If upon reading this you find yourself surrounded by a stack of laundry (bonus points if it’s clean), a sink full of dishes that you’ve desperately been trying to tend to, a sweet but adamant toddler requesting his sippy cup, all while toting a baby on your hip, this article is for you.
If you’ve been married for several years and have experienced the heartbreak of infertility and loss; having been stabbed in the heart every month by a small stick with a negative symbol appearing on the end, then this article is for you.
Or, maybe you’re the mother that has invested every possible resource into raising godly children, only to have them walk away from their faith after leaving home? Guess what? This is an article for you as well.
As women, we often believe a false gospel that culture force feeds us from a very young age. It is a myth that we are so saturated in, we often can’t see the danger it breeds. It perpetuates this fallacy: “We can find value in what we create”.
In our youth we are taught to excel in order to succeed. Everything is a competition. It doesn't even matter if you are skilled or have an interest. If little Susie is in ballet, then surely every other little girl must take up ballet. Falling behind in the crowd isn't an option.
In adulthood, this lie is as inconspicuous as perfect Pinterest projections and lauded PTA promises. Women are competitive and task oriented (even the quiet ones). Efficiency and proficiency are vital for a modern woman’s survival. Now, I know I am painting with a broad brush, but for the sake of my point, bear with me.
This is nothing new to our feminine wiles. From the dawn of creation, Eve herself had a competitive streak and was tempted with the idea of being like the Creator. We all know she had a problem with being told that she could not obtain the forbidden fruit. Every woman born from Eve has the same proclivity towards achievement-based validation.
Why is it that our imaginary approval rating drops when the laundry pile begins to climb? Why do we feel less loved and vital when our womb is barren? Why do we feel like we have failed to nurture our children in the ways of God when they grow up and go astray?
It is because we are believing the lie that tells us our work and creation must justify our existence.
When Satan tempts us to despair, we need to remind ourselves that we are NOT good enough. No amount of productivity can ever deliver the soul satisfying promise that we are lured into believing.
No matter the diligence, we can never accomplish anything more satisfying than what Jesus has already accomplished for us. We don't work for God’s approval, and we shouldn’t “work” for mankind's approval. We joyfully fulfill the role that God has given to us, not to please him, but because, in Jesus, we already are pleasing to Him. Joyful obedience and gratitude should be the motivation for our gospel work. We are called to cultivate and create flourishing, but the outcome isn't dependent on our efforts.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. -Philippians 2:12-13
What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. -1 Corinthians 3:5-6
It is God who assigns and causes a fruitful harvest in our homes and in our hearts. We need not grow weary in doing good or despair when the harvest isn't exactly what we anticipated. Our greatest joy shouldn’t be found in outperforming our social media sisters.
I feel the same wrestling in my own heart. I am often tempted to believe the lie and work toward my own justification and purpose. We must ask God to help us work in humility and from gratitude. Knowing, whatever we have in our hands (or not) is exactly what God has placed there to be stewarded well and for His glory...not our own.