Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Set Free

Every day his mom and dad would badger him about his homework. He didn't make bad grades, but they didn't trust him to get the work done on his own. Finally, in tenth grade he bluntly told them, "If you will leave me alone, I'll make better grades." His parents agreed to give it a try and watched as their son signed up for advanced courses and proceeded to maintain good grades.

As moms, we often feel like that tied-down teenager, only we're tied down by our own expectations. A grandma told me that when her kids were little, she had in her mind what her life should be like. So she stayed up until three o'clock in the morning sewing the costumes, baking cookies, cleaning, and catching up on laundry.

After several years at this pace, she had a nervous breakdown. She said that she missed so much of her children's growing up because she was trying to be the perfect mom. She was more concerned about "doing" than "being." (She said she has learned her lesson and spends as much time as she can with her grandchildren.)

One mom told me, "As hard as you thought it would be to be a mom, it's that much harder. You wish it could be only as hard as what you thought it would be!" Maybe we had those unrealistic ideas before we had kids, but now that they are here, it's okay to let go of some of the expectations we have of ourselves and how we thought life would be.

Galatians 5:1 says, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Like the teenager given the freedom to do what he could do with out the "slavery" his parents had hung around his neck, Jesus can do the same for us. He can take the burdens and expectations that hang around our necks, weighing us down, and give us instead the freedom to be what He made us to be.

Focus your eyes on that freedom. Ask God to open your heart and mind to really accept His freedom from all you've expected of yourself. He will strengthen you, enabling you to not just do your best, but also do your best while He holds you up and cheers you on.

Have you been bogged down about your "home work"? Then cut yourself some slack. Our load as moms is heavy enough as it is. Don't add more than you need to carry. Identify the expectations that are enslaving you. Then give them to the Lord and see what He can do. Instead of being paralyzed by guilt, you'll come alive as the mom God intended you to be. He has set you free, so live that way!

Lord, You know us better than we know ourselves. Sometimes we don't even know what expectations we have of ourselves. We just know that we are running around frustrated and overwhelmed with too much to do. Show us as we go through our daily life what things we can let go of, what things don't really matter and are not ours to control. Help us, Lord, to stop badgering ourselves about all that we "should" be doing; help us to slow down so we can enjoy our families and just "be" with them. Thankful to be free, I pray this in Jesus' Name. Amen.

Think about your day today. What could you let go of to make your day more about what God wants to do than about what you expect of yourself?

From Sharon and Laurie's book Hold You, Mommy

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