Let’s face it, as women, we don’t usually have a singular calling. We are called to many different things.
I saw this skit once, at a women’s retreat. It was a one-woman show. She just changed out her props about 10+ times to show all the different hats a woman wears on a daily basis. I laughed so hard. You know, the belly-aching, cheeks-hurting, kind-of-laugh. Especially when it came to the end of her day, when she finally got in her comfy-clothes, ready to relax, and her husband rolls over in the bed to “snuggle” after she’s been completely poured out. So she pulls out her final “prop”, lingerie.
Don’t read that last part wrong. Just laugh. Because you know that’s reality.
It’s not that a woman doesn’t want to be with her man, or to be a good mom, or to work hard at her job. It’s just that a woman is pulled in so many different directions throughout her day that it can be exhausting to be all-things to all-people.
Knowing my husband’s response ahead of time, I often tease him by saying, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too!” Without hesitating, while wearing a confident grin, he always comes back with “Yes, I can. I want my cake and I’ll eat it too.” And we both laugh. No pressure, wifey wife. No, none at all.
But isn’t it the pressure of it all that buries us? That keeps us from fully embracing our calling.
The expectations we put on ourselves as we interpret the question, “What does my husband mean by, he wants his cake and to eat it too?” Just go ahead and insert your own self-talk here.
I, personally, can be quick to blame someone else for expecting too much from me, when in reality I am the one putting all the pressure on myself.
So how do we, as women, deal with the pressure?
While we are right in the middle of carrying out the necessary responsibilities of our calling, we try to escape it somehow. Just momentarily.
You know the names of our escapes, don’t pretend you don’t. Chocolate, food, Netflix, Facebook, Instagram, texting, books, busy-ness, shopping, etc… All these things take us to another place, or give us a sense of comfort or escape in the moment. Helping us just get-through-the-day.
I’m not saying any of these things are bad. Don’t read that into what I’m saying. I love me some chocolate. In fact all these things are meant to be enjoyed. It’s because they aren’t “bad things” necessarily, that it’s more difficult for us to see when we are trading in moments we could be embracing, for escape.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.
1 Cor 10:23
Let’s look back on the definition of my word for the year, embrace::
embrace: the action of being fully present. to engage. physically, mentally and spiritually. to encircle. wrapping two arms around a current moment, situation, circumstance or person. antonym: to escape.
I don’t know about you, but I want to live my life, trading-up my moments instead of trading them down.
Yet for some reason, it takes a lot more effort and energy to trade-up in a moment than it does to trade-down.
Trading-up requires you to engage.
Disengaging costs you very little in the short-term. Although the same can’t be said for the long-term.
I think it links to our culture’s entitlement mentality at the basic level. Trading-down usually makes it all-about-me, at the cost of someone else or to my own determinate. Don’t miss that last part….at the cost of someone else or to my own determinate.
Please hear me. Me-time, downtime and rest are healthy practices. We just need to take into account the-when and the-what.
I’ll get to the point. Here’s a perfect example.
On our summer “schedule” I let my kids watch a show after rest-time most days on the days we are home. This past Friday we were planning to celebrate my son’s birthday by taking our whole family, cousins and even Grandaddy to play laser tag that afternoon. The kids have been anticipating it all week and the excitement-meter was through the roof!
My kids asked if they could watch a show after rest-time and I explained, “We are leaving to go play laser tag right after nap-time today!” I assumed there would be no rebuttal. Not when the anticipation of it, all-week-long, almost caused my kids to spontaneously-combust!
But my youngest was not going to relinquish by her “right” to watch a show after nap-time, so quickly. She came back with, “Can we go after we watch our show?”
You see it. Don’t you?
And that’s what we do. And we’re the grown-ups. We choose lesser things. We trade-down. Sadly, we’re the ones who miss out. On the real fun. The best enjoyment this life has to offer.
Stop right here. And throw the mommy-guilt out the window.
Guilt cannot be our motivating factor because we’ll just be driven to escape the guilt of it all. Trust me, I’ve battled this and still battle this. If perfectionism is what we are striving for we will end up one of two things 1) Angry or 2) Depressed.
While guilt can’t and shouldn’t drive us. I do think self-awareness (paired with grace) is an important lens to wear. So we can see the choices we’re making and have an active role in them rather than a passive one.
It’s such a tricky balance and yet it can make all the difference. What motivates us matters.
looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
For the joy set before him. He endured the cross.
It’s for the joy God has for us, on the other side of the choices we make, that we embrace our calling.
Trading-up. In the moment. Motivated by Jesus’ love and by his example. For Joy. Embracing our calling in the daily.
Yes, it will cost us something. But you know what? We might just find ourselves falling in love with our calling all.the.more. Becoming more like the Mom, Wife, Teacher, Insert-your-own…..we have always wanted to be. Who God created us to be.
What does Trading-Up look like in your life?
Stay tuned for Embracing your calling part 2. I’ll share some practical tips that have helped me in trading-up.