Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Define What You Do

sunset off cape cod

Out with some dancers I hadn’t seen in a while, one of my partners asked what I did. I said “I am a full time stay-at-home mom, so you know. I wrangle toddlers.” to which he replied “No, what do you do?”

To me that was a beautiful and sensitive thing to ask. 

When I say “My husband is an engineer” people always ask “What kind? What does he do?” because there is a lot of engineering to be done in the world so I need to be more specific. 
It made me think of all of the mothers I know. We are all full-time mothers aren’t we? Whatever else we do, we are full time mothers. We all do it differently. Some of you are counselors and therapists, some volunteer a lot at your kids schools, some of you are taking a degree program or backing up your husband in his job. You ladies teach Bible studies and wipe noses and have people over and listen to them when you don’t feel like it. You take care of chronically ill or delayed children, and you write position papers on important subjects and sing on the side. 
My goodness but we do a lot, we mothers! I just wanted to say 

Brava, ladies! You do amazing things against all odds, you are fantastic people and I am proud to know you! Thank you. But do you know what? If Christ is your savior even that’s not who you are! Neither your title nor your activities need define you.

There are also some of you who wish you could say you were a wife, a mother, a stay-at-home mom. I want to tell you

Brava, ladies! You do amazing things that those of us who are married with kids don’t have the time or energy to do. You make the world richer and more beautiful for being in  it, and I am proud to know you. Thank you. But do you know what? If Christ is your savior even that’s not who you are! Neither your title nor your activities need define you.

We are all so much more than our generic titles, so thanks, mister. Thanks for asking about what I do. That’s important, but there’s more.

Who You Are 
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise." Galatians 3:26-29.

For our purposes we could add married or unmarried, child-rich or child-free to the list. 

Then the list gets obliterated because that list is how we compare and see how we measure up. 

Which is holier: Working in a job that really helps people or being home for your kids all day? Both. Neither. That’s not really the point. We want a ranking, but in Christ there’s no hierarchy like that. See what I mean? 
Your title isn’t you: You are not a “working mom” or a “full time homemaker” or a “single girl.” You are first and foremost bought with a beautiful and bloody price, and you are a citizen in the Kingdom of heaven, the country which is our eternal future, and which we are called to bring into our world now. Your title doesn’t rank you in the Kingdom of Heaven. In the Kingdom we stand equal because Christ sacrificed himself for us and values us equally. That means there is no inherent value system for color, gender, marital status, work place, etc. We are all on holy ground, and we all have one holy calling to bring the kingdom of heaven down in our unique places with our unique gifts. 

What You Do 
It’s a subtle shift in perspective, then, you royal priestesses, you holy nation, because your days are still filled with the same things as before, be it the day job you are mildly conflicted about, or accosting toddlers with tissues– and in any case trying to get a balanced dinner on the table before 9pm. 

And by balanced you do know I mean you maintained your balance between the kitchen and the dining room and didn’t dump the frozen pizza on the floor. 

Still, these things are elevated when we invite our Father “Your kingdom come, your will be done on this corner of earth I live in just as your will is done in heaven.” (My words) Bringing the kingdom transcends my fears that what I am doing is not important enough and I am wasting my time, or that it is too important and I am botching it. It cuts away all of the extras and connects my heart to God’s heart, my work to God’s work. That’s the tranquility I think Paul is talking about when he finishes up a passage on not putting all of your effort into to changing your station in life:

“What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives [or husbands] should live as if they had none; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.” 1 Corinthians 7:29-31

That could read as apathy, but within the greater context of the gospel I think Paul is speaking of the peace and sweeping perspective of living this sliver of eternity I am in right now the same way I will live all the others forever through the power of the Counselor, the Holy Spirit. I want the goals of eternity to swallow up my marital status, my grief, my pleasure, my stuff, and my experiences. 

My prayer: Please, please let it be that bringing the kingdom in that kind of peace is really what I do. 

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...