I really don’t like to admit it, but as a mom I’ve known to be selfish at times. I’ve hidden cookies so I could have them later, and I’ve extended my kids’ nap time so I could read “one more chapter.” I’ve also gotten my family’s schedule off track because I wanted to be the “good” mom. The mom who volunteered at church, who made it to Storytime at the library, and signed up my kids for all types of activities so I’d look as put together as my neighbor.
When my kids became teenagers, fixing their schedules to pump up my ego didn’t work as well.
“Mom, I don’t want to be in the homeschool production.”
“You want me to babysit for your group … even though it’s my only free night? You’re joking, right?”
“Mom, I’m not going to start a non-profit organization in my spare time … even if it will help me get better college scholarships!”
Of course, sometimes I’m no better when dealing with my husband. He’s said “no” plenty of times when I’ve come to him about volunteering or adding on a new activity. “And, honey, just what are we going to cut out?” he often asks. (Good question!)
Whether it’s the last cookie or a pat on the back, my selfish nature likes to flare up like a sunburn after a day at the waterslides. The best way to combat this—in big things and small—is to start my day thinking about others. (What a concept, I know!) These are questions I often ask myself:
If I could do one thing to put a smile on my husband’s face, what would it be?
What have I been promising to do with my kids that I haven’t gotten around to?
Of course when I’m being selfish, usually my family isn’t the only one missing out. This self-focus spills over and often effects my extended family, friends, and even God. I don’t know about you, but there are times I know what I could do that could make God happy, but my stubborn heart doesn’t want to go there. Knowing that, here’s another question:
What could I say, what could I do, to offer myself to God more than I did yesterday?
And you know what the amazing is? God’s way works. I think selfishness makes me happy, but it never does. Likewise, even when I drag my feet to serve, I discover joy on the other side.
Proverbs 20:5 talks about this, “Knowing what is right is like deep water in the heart, a wise person draws from the well within.” At the end of the day when I know what’s right … and I do it … I am refreshed.
Speaking of which, I have a husband who I bet would love a back rub and a son who needs some one-on-one time. And, I think I’ll lift up my heart, and my voice, in some praise songs as I shower today. I’m sure that’ll make God smile. And I’ll be smiling too.