Before I had my sons, I was beyond ambitious. I was an overachiever and experiencing great “success” in my field of work. The thought of a baby was inhibiting, a step back, hindering…. I had so much potential to reach. A baby would totally throw it off.
I remember having the goal to have a baby at age 30. It seemed far enough off for me to get all I wanted to accomplish done. Guess what? Age 30 came, and I STILL felt like I hadn’t done all I wished to do. It took us almost 2 years to have Ben, which in my mind “bought me more time”. When I found out I was pregnant, my first reaction was not utter bliss. My first thought was something along the lines of, “life as I know it is done”.
I wasted a good year or two with my first son mourning all that “could have been”. I wish I had a book like the Missional Mom back then to slap me out of my pity party. Life was not ending, life was just beginning. I would talk to other moms, who too, shared in my point of view. They would tell me woes of what they “were” before kids. Ah yes, we were sacrificing our lives like martyrs to raise our children….
Our culture is driven by success. Chapter two of Helen Lee’s book describes the results of us being so success-driven and thus, reinforcing that on our kids. We put them in the best preschool to ensure they will qualify for the best possible University (obsurd). Our kids are in swimming, piano, soccer, karate…. at age 3 – because they need all these things to be well-rounded future citizens. Sounds ludicrous doesn’t it? That’s because IT IS! What do these success-driven kids grow up to be? Success-driven adults who then teach their kids the same.
Here’s what I’ve learned about success after six years with children in my life. It will never be enough, and it’s a bubble. It doesn’t matter what you find success in, what you and I are doing probably isn’t really all that impressive.
Did that hurt? I’m sorry. That’s what was spoken right to my heart to get me off my high horse. In the light of all the people who live presently on this planet, my “success” probably doesn’t measure very high. And in the light of all human history and eternity to come, my “success” isn’t even on the radar.
Can I be so bold as to say how small-minded these statements are in the light of what we feel success is:
“I have over 100 people in my women’s group, how many have you got?”
“I made over $150,000 this year. What’s your net worth?”
“I’ve been rated “most desirable to date” in my school this year.”
“I’ve been asked to speak at one of the top conferences in the business I work in.”
“I just wrote a best-seller book which has sold over a million copies.”
“My recent project was featured on the evening news.”
Are the above statements “bad”? Not at all! But to say these statements to boast or make a “claim to fame”? Well that’s just a little ignorant and border-line insecure, don’t you think? What was “breaking news” now, is history tomorrow.
Comparison and coveting accompany “success”. We “wish” we could have certain speaking engagements, we want that “position”, we think if we only had that “role” THEN we would feel successful. Then we covet those who are working in those areas. We compare ourselves with them.
I’m not that good. What I CAN do is focus on what God thinks is successful: a life of obedience. To love people, to love serving people – and to do it even when no one notices.
So I say ACHIEVE! Teach your kids to achieve, but make obedience the goal. SEE needs around your home and reach out as a family to those who are hurting. That doesn’t sound like “potential-squashing”, does it?
You’re not finished just because you have kids. In fact, together, you could make a world of difference!
Helen Lee’s book “The Missional Mom” is a Culture Rebel must-read! Check out her website here