Back in my college days, after the arrival of my firstborn, I could often be heard speaking these words, "Oh, I could never be a stay at home mom! I'm just not wired that way. I'll be a better mom if I've got something for me."
Add a few years and two more babies. My story changed to, "One day I'll go back to work...when they're in school. I just can't afford to work right now. Childcare would eat up my whole pay cheque."
Add a couple more babies, more years, and a closer relationship with Jesus. "I'm not sure if I'll ever work again. Somewhere along the way, I learned not only to be content in my role as a homemaker, but to find joy in it. If we can afford for me to stay home forever, volunteering in ministry, that's what I'll do."
As a young, idealistic, opinionated twenty-year-old, I was certain that my life would be dull and lifeless if I were home with my kids 24/7. As a slightly older, slightly less opinionated, and just as idealistic thirty-year-old, I was convinced that being home 24/7 would be best for my family.
Today, I am a thirty-three (and a half) year old working mom. Here are three lessons God has been teaching me about His upside-down Kingdom over the years.
1. Never say never.
God's plan doesn't usually fit within our ideals. While sometimes our ideals are formed based on God speaking to us and teaching us, it's important to remember that the plan He has for each of us is not a "one and only" thing. God's plan (and our lives) cycle through seasons.
There will be years of quiet, times of service, days of stretching, and moments of storms. And we do not get to dictate the ebb and flow - God Almighty is the commander of the seasons of life.
2. Comfortable doesn't last.
We all enjoy times of peace, quiet, and routine. There is something wonderful about feeling "settled." The thing is, as we are settling in we can also begin settling for. We settle for a faith journey that is mediocre, at best.
God knows, though, that we can serve Him better, our lives can give Him more glory, our families can better reflect His love in our communities, when we are stretched outside that little comfort bubble we live in.
3. It's not about me.
Of course I believe that God has a special purpose and plan that is specific to me and my life. But sometimes, His plan for my life is not necessarily specifically for my benefit.
God created us to serve Him, to worship Him, and to share His Good News throughout the world. He did not create us to be happy and content. (I'm sorry if that comes as a disappointment to anyone.) God is far more concerned with the salvation of the world than he is with our happiness.
The great thing is, if we embrace His plan with abandon, He will overflow our lives with joy and blessings! So the less we think of "me, me, me" the more likely we are to actually experience joy and satisfaction in this life.
I'd love to hear your stories! Here are a few prompting questions to help dig those stories out of you. Feel free to answer one or all...or something totally different, for that matter.
Have you ever said "never" to something only to have God change your plans?
Has He been asking you to let go of your comfortable so that your life can better reflect His glory?
What ways are you learning that it's not about you?