Thursday, May 22, 2014

Pursue Your Passion

To be a good Christian woman, one must have many babies, stay at home with them seven days a week, not have a 'job' besides raising her brood, cook three nutritious meals a day, plus healthy creative snacks in between main meals. She should keep her kitchen crumb free and spill free, dishes done, refrigerator spotless, in the midst of all this cooking and chasing after her toddlers. She should put her dreams on hold until all of the children are in school, or in the case of the home-schooling mom, until all of the children are out of the house. Her identity should be wife and mom, and of course extra curricular activities should be church related...nursery, children's church, potlucks and the like. She should keep things neat and tidy so that any unexpected visitors don't think poorly of her, and she should definitely throw her kids Pinterest-type parties. And do as many Pinterest crafts as possible, decorating her home Martha Stewart style. As she carries out all of these tasks, she should always smile, never complain, never lose her temper, drink more coffee if she's tired (but heavens, don't let it show if she is tired!), and be patient and self-controlled at all times. If she is struggling, she shouldn't share this with anyone, as it might bring down a fellow sister-in-Christ. She should just deal with her issues silently. Biding her time until she can pursue her passions...if she can remember what they are by then.

Do you ever feel like this is how you should be? (I know I exaggerated a bit, but seriously.)

"It's just a season," they say.

No doubt about it, being a mom is a demanding, hard job. It's funny, because one moment, I can feel such overwhelming joy toward my kids, such love, such sheer happiness, yet less than a second later, I can feel such frustration and irritation and just, ahhhhhh! that I want to run away and hide under a blanket (with some ear plugs and wine!) I loooove being a stay-at-home-mom and wouldn't trade it for anything in the world, but it is the. hardest. job. i've. ever. had. Hands down. And there's something making it harder than it needs to be (not that it would be easy, even then): Expectations, expectations, expectations. And we fall for them all the time, darn it!

What is this false pretense we feel as Christian women to be perfect? To fit the above mold? I'm not saying any of that stuff is bad. It's great to have a clean house if that keeps you happy; great to be involved in church; great to love crafts or cooking or whatever it is I mentioned. But here's the thing. Maybe our lives are so stinking stressful during this 'season' everyone refers to because of all the pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect! I am just one of many, many moms I've talked to who feel a restlessness deep inside. A longing to be doing something, not instead of, but alongside (and second to) raising our kids. But we can't figure out how to juggle it, or we feel guilty that we even have a desire to do something more...as if once we have babies, life is put on hold indefinitely, until they are grown or in school. This is crazy, but it's a lie I have subconsciously believed the past three years.

I believe that somehow, at some point, the church has put some pretty unrealistic, and not completely biblical expectations on women. Many of us have succumbed to the expectations, and thus, there are a bunch of us out there who are feeling restless, overwhelmed, and unhappy. Oh and add guilt to the list, as we feel guilty over having those other feelings! We know we have gifts and talents and passions, things deep within us dying to get out, but we can't figure out how we can use them while trying to fulfill the impossible tasks of being a perfect wife, mom and homemaker (note: I said impossible). Look at the Proverbs 31 woman, the most talked about woman in the whole Bible, the woman to whom almost an entire chapter is devoted to. She is not necessarily a real character, but rather an example to us of the possibilities a woman can have. Yes, she was a great wife; she had kids that she took care of and raised well (her kids called her blessed!); she took care of her house; and...she worked! She was creative, she found what she was good at, she made money, and with her money, started her own business...and she did this while raising her family. This is a possibility, though not a mandate. It's simply freedom for those of us feeling restless. Maybe God put that restlessness in you and me for a reason. Maybe instead of ignoring it or stuffing it away, we should pray for God to reveal just what He has for us, what it is that's making us feel this way. Just a thought...

I'm advocating that we not lose our identity just because we become a wife or a mom. Those roles obviously become an intricate part of our identity (which is first and foremost in Christ), but we can't lose our other passions! Three years in, and I'm realizing that it's okay to go after my dreams, as long as I can do it in a manner in which I am still a good mom and a supportive, loving wife. God comes first. My family second. But I believe with all my heart, that there's room for more, with hard word and perseverance...and a lot of grace:)

Note: A friend of mine recently sent me a link to a short (20 minute) clip from Shawna Niequist, having to do with this subject. It's AMAZING, and worth a few minutes if you can squeeze it in. If you want to listen to it, click here .



2 comments:

  1. Yes! I struggle with how I spend my time and my passions and raising the kiddos too.

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  2. I think we all do! I'm learning to go with my convictions...NOT listening to the guilt! It's a balance I guess! Blessings to you:)

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