Like I mentioned in the last post, the past month for me has been one of much change and adjustment as we welcomed our 3rd child into the world. It has been a time of true joy getting to know this sweet little girl, and has also been a time of re-evaluating my priorities. As all of you moms know, it isn’t as if we have loads of time standing free in our lives before the addition of a new child (or the addition of any new responsibility, really) that is just waiting to be filled! Life is 100% full to begin with, so things have to shift around and priorities have to be re-addressed to find a healthy balance again.
For the first couple of weeks I think my subconscious aim was to “try to stay on top of things.” The challenge each day was to keep up with the tasks that I was used to doing before our daughter’s arrival, as well as to fit in nursing and caring for a tiny newborn as well. It didn’t take more than a couple of days to realize that this task would be nearly impossible and that my energy supply would likely not last more than a few weeks, if even that long.
During my times in the word lately, the overwhelming and gracious message that God has been speaking to me has been to examine what it means to be successful each day. Do I rate my success on how in order my house is or how many tasks on my to-do list I make it through? Do I rate it on how well I am doing at getting my baby on a schedule while still giving my older kids loads of meaningful experiences each day? Do I rate it on my ability to do all that I need to at home while still making time for “ministry?” I am sure you could add your own standards to this list. God has been lovingly showing how in many of these types of goals, there is a great potential to come to see myself as a failure.
As I’ve been going through the book of Ephesians recently, a number of passages have stood out that talk about the manner in which we live rather than the specific tasks that we are to successfully complete. Ephesians 1: 3-4 talks about walking in a manner worthy of the calling that we’ve received and instructs us to walk with humility, gentleness, patience, love, and peace. Ephesians 4:22-24 tells us to put off our old self and to put on our new self that is created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:29 talks about making sure our speech is good for building other up and that it gives grace to those who hear. Verse 4:32 talks about being kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving. Verses 5:1-2 commands us to be imitators of God and to walk in love. Ephesians 6:10-11 calls us to arm ourselves in order to be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
As I’ve meditated on these verses and some others, God has been showing me that even in this busy phase of life with many tasks that will be left undone, I have been given a standard of success that is achievable, by the grace of God. Ephesians 1: 3-4 tells us that “we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places… that we should be holy and blameless before him.” We may not be able to do everything that we would love to be able to do in a day, and we might feel like we are far from accomplishing every worthwhile task, but we have been given the means to do what we do each day in a way that is holy and blameless before God! That to me has become a much greater measure of success. And the best part of this measure is that where we fall short, Christ makes up for it on the cross.
As we daily yield ourselves to the Spirit of God, perhaps we won’t look like the Super Mom that we’d like to be, but in the things that we do accomplish, as simple or mundane the tasks may be, we have the ability in Christ to do them righteously, with holiness, blamelessly, in love, with tenderheartedness, with kindness, with grace, humbly, with forgiveness, with patience, while building others up, and in peace, etc. Walking in such a manner is a great success.
And to anyone who is curious, by writing this post, I am not in any way claiming to be one who has come close to having mastered these things. I bet most of you are much farther along than I am in learning such lessons! I have just been so grateful to God for the encouragement that He has been giving me through His word and for the direction in which He is pointing me that I felt compelled to share what He has spoken to me in hopes that it might bless some of you as well.
Do you find it easy to define your success by what you do rather than how you do it? What things make you feel successful in your day to day life?
(Post by: Ashley)