When My To-Do List is an Idol

Motherhood is full of conflicting emotions. As a mother, you somehow feel both deep sadness and deep joy with each passing moment. You mourn the time that has gone by and the moments that you can’t get back, while rejoicing over each new achievement and memory. Gone are the days of separating these emotions. Motherhood is an enigma, a difficult but wonderful gift. I truly understand the term “bittersweet” after having a child.

Similarly, motherhood is a constant shift between thinking you’re a rockstar mom and the world’s worst mom to date. You have moments where you feel like you conquered the day: where the laundry was folded and dinner was cooked and the baby had plenty of snuggles and play. Then there are other days, where you feel like you’re barely holding it all together, as you bump your child’s head on the car door trying to load him into his carseat. It is what it is.

My son’s first birthday is coming up, and as you can imagine, in this media saturated world that we live in, I’ve been a little obsessed with getting all of the details just right… to the point that it’s kept me up a couple of nights. The Lord is so sweet, however, to speak to us even in the midst of our self absorbency and to calm our worried hearts. Last week, when I was having one of these nights, the Holy Spirit stopped my thoughts, and I felt Him ask me what I’d like my son to say of me when he’s older. Did I want him to say that his mom threw the best birthday parties? Did I want him to say that I took the cutest pictures on his milestone blanket? Or did I want him to say that his mother knew and feared the Lord, that his mother was constantly on her knees in prayer, and that his mother loved others well? And in that moment, everything changed. Yes, I’m sure I’ll keep up with the milestone blankets or whatever new trend is in by the time we have other children, but that’s not the point. The point was that I was so focused on things that didn’t matter, that I was forgetting about the things that hold eternal significance in my son’s life.

If these extra, non-important things are causing stress and holding more of my attention than they should, then I may as well just forget about them. It’s very easy to elevate our accomplishments and our to-do list to a god-like status in our lives. We have to remember that if our purpose and joy comes from checking off a to-do list or becoming the perfect spouse, parent, etc., then we’ve missed the point. We’ve idolized something that can never fill that God-sized hole inside our hearts. After all, it’s not what we’ve done; it’s what He’s done. It’s not who we are; it’s Whose we are.

I pray today that we would give ourselves grace and that instead of aiming for perfection, we would aim for eternal significance. We would aim to know God more deeply and to impart that knowledge and love to others.

God bless!

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