Expectations and Authenticity

October 29, 2014

I went to a really awesome Women's Retreat last week.  And it's got me thinking a lot about the expectations of being a "good mom" or a "perfect wife" or a "Proverbs 31 woman".

  • own a big house
  • invite people over often
  • clean that big house
  • make meals
  • make healthy meals
  • organic, gluten free, GMO free meals
  • no fast food
  • meal plan
  • make freezer meals
  • make meals for others
  • bake coookies
  • keep a full cookie jar
  • have clear kitchen counters
  • have granite countertops
  • serve in the church
  • nursery duty Sunday
  • nursery duty Wednesday
  • attend Bible study
  • host Bible study
  • attend small group
  • host small group
  • have daily devotions
  • have daily family devotions
  • have daily devotions with husband
  • have a happy marriage
  • have lots of sex
  • have lots of children
  • sacrificially give up sleep
  • sew
  • own a minivan
  • drive other people's kids around
  • take the neighborhood to church
  • take the church to the neighborhood
  • serve the less fortunate
  • make memories for child(ren)
  • have craft time with child
  • give up coffee
  • go to bed early
  • get up early
  • exercise
  • daily laundry
  • mop
  • wear an apron
  • wear makeup
  • wear heels
  • have nice matching furniture that isn't second-hand or stained
  • have a queen or king sized bed
  • . . .
It keeps going and going.
It's enough to make me crumble.
And weep.
And give up.

Because [clearly] I can't do it all.

The question I keep coming back to is "Where do these expectations come from?"

God never called me to be Super Woman.  He's the One I say I live for and care about.  Then why am I stressing about doing all these other things that He's never called me to do?

One point our speaker made at the retreat is that God's not calling me to do, do, do.  He's calling me to be.

To be His daughter.  To be in His presence.

Look at the Bible passage about Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42.
Oh, this story has always made me squirm.

Because, like Martha, I'm a doer.  I think of all the work that needs to be done.  And I try to do it.  And then I get ticked off when others aren't doing their fair share.

In this passage, Martha is feeling the same way.  And Jesus totally calls her out on it, and says she can stop trying to do it all.  He never asked her to do it all.  In fact He doesn't want her to do it all.  He wants her to just be.  To sit at His feet and to be with Him.

Oh, Lord, can I do that?  Is it possible to overlook the messy house and the overflowing baskets of laundry and the over-scheduled calendar to focus on what You have truly called me to do??

My friend Lisa-Jo just wrote about NOT Doing It All.  Her honesty was much appreciated and needed.  The part that impacted me the most was kind of some behind-the-scenes information.  The "story behind the photo" if you will.

A couple days prior she had posted a photo of her sweet kiddos all lined up in a row, sitting nicely on the couch, all happy and well fed with bowls of food in their laps.  It was cute.  Of course.

Then I found out the story behind the photo:  Lisa-Jo had just gotten home from traveling out of town for a few days to a conference where she was a speaker.  Though she was delighted to be home and with her kids again, she was also exhausted.  She got Chinese take-out, put it in bowls, lined them up on the couch with dinner and Netflix while she napped.

Can I get a "Hallelujah" for a nap?
Can I get a "Hallelujah" for such honesty?
Can I get a "Hallelujah" for takeout and tv for those moments when we just can't do it all and we need to be real and ok with that?

Another friend's husband recently posted "Judging by my facebook feed, if you haven't taken your kids to an apple orchard or a pumpkin patch yet this fall, you're a horrible parent."  Though obviously tongue-in-cheek, it puts into explicit words what we may be feeling tinges of when we compare our lives to those showing up in our newsfeed.

I can't allow others' snippets of life and snapshots momentarily on display to decide the expectations of my day-to-day reality.

Lord, help me to know what YOU expect of me.  May I strive for only the things that bring glory to you.

"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 
1 Corinthians 10:31

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  1. Such an honest post. I love love love the story about Mary and Martha. I studied it deeply. Like you, and probably every other woman, I am a doer. What you said was so true, the Lord just wants us to be. Thank you for this reminder!


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