(The latest article I wrote for our MOPS newsletter)
1 : the state or condition of being entitled
2 : a right to benefits that is granted esp. by law or contract
3: the assumption on the part of a mother that she has rights that supercede the needs of her children, therefore resulting in selfishness
I honestly used to think I had certain rights. This list of rights included, but was not limited to, things such as: going to the restroom alone, taking a shower on a daily basis, taking “me” time whenever I wanted to, running a simple errand alone, getting a full night’s sleep, having quiet in my home, and being able to use only my true voice (as opposed to the high, squeaky voice that stuffed animals speak in).
Now, during the daily process of sanctification (which R.C. Sproul, Jr. refers to as “Jesus-ification”), I am slowly coming to realize what the Scriptures mean when they refer to ‘dying to self.’ It is a truly slow and sometimes grueling process, involving the startling reality that our lives are not our own, and therefore must be defined by sacrifice.
I used to consider myself a patient person. I also considered myself to be thoughtful, kind, and rather selfless. That self-image was shattered the day I gave birth. From that point forward, I now had a little mirror to my soul, a visible Holy Spirit, if you will. Children have a way of reflecting our character and heart, for good or bad. It’s funny how with each child God gives me, I become aware of another major character flaw in myself that needs correcting.
You see, it’s easy to be patient when it’s on our time schedule. It’s easy to be thoughtful when it makes us look good and we know the gesture will be returned. It’s even easy to be sacrificial to our husbands when we know they’ll appreciate it. But when it comes to mothering, we are forced to purify our motives.
Our interests, desires, and schedules must take back burner for the sake of our children’s well-being. While we certainly need an occasional break from the demands of parenting, we must be cautious not to buy into the world’s message telling us that “we deserve such-and-such”, or “we have to make sure our needs are met first”, or “we need to do something for ourselves more often”.
This sense of entitlement, or self-interest, is contrary to the overall spirit of sacrifice that Christ calls us to. As Paul says, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Phil. 2:3-4).
So take heart, continue loving your children, and “whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” (Col. 3:23-24).
We live for others because Christ died for us.
It’s just that simple. It’s just that profound.