A few nights ago, as I tucked my almost 7 year old daughter into bed, she engaged her usual stall tactic as I headed to her bedroom door. She has a knack for asking deep questions at bedtime, although come to think of it, I’m not sure it’s as much a stall tactic as just her natural inclination. Anyway, she stops me in my tracks with the question “Mom, what are you known for?”
Now, my sweet girl did not know that this is just the question I’ve been struggling with again lately. You see, I really hate to admit it because I KNOW, comparisons are bad and unnecessary and a sucking black vortex into discontent, but I do fall into the comparison trap much more than I would like. I find that social media can be a snare for me when I find myself in that place, especially Ye Olde Facebook. I love to read blogs, and typically the ones I read are by women that encourage me in my faith in Christ and inspire me to step out on faith and change my perspective in a variety of ways. Yet those same women that encourage me on one blog earlier in the week can often be the same women I compare myself to later in the week. A series of photos or status updates by people on Facebook that I am friends/acquaintances with can send me into a vulnerable flurry of doubts if I’m already feeling down, discouraged, frustrated, or just having an “off” day.
So this leads back to the question “What are you known for?” I had been struggling because I was buying the lie our culture tells, both purposefully and accidentally at times, that being a mom isn’t enough. That I need to be a mom AND have a career, that I need to be a mom AND an athlete, that I need to be a mom AND be recognized for whatever else pops into my head at the moment. And ironically, when I’m not stressed or discouraged (and even sometimes when I am), I’m one of the first people to remind other women that being a mom is a calling. For real- A CALLING. I think we as moms often find ourselves downplaying the importance of what we do because we share the motherhood status with so many other women. At least, I’ve found myself in that place. There is truth that it is hard to feel something is special when it is common. But you know? While motherhood may be a common, everyday role, it is also exciting, extraordinary, and yes, special. Because not one of us, not one, parents exactly the same way, with exactly the same kids, in exactly the same circumstances. God absolutely positively chose me to be the mother to my children, fitting us together to complete part of His puzzle. Another mom would not fit in the exact way needed. And if you are a mom reading this, He chose you in the same way. Ironically, I feel entirely fulfilled in being a stay-at-home-mom who happens to also homeschool my children. At least, I feel fulfilled until I let myself buy into that terrible lie that I shouldn’t be, that I should want more.
When my daughter asked the question, the first thing that popped into my head and out of my mouth was “I suppose I’m known for being your mom.” She asked “What else?”, so I added that I enjoy writing and since I had something I had written published, that that could qualify (not that many beyond those close to me know that, but anyway). But as I turned to head out of her room, I realized I was answering the question wrong. I’m not going to lie and say I don’t want to be known for something sometimes. Yet ultimately, I want to be known as a follower of Jesus. I want HIM to be known. And I want whatever gifts He has given me to glorify Him, not just serve as a well-liked status update or a chance to bask in a brief moment of glory. And I took a minute more to tell her that. Because if she can get that idea down now, on the cusp of turning 7, then her focus will be less on herself and more on Him- something her mama is working on.