One of the things we moms (of all ages!) need to be constantly alert to are our own thoughts about who we are as mothers. We can either define ourselves, our lives, our children, and our calling according to Scripture, or we will define it all according to any number of misguided ideas. And though it would be nice to blame all those misguided ideas on the world, the flesh, or the devil, I am pretty sure we can cook them up all by ourselves.
Rather than listening to ourselves, we need to speak (sometimes firmly) to ourselves. Here are a few examples of what I mean.
1. “This is just drudgery. I just do the same thing over and over and never make any progress.”
This is giving yourself a bad job description. This is not what God calls homemaking. God calls it “good works.” But we shouldn’t pretend that it isn’t work. Good works usually involve very hard work. Good works are not good ideas or good feelings or good intentions. Homemaking is a humble calling, but it is a glorious calling at the same time. Making your home an oasis for your family is a mystery indeed. Who can understand the depth of the significance of all that this means to your children and grandchildren?
2. “My children and the housework are such a heavy burden.”
A burden is a load you are carrying, and it requires strength. Think of it this way: the more fruit you have in your basket, the heavier it is. But what would you rather have in your basket? What would you rather be spending your strength on than your own family? Bringing up children is a privilege and a challenge. Yes, it requires heavy lifting. Yes, it’s a workout. But God will bless it in the long haul, so don’t tell yourself that it’s like moving a rock across the yard and then moving it back again.
3. “I wish I could be involved in some mercy ministry. That would be more meaningful.”
Ah, but you are. Mothers have so many opportunities to extend mercy that they all run together. What is a hot meal on the table but a huge mercy? What is a clean pair of socks but more mercy? What is changing a soiled diaper on a child who can’t even say, “Thanks, Mom” but mercy upon mercy? What is baking a pie to serve to your people but pure, undefiled mercy? I hope you get the idea. The mercy you extend to your family is very meaningful for them. You are blessing them. And once you determine to see it that way, you will find the blessing that is waiting for you in it as well.
4. “My house is a mess, my kids are a mess, I am a mess, and I’ll never catch up.”
Rewind the tape and see if you can’t say something more positive. If your house is a mess, then it’s probably due to all the activity that’s been going on in there. It is a hurdle, that house of yours, and you have mastered it before. Do it again (see #1). Exercise dominion over it. Subdue it. Conquer it! You and your kids are probably not as big a mess as you are feeling right now, but saying it to yourself will only make you (and them) start to believe it. Why not say something a little less critical about yourself and your kids? Make them feel loved and appreciated, not lumped in with the dirty house. Laugh at the situation and then roll up your sleeves. Start at one end and plow through. God is not nearly as concerned about the house as He is about your spiritual state.
5. “No one appreciates me. This is a thankless job. I am not really important to anyone.”
This is what we tell ourselves when we are wanting to simply wallow in it. This is when we simply have to tell ourselves to knock it off. Think about the people in your life that you should thank and then thank them. Then remind yourself that you are a very poor judge of other people’s appreciation or lack of appreciation. It would be nice if we all got notes and flowers and thank-you gifts each week, but that’s not what we are really looking for long term. We want God to say that we’ve done a good job. We want Him to say that we’ve been faithful with what He has given us. Thank Him for the responsibility He has bestowed on you, and ask Him to help you appreciate all He has given you.
In all these things, it is like taking our own heads and making ourselves look in a different direction. Don’t listen to yourself, listen to Jesus. He has you in His hands. He will strengthen you for all He has called you to do. Offer it all to Him with thanksgiving, and He will give you joy. This is what it means to set our minds on things above rather than things below. It requires action on our part. We must pick up our thoughts and set them down somewhere else.