Maybe it's because I had difficulty adjusting to the time change this Fall. Maybe the excitement of having family in town tipped my routine off-balance. Or maybe I've just needed to take a nap or two. Regardless of the reason, for the last couple weeks I've wandered through a fog of fatigue and spiritual ho-hum-ness. In short, I've felt unfocused.
This inner fuzziness has spilled over into my relationships of late -- including my relationship to my kids. Instead of actively investing in opportunities to care for them, I've become a bit more detached and slower to serve.
More than once, I've listened to one of the children cry or ask for something and stayed firmly planted in my seat, hoping that Jason would rise and take care of it. Other times, I've moaned mentally at the thought of deserting the comfort of my covers to pour cereal for three hungry (and often vocal) mouths. And then there's the times I'm thinking about projects or future obligations and just brush aside whatever my son's trying to show me so I can finish doing what I want to do.
I find it ironic that although I'm physically present with my kids 24/7, my heart and head can often be elsewhere. Apparently, location does not always produce love. But thankfully, I'm loved by a God unbound by location or fuzziness of any sort. He is always present everywhere. He never loses His grip on reality. His faculties are infinite and always sharp. And He is the Great Servant King.
Last week's Bible Study on 1 Peter 4 and 5 really helped refocus me regarding my current calling as "Mother-of-three-kids-under-age-five." Three sections in particular helped give spectacles to my mind's eyes.
"Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God." 4:1-2
It's waaaaaaay easier to live for my own lusts than for God's will. But as I went through a day of thinking through my motivations in parenting, I found it much more peaceful and interactive to do the hard work of loving. (The interactive part happened when I was forced to pray for a change in attitude).
"... whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." 4:11b
Very encouraging verse. It's so easy for me to fall into legalistic, "Pull yourself up by your bootstraps" religiosity. And that's not the gospel. That's the philosophy of the religious leaders who killed Christ. But here, there's the reminder that I have no room for self-righteousness. I need a Savior. I need His strength. And thankfully, I have a Savior who offers all I need to do His will. I just need to remember to talk to Him. (And He even reminds me of that!)
"shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory." 5:2-4
As I've already stated, I don't always feel excited or eager to be a mom. And I think it's okay to do the right thing even when the warm feelings aren't there to propel me forward. But to moan and complain about having to take care of these needy short people, even if it's just in my thoughts, is not imitating our Good Shepherd at all. Nor is it thankful for the gifts He's given.
I'm also sobered by the reminder in this passage that my children are "those allotted to my charge." They're not ultimately mine -- just under my oversight for a season. Sometimes it feels like a never-ending season, but the reality is I only have a limited number of years to pour goodness into the foundation of my children's lives. To steward their uniquenesses and cultivate their gifts. To gently shepherd instead of driving them on with the whip of my tongue or dropping the reins all together.
Anyway, God used these passages to shine a beam of truth and purpose through my fuzziness. And thanks to Him, I think I'm slowly cutting through the fog.