Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Task at Hand

Why it's so hard for me to say yes to my kids when they invite me to play I will never understand.  I mean, it's not like I enjoy emptying the dishwasher or cleaning the toilet.  But the urgency of the always-available tasks somehow offers an excuse to foster my complacency and avoid the nuisance of having to run until my sides hurt or the burden of watching Pocahontas for the three hundred forty-ninth time.

And so, when one of them asks, "Mommy, do you wanna' play with me?" I say "No" more often than I'd like to admit.  And I give in to the selfish complacency that justifies itself.  Pretending to be an important task to be done.  As if completing household chores holds the same importance as bestowing value and worth to my child.  The kind that lets her know that she herself is more important than any task that lay before me. 

It's an age-old problem, really.  The problem of task-orientation that creates a distorted view of life and living.  It's the same problem that turned relationship with Love Himself into ritual and religion.  The one that made shoulds and should-nots out of covenant-living with the very Creator of Life.

I have found that when I really focus on the true task at hand as lover of God Himself, it's more about who I am than it is about what I do.  More about who He is making me than what I am doing or not doing for Him.  The same truth applies in reading my Bible, in mothering my children, serving my husband, sweeping my floor.  And it involves denying myself and my own plan.  It involves being who He has created me to be -- follower of Jesus, wife, mother, keeper of my house.

So last night I gave up the comfort of getting things done.  And I joined their lung-burning, oxygen-sucking game of freeze-tag.  It was about being the mom who shows them, by the way I live, who Jesus really is.  By loving them for real.  And enjoying them for real.

And I think I got more done last night than I did all last week.


laura said...

I understand what you mean. I live there as well. But I had two thoughts/questions:

1. We can't ALWAYS neglect the chores (or hubby or whatever) for the kids, and we don't want them to believe that it's healthy for us to drop everything EVERY time they want something, right? I mean, we're supposed to be modeling Christ (who ALWAYS has time for us), but in a way that points them TO Christ, not replaces Christ in their lives... And we don't want to raise kids (brats) that think the whole world revolves around their needs and wants... because it doesn't.

2. I'm the kind of mom who would rather do the chores myself because I know that I'll do them "right", but I think I pass up lots of opportunities to teach the kids how to do work - thereby missing opportunities to encourage and bond with them and make the work more fun for both of us. I imagine that as they get older, some of my best talks with them will be during the sharing of household duties... After all, aren't conversations always better on your knees in the dirt, plucking weeds? :) Besides, God created us to work and I believe we'll be engaged in work for eternity in Heaven. So we want to encourage them to view work as a joy and privilege - not something that always stands in the way of relationships and fun.

As you said toward the end of your post, it isn't about what we do, but the heart behind it. I pray that God continues to change your heart and mine!

Jessica Fuller said...

Convicted, with a capital C. Thanks for this. My prayer for myself this morning was that God would help me know how to "seek Him with all my heart" and reading your post now is the beginning of the answer to that prayer. You're awesome. I love you!

brianna said...

Absolutely! Thanks for bringing up the balance issue. I wasn't sure how to attend to that very important part of this whole thing without making this post as long as a theological dissertation. :) Balance.Balance.Balance. Absolutely. "There is a time for everything . . ."
Blessings to you.

Thank you. I am so excited to be used by God in your life. What an honor. Truly. Love you too, Babe. :)

cooperkelly4 said...

Capital C over here too. My dd JUST asked me to play a game with her (the same one I said no to the other day =(...so I am getting off the computer and spending some clearly needed time with her. =0) Thanks for the reminder. lol, the house is clean, balance, here I come. =0)Kelly

brianna said...

Kelly, that.is.awesome. :)

laura said...

Duly noted, Bria. It's funny you mention balance... did we discuss that at some point? whole 'nother topic, but to touch on it, I no longer believe in that concept! I think it's a wrong label for the right idea... Namely, that instead of just having enough things on each side (work and play, holiness and grace, etc), we are obeying exactly what God wants us to do at every moment of every day... Sometimes that may not look like perfect balance (ie this is a season of work with little bits of play sprinkled throughout...), but it's perfectly RIGHT. If we're striving always for balance, we end up looking like a person trying to run from one end of the seesaw to the other without falling off. Instead, God's way is to walk the narrow and straight path - straying neither to the left or the right. This is NOT POSSIBLE unless we are purposefully walking in the Spirit at all times.
Just thought I'd send on those thoughts!
Love you! (BTW, I have an awesome writing opportunity coming up! SOOO stoked!!!)
<3, laura

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