This was my excited face as I went to Target alone with a gift card in hand (what a combo!). This little “break” was refreshing, but honestly, it was nothing I needed or deserved.
When it comes to breaks and “me time”, here’s a tiny glimpse into the thoughts I’ve battled the past few weeks- I’d be more patient with my kids if I could just get an hour to myself. I’d be less irritable with them if I could just read in peace for a few minutes. I wouldn’t get as frustrated with them if I could Netflix binge for a little while.
You get the picture. I’m sure I’m not alone in such thoughts. Some might say my thoughts are justified, but I’d have to disagree. When I put my thoughts against Scripture, they’re just not right.
I blamed my sin on my circumstances. Like Adam and Eve pointed the finger at everyone but themselves, I did the same. I put my hope in peace and quiet, and there’s no real hope in that. My problem wasn’t a lack of “me time” or need for “self care”. My problem was a heart issue.
My impatience, frustration, and anger is 100% sin. Usually, I can trace my sin back to creating an idol out of me (my to-do list, my time, etc). Idolatry provokes our God to anger (as it should; he’s the only one worthy of worship), and with strength from God, we must battle to keep the Lord on the throne of our hearts and nothing else. Our world tells us we’ll be better moms if we get “me time”, exercise, or take long baths everyday. But we know all of the solo trips to Target in the world will never fully satisfy. Even on days when I do get “me time”, I STILL struggle with impatience and frustration. That’s because only Christ can fully satisfy. It’s because only Christ can take our sinful hearts and mend them to produce fruit glorifying to him. It’s in Christ alone we can be mamas who discipline in love, patience, and kindness. No amount of quiet baths will produce this in our hearts, friends.
Even though we’re in Christ, will we still raise our voices at our children and discipline them in anger? Yes. We’ll never be perfect moms. The problem is we often don’t want to call sin sin. We want to do what I’ve been doing- blame our sin on our circumstances or excuse it on account of a hard day or busy season. God is holy and hates all sin, because it’s the very opposite of who he is. So on our hard days as moms when impatience wins, we must call it what it is- sin. Praise the Lord for gospel hope, though! We repent and ask our children for forgiveness (what a beautiful time to model the gospel for them!), and then we rest in the grace upon grace Christ lavishes on us. Friends, I promise there’s freedom in repentance. When we confess our anger, idolatry, and selfishness, we find our God to be faithful and just to forgive us (1 John 1:9). There’s no condemnation for those of us in Christ, even on our worst parenting days.
Mamas, we must stop allowing the world to dictate our motherhood. When I’ve had those thoughts, the world would agree with me- yes, I’d be more patient, less irritable, etc. if I could just get a break. But friends, a break isn’t what I needed. What I needed was Jesus and for him to do the work in my heart that only he can do. If we keep feeding ourselves the lies of this world, we’ll never find satisfaction in Christ and have him change our hearts. The truth is, all we truly need is Christ and in Christ, he gives us far more than we deserve. Instead of focusing on self-care, let’s worry about soul care. Are our souls finding rest in Christ alone? Are our souls being filled with the Word of God? These are the things that matter. These are the things that’ll calm and satisfy us, even on the busiest and craziest days of motherhood.
By all means, we should enjoy the “breaks” when we get them. However, that’s not where our hope is to lie. “Breaks” shouldn’t be our pursuit for joy or satisfaction. As we all know, there’s just simply seasons in life where such things are hard to come by for a variety of reasons (time, sicknesses, money, etc.), and that’s okay. We can find joy in motherhood despite any circumstance because we rejoice in Christ, not Netflix binges or naps. On the days we long for a break, let’s ask Christ to produce the fruit in our hearts only he can produce. Let’s do something fun with our kids (go for a walk, to the park, or make a fun snack are some of our favorites). As the old song says, let’s count our blessings; when we take time to think on them, we’ll see God has given immeasurably more.
Friends, I’m a mama struggling to mother for the glory of God, just like you are. I battle the temptation to make my days about me. I struggle with patience and rejoicing, and don’t always walk by the fruits of the Spirit. Let’s keep battling, though, friends. Let’s keep pointing one another toward Christ and spurring one another on to the good works he’s planned for us each day. Christ alone is what we need, and Christ alone will fully satisfy.