuming. It would be easy to allow days and weeks to slip by without doing anything but meeting the full-time needs of my son and my husband. But, if I am intentional, I can find a little time block here and there to read a thought provoking book, develop a skill that I have, or serve the world around me. I really don't want to live my life in either ditch; after all, the view is much better from the middle of the road!

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