Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Significantly Insignificant

Sometimes we all wish our role in life felt more important. Like a highlight reel instead of all this behind-the-scenes footage. Like a 4th of July fireworks display at Giants Stadium instead of these measly little Sparklers from my driveway.

I once saw a T-shirt that said something like, "One day I hope my life is as cool as yours sounds on Facebook." Everyone else's life seems so much more exciting or more adventurous than our own.

It's easy for me to get sucked into this trap. The life of a stay-at-home mom is far from glamorous. (Can I get a witness?!) We are the monitors of hand-washing, the loaders and unloaders of dishwashers, the referees of playtime, and the instructors of paper airplane making. Our uniform typically consists of yoga pants, stained T-shirts, and pony-tailed hair. We may take a shower first thing in the morning or not get around to it until about 4 in the afternoon. We are experts at finding lost shoes, interpreting the meaning of a cry from 3 rooms away, and listening to 4 conversations at once.

When I take the mile-high view of the life of a stay-at-home mom, everything in me screams how incredibly significant that role is for the life of a child and the health of a family. But sometimes, when I'm in the thick of it, trips to the library and building forts don't seem nearly so life changing.

It's comical to Andy and me how vastly different our roles are. The other day he came home and said, "I have one of those headaches you get from sitting in meetings all day making tough decisions. You know what I mean?" I said, "Ummm, not really." Another time he said, "One thing I love about my job is that I have several really high capacity people who report to me." I replied, "I have 2 really low capacity people who report to me." He agreed.

My exhaustion at the end of the day is more on the emotional side than the mental. In fact, I can begin to feel like I'm "wasting" my gifts and not living up to my potential because I have a lot higher capacity than Lincoln Logs require. I start thinking that maybe God could use my life more if I was serving in the "forefront" at South Bay instead of on the "home front" for our family.

But this morning I was reading about John the Baptist. This guy had an incredible ministry! He baptized hundreds, maybe thousands, of people and was somewhat of a national celebrity in his day. However when Jesus came on the scene, all of John's followers started to flock to Jesus. This was really concerning for some of John's followers. But when they questioned John about it he said that it gave him such JOY to see his followers choosing to follow Jesus. John knew that his role in the Kingdom was to point people to Jesus. John said, "He [Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30)

John was content and secure in playing the role he had been given in the Kingdom. Can you imagine the mess it would have made if John had tried to overstep the role assigned to him? What if he tried to self-promote to maintain his popularity and following? John played an incredibly significant part in God's plan, but the part had boundaries and it would have ruined things if he overstepped his boundaries.

He played his role well because of his willingness to appear insignificant.

This truth is so applicable for our lives! Each of us have a role to play in the Kingdom of God. And for a lot of us our current role feels like we're using a fraction of our capacity. But we have to remember that God is the Giver of capacity as well as the Assigner of roles. And He doesn't make mistakes. Our failure to play our part well, with a willing spirit and joyful heart, has a domino effect that can cripple an entire organization.

For example, if I decided that I wanted a much more "significant" Kingdom role than my current position as a stay-at-home mom, it would drastically effect the climate of our home. Things would not run as smoothly. Laundry would be everywhere. Healthy home cooked meals would be few and far between. My kids would be shuffled from one source of childcare to another. I'd be bringing a lot of external stress home with me. All of this would have a huge impact on Andy and it would in-turn affect his ability to lead South Bay well.

But when I embrace my role (without grumbling or whining or straining for some type of promotion) everything just works better. Our lives have rhythm. Our family feels healthy.

While my role can, at times, feel insignificant, it is my willingness to embrace that insignificance that allows me to have such a significant impact.

You have a role to play. Sometimes you may be thrust into the lime light and have this exhilarating sensation of "I was born for this!" But, probably, the majority of the time your part will feel more like a stage-hand. And the significance of your contribution cannot be overstated. Your willingness to serve well with all your heart brings MUCH glory and delight to God!

Another perk of my role is that I get to hang out with these guys all day...
And what in the world could be insignificant about that?!?!


Chris and Karen said...

Amen! Well said, Stacie!

Mandy said...

Right on girl! Love this. You, my friend, are a high capacity mom. That's significant! :)