my people

People have been writing lots about motherhood lately, and they’ve been timely thoughts in light of a week where I’m finding this job particularly miserable unbearable difficult.  (It doesn’t help that Jordan had a bout with the stomach flu and Adrienne has been a fuss monster and I decided to do a coffee detox so I also am part monster.)  So in an effort to process all that is going through my caffeine-deprived brain, I thought maybe I’d try to pick up on my thoughts regarding this calling.

I think it would be easy to read those articles and turn very inward – to become individualistic in my pursuit of my identity, with a parenthetical afterthought (in Christ).  The very same culture that compels us to be child-centered instead of Christ-centered will also seek to push us out of our homes to figure out “who we are.”

Am I the only one who might have lost touch with who “I” am?  There is always someone needing, needing, needing until there is nothing left of me except circles under my eyes and a pile of things I wanted to do sitting untouched.

This brings me to my reflections on the second part of Rachel Jankovic’s chapter, “Me Time.”  (First part was here.)  She says it this way:

…the world has a very muddled perception of “self.”  They think and tell us to think that we are all little separate entities who might need to go off somewhere to get to know “ourselves,” or that a mother needs to get back to her corporate job to be herself again.  Marriages break up because people don’t know who they are anymore.  They need to find themselves. (60-61)

She goes on to describe the nature of the Christian walk.  We are constantly growing, changing.  “Our essential self is not back in the intro, waiting to be rediscovered,” she says, “As the story grows, so does your character.  Your children change you into a different person.  If you suddenly panic because it all happened so fast and now you don’t recognize yourself, what you need is not time alone.  What you need is your people” (61).

My people.

How often do I try to push away “my people” so I have time to figure out who the heck I am.  But to that she says, “Those women who try to find themselves by stripping away the “others” will find that they are a very broken little thing.  This will lead them to resent the people who they think made them that way” (61).

The push towards being Christ-centered in our mothering is an essential one.  But that’s just it.  Christ-centered in our mothering.  And our wife-ing, if I can call that a word.  With our identities rooted in Christ, we are then called to engage.  The Christian life wasn’t meant to be lived in isolation.  It is really easy to be patient when I’m all alone and can work without an interruption.  It’s another to practice what I’m “learning” as I interact with my family.

Ironically, I’m writing this while sitting at a coffee shop, peacefully alone.  I am a fan of “me time.”  It’s good.  I’m blessed when my husband gives it to me.  I send Hadley to play by herself every morning so I can spend quiet time reading my Bible and praying, alone.  For me, this is what it looks like to pursue my relationship with Christ first and foremost, and to fill up for all the pouring I know I’ll have to do that day.

But here’s where I think the problem is: it’s when I start demanding the “me time” – when I cling to it and fight for it and sin against my family in its absence – when I start thinking that unless I get some time to myself to figure out who I’m supposed to be that I can’t function in the role God has given me – when my relationship with Christ becomes about me and I what I want to do and it has nothing to do with being obedient where God has me right now.  And this is where this week has been an epic fail.

I have to fight the idea that my calling as a daughter of Christ takes second place to my calling as a wife and mother, yes.  However, the reality is this: I am a wife, and I am a mother.  They aren’t glamourous.  They aren’t always fun.  And I can’t say that I think that a list of my personality and strengths would lead one to believe that they are the perfect fit for me.  Nonetheless, to this life I have been called.  And I’ve been called to walk it, rooted in my identity as a daughter of Christ, with all humility and patience, bearing with one another in love (Ephesians 4:1-2).

…the Christian woman needs to see, “I used to be so boring!  Now my character has some depth, some people to love, some hardships to bear.  Now I have some material to work with.”  A Christian woman’s view is always forward and never back.

…If you want some quality “me time,” make a date with your husband.  Do something special with your children.  These people are you.  Your identity is supposed to be intertwined – that is the way God wrote the story, and it is the way He intends us to read it. (62)

I guess I’m finding I need to be cautious in pushing my family out of the picture so I can be reminded of my identity in Christ.  My identity in Christ is fleshed out in how I love my family.  He has called me to lay down my life for them.  To sacrifice my dreams for His.

These are my people.

And this is where I must fall down before the God of all grace, knowing that it is only by His strength that I can possibly stand up to the task before me.

Here’s to a new week!