It’s a mom’s job to protect our children, teach them to follow the ways of the Lord, help them stay away from things that will lead them astray – so it’s all on us to make them into the person you know God wants them to be, right? It’s our fault if they don’t want to listen to worship music. It’s our fault if they don’t want to go to youth group. It’s our fault if they get bad grades. It’s our fault if they get sick or hurt.
This is the crushing weight I believe all mothers – including myself – feel as they navigate through the adventure of parenting. Some of us feel the pressure of this lie more than others.
So, God is always giving me little God nudges in the most unexpected ways and I absolutely LOVE it. On our little farm I have chickens and recently reached the point of having 20 something chickens and feeling pretty maxed out with that. It seems like just the other day that I mentioned to my husband, “These chickens are a lot of trouble! Something is always happening to one or the other of them. We don’t need to have any more chicken babies. I can’t handle any more chicken chores!”
We left for vacation shortly after our “chicken overload revelation,” returned after a week and started cleaning our coop and resuming our normal chicken chores when all of a sudden I hear my husband exclaim, “What on earth?!” Peeking out from under the ramp going into the coop was the cutest little chick!
The Opportunity and Struggle with Saying No
False responsibility is a spiritual bondage that robs us of time, energy, peace and joy. I know I cannot be all things to all people, yet so many times I have fallen prey to this trap of the enemy. False responsibility causes us to put too many things on our plate and to carry burdens that are not ours to carry. We are called to be good stewards of our time, energy, and finances. To do this, we have to pick and choose carefully what we are responsible for or we and those we care about will pay the price.
Do you find yourself struggling with saying no because you don’t want to let others down? Do you do things out of obligation and feel trapped in a cycle that you don’t know how to get out of? Do you find yourself carrying emotional burdens of those around you?
In the times that we live in people all around us are burned out and exhausted due to the trap of false responsibility. We don’t have to feel guilty for saying no. In fact, we need to say no a lot and be very strategic about what we say yes to.
When I see children playing without a care in the world it makes me wish that they could keep that sweet innocence forever. As they run and spin round and round in circles and throw their heads back and laugh, their carefree nature takes my breath away. They are free to just run and play, unencumbered by life’s obligations and responsibilities. They haven’t had time to pick up a lot of emotional baggage yet. Emotional baggage slows anyone down with it’s weight.
As a young girl I remember feeling weighed down by responsibility for as long as I can remember. I remember longingly watching the other kids who seemed to not have a care in the world. How I wished I could feel like that. Unfortunately, I felt responsible for so many things. I worried about how we were going to make it. I worried about my little brother. I worried about my mother. I felt responsible for myself and that felt like a lot of weight to carry for a young girl.
I sat down a week ago and fingers flew across the keyboard as I typed my thoughts about the need for the Church to reform. A key thought I typed was how it was important that we stop looking at the splinters in the eyes of those in our world around us (the unchurched and the churched) and attend to the massive plank in our own eyes. The overriding thought I had was that the church was never meant to be a perfect place where the struggling didn’t feel comfortable walking in the doors and being real, but rather it is meant to be a hospital for the hurting and a place we can all come to to be lovingly walked forth into healing and freedom.
I was feeling pretty passionate and sure of myself as I typed. By bedtime that night I had come face to face with a plank lodged in my own eye.
Out of the Heart the Mouth Speaks
Out of our hearts our mouths speak. Things we don’t even know we are feeling will come out through offhand comments when we least expect it and we can find ourselves asking, “where did this even come from?” I had one of those moments and without meaning to made my husband feel very judged. Just when I thought I was doing so good I go and put my foot in my mouth. The irony of this situation is not lost on me.