Because, sometimes, I’m a phony.

Sometimes, I’m a phony. I don’t mean to be, mind you. It is true, none the less. {Do you ever look at a phrase like none the less and think, “what does that even mean?”}

There are days when I’m serving my little heart out what with the laundry doing and grit making and yes, honey, I can pretend to be a hunk of cheese and you’re a rat who is eating my leg. I don’t make up these games. I just play them, y’all.

I’m doing all the right things. I could instagram the moment, hashtag it #motherhood, and get me some virtual high fives.

Breakfast table

But, here’s the thing. In my heart, I’m having a Martha moment. In my head, I’m thinking, what is the point of doing all of this if no one applauds? Yikes, that’s kind of embarrassing to see in print.

{Time out. The baby just spit up all over my Bible. Luke is never going to smell the same, by the way.}

rain

I get caught up in the command to serve and forget that it is, also, a privilege. The feeding of babies, the matching of little socks, the making of special meals, the pride of a clean kitchen – they are all gifts.

Little girls are watching me and it matters what they see. I don’t want them to picture me grumbling as I clean the toilets or complaining about yet another stain on the carpet. I want them to see me, not just serving, but taking pleasure in the serving. I think of a quote from Mother Theresa that I once read.

The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it.

Let that one sit for a bit.

laundry

This morning, one of my girls woke me up by whispering in my ear. Mommy, do you want some grits because I can make them. She then made breakfast for all of her sisters, cleaned up after herself and made me a cup of coffee. And, y’all, the smile on her face was the best part. It tickled her to pieces to serve.

Then, there was the time another one of my girls took her entire piggy bank to the store because she had decided to spend it all on less fortunate kids at Christmastime. For days afterward, she kept telling me, It just felt so good to give it all away.

When serving becomes a burden, it’s time for a heart check. Our Savior was a server and it should be an honor to be the same.

A Servant’s Job Description

FenceThere is a really neat feature for those of us who have blogs. We can tell what word or words a person typed into a search engine which led them to our blog. I get a lot of searches for “tired mama,” “coffee,” and even one “I can’t find my other sock.” Good luck with that one, buddy. I got nothin’ for ya. More often than not, however, someone lands on my blog searching for comfort of some kind. Last week, someone typed in “I can’t pay my bills.” Another day, it was “when you’ve had enough of life.” I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that that one haunted me for days. Unfortunately, I have no way of knowing who did the searching.

It got me to thinking about how so many of us struggle. Life seems to have us down and, yet, continues to kick. Then, I came across this passage in Isaiah.

He who dwells righteously and speaks uprightly, who despises the gain of oppressions, who shakes his hands, lest they hold a bribe, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed and shuts his eyes from looking on evil. – Isaiah 33:15

And then, this.

he will dwell on the heights; his place of defense will be the fortress of the rocks; his bread will be given him; his water will be sure. Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty… – Isaiah 33:16-17

I’ll be honest. I read this for several days. I was kind of stuck because I didn’t feel like I could move on, but I wasn’t really sure what I was supposed to be getting either. Then, it hit me. Think of these two passages as job descriptions.

***

We are to:

live righteously

speak truthfully

despise oppression

live honestly

guard our eyes and ears.

***

Then, when we do our part, God provides:

pleasure {we are able to dwell in his presence}

protection {he becomes our defense}

provision {he gives bread and water}

paradise {the promise of, one day, seeing him in his beauty}

***

Stress and anxiety come when we, first, fail to do our part and, then, have the audacity to try and do God’s part. We spend our time and energy trying to supply pleasure, protection, provision and paradise for ourselves. Take just a moment and think about that thing that keeps you awake at night. What is it that causes you the most anxiety? Do you have it in mind? I would be willing to bet that it falls into one of those categories.

Pleasure. {Are you just seeking something, anything, to make yourself feel better?}

Protection. {Do you feel the need to defend yourself or seek revenge for a betrayal?}

Provision. {Is there a constant fear of not having enough?}

Paradise. {Do you worry that you haven’t done enough or that you aren’t worthy enough?}

If any of those areas stress you out or cause you anxiety, that is because they are not in your job description. You were not created and are not expected to provide those things for yourself. I’m going to teach you a very important phrase – one that I have been practicing myself. Are you ready?

The next time, an unexpected bill comes and you feel your chest tighten and the worry rise.

That is not in my job description.

When you think of that person who misjudged and wounded you and you begin to hurt all over again.

That is not in my job description.

When you feel like everyone is having fun except you and you’re tempted to seek your own pleasure.

That is not in my job description.

It feels pretty good, doesn’t it?

We only need to concern ourselves with our jobs. We need to live righteously. Walk humbly. Seek justice. Despise oppression. Speak and conduct ourselves honestly. Guard our hearts by protecting our eyes and ears. Declare freedom to the captive. Carry light into the darkness. Spread good news to weary hearts.

If you think about it – we get the really fun part.