“So what do you want to do?”
Great. I thought I’d escaped the dreaded question at this family get together. We were just about to gather in the dining room for dinner when this particular relative brought it up. He does nearly every time I see him.
“We’ll talk more after dinner.”
At least I’d bought some time to mull over it and come up with an acceptable response.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m blessed with some amazing family. I love and respect them very much, but some of them don’t get the stay-at-home-mom thing.
In this particular relative’s eyes, being a mom and all is nice, but what was I going to do with my life? How was I going to contribute to society? How was I going to make a difference?
I get it. What is my mission in life?
In this day and age with so many working moms, and women doing more than they ever have, being a stay-at-home mom seems, well, like it isn’t enough. There are plenty of mom’s out there who do work and have kids. We (as in my husband Justin and I) have decided that it is important for me to be home with our kids. He makes plenty of money for us to live comfortably, so I am able to do that.
There are times, amidst spit-up, spills, and mountains of laundry piles that I wonder, though, how this can be it for me? How can the majority of my life be filled with cleaning, running errands, disciplining and teaching children, and other sometimes mundane tasks.
Sure, I know, I know, Oprah has mentioned several times that mothers have the hardest job in the world, and the audience always cheers in agreement (no doubt the majority of them are mothers!). I can’t help but wonder if inside, she is really thinking how thankful she is she isn’t a stay-at-home mom.
When I got married, I quickly realized that I couldn’t be as selfish as I once was. I was joined with this man, and we were one. Yikes!
I personally think so many marriages fail mostly out of pure selfishness, and that one or both spouses have no interest in being “bossed around” by the other and they are not going to change or make sacrifice for another person.
Then, when children enter the scene, you have to become even less selfish and sacrifice so much more. Freedom becomes much more limited as you are now responsible for another life.
All these changes got me to thinking about who I am. I’ve been married over eight years now, and we have three young boys. How did I get here, and where did “I” go? I mean, I don’t know exactly where I did see myself, or who “I” was supposed to be, but it didn’t seem like this was it.
How was I supposed to find any part of who I was when it seems all my time is given to my husband, kids, and others? Who am I?
A few weeks ago we had a guest speaker, Peter Hubbard (a pastor at North Hills Community Church in South Carolina), at our church who talked about our mission in life.
He told a story about how he was waiting for his wife at the mall and he asked several people who happened to come sit where he was if they knew what their purpose in life was.
He talked about one girl who was confident in her purpose to become a teacher and tell people about Jesus. Another middle-aged man had no clue. The majority of people, though, really hadn’t thought about it much and just gave general answers you might expect — to have a good job, enjoy family and friends, and be successful and contributing to society in some way.
I recently re-read Marian’s article, “Hungry,” on authenticity and it made me think. In it she says:
I’m hungry for purpose. And I feel valuable when you share your struggles and ask me for advice. I don’t feel alone when you admit that you, too, are imperfect. I find companionship in knowing we recover under the same grace of Jesus.
I cannot tell you how much I have felt this way. I thought back to Pastor Hubbard’s sermon. I thought about my mission in life. How authentic was I being in that?
What was my life mission, and if someone came up to me today — such as the relative who asks, “So what do you want to do?” — how would I respond?
Pastor Hubbard gave us a list to use as guidelines as we look at ourselves and our real mission in lives. He encouraged us to ask someone close to us to ask these questions of ourselves. It’s not a check-list, to check off and say, YES! I must be saved! But, rather to indicate that you are part of the people of God.
Here are a few:
- Do you see evidences that I am saved?
- In the way I am honest about who I am and what I do?
- Do you hear my confess my sins? Do I repent?
- How do I receive and give forgiveness?
- Do you see my trusting in Christ as my only hope for righteousness?
- Am I intentionally building relationships with the lost?
- Do I worry too much about how others perceive me?
- Am I using my time and (our) money wisely?
- Do you see me moving from things that use to bind me?
What better person to ask than my husband who sees me everyday, in the good, the bad, and ugly, whether I am living authentically for Christ.
As I define my authentic self, who I want to really be — who I am — it really is simple, and that is OK. I pray that the next time I get asked that dreaded “what are you going to do with your life?” question that I can respond that I am living it, one day at a time, seeking to bring Glory to God and live for Him alone.