word of the day: lie \ˈlī\ to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive; to be in a helpless or defenseless state
“You deserve it.”
“It” can be replaced by any number of things, can’t it?
A break. A pedicure. A $5 dollar latte. A trip to Target. A night off of cleaning the kitchen. Some alone time. Some “me” time. Some “I just need 5 minutes” time.
It’s the plight of the stay-at-home mom, I think. When you spend all day tending to the needs of needy, volatile, and, sometimes, hostile human beings, it’s easy to tell yourself you deserve a break or some time to yourself.
Well, now that I read that paragraph over again, I realize that those three adjectives could also be used to describe the middle schoolers of my former life. Or the patients Jake spend his current life with. Or really, people in general. So, maybe it’s just the plight of existence.
Time to rejuvenate is good. Give me an hour browsing the clearance racks at Target, and I’ll come back a brand new version of myself. But, make no mistake, I don’t deserve that time. ‘Need’ and ‘deserve’ are two fundamentally different things, and I start to get into trouble when I begin to use them interchangeably.
This lie again (and to no surprise) causes discord in my relationships. Namely? Marriage. It seems to weasel its way into our house between the hours of 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. when everyone is getting settled back into the “home” routine. It whispers things like, You worked hard all day; she really expects you to do that now? or You changed all the diapers for the past 12 hours; he can change them all for the next 2 or He doesn’t know how hard it is chasing two kids all day; you deserve a quick shower by yourself (which, if you’re like me, is never actually ‘quick’).
This one, I think, requires a bit of a litmus test. Take that last scenario, for instance. Do I want to take a shower because I’ve been using mashed sweet potatoes as a styling agent for two days or because I want Jake to deal with the crazy alone for the 45 remaining minutes before bedtime? If it’s the latter, the shower needs to wait.
Jesus didn’t make a habit of coddling people; He just said again and again, “Follow me.” And, each time He said it, people had to form an immediate response. Peter and Andrew left their nets in the water and followed (Matthew 18-22); whereas, the rich young man walked away sadly because he couldn’t bear to give up everything he had in that moment (Matthew 19:16-22).
It’s a question of whether I’m willing to die to myself in those moments, really. I am continually reminded that all God asks me to do is love Him and love others. I don’t make the list. In those moments when I feel like I deserve something for myself, I’m off center. I’m focusing on the wrong things.
Instead of taking a shower as soon as Jake gets home, it’s far more valuable for me to spend time with our family unit as a whole. Instead of trying to even the tally of diapers changed, it’s more valuable for me to continue to share the load (is that a poor choice of words?). And, it’s far more valuable for Jake to pitch in around the house and give all he has for us even though he’s exhausted from working a thirteen hour day (I know this because I watch him do it every single night. He’s a good egg, that one.).
A life that revolves around what I need or think I deserve is a life out of focus. It’s selfish.
I don’t want that life. I want to die to myself. Even when it’s really, really hard.
Like when all I want to do is finish my episode of The West Wing as Norah wakes up from her nap or when I just want to sing my favorite song on the radio as Lily asks me to sing “Baby Beluga” for the four millionth time.
I'm a work in progress, people.