And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men … (Colossians 3:23)
“Let that go. Do your job with excellence as unto the Lord and let that go,” my sweet friend responded to my woes in grace just as I was about to light the candle on my mom-guilt pity party cake. Her kind, but resolute words danced on my toes.
A little backstory: I am the fun mom.
Someone once told me we are not our children’s entertainment coordinators, to which I enthusiastically disagreed. Our babies get one childhood. One. Eighteen years in our homes, but only thirteen (give or take) to be kids, and just four or so to be toddlers.
I’m talking – outside in the sprinkler as the sun is coming up, popsicles for breakfast, pallets in the living room binging cartoons on Saturday mornings, splash pads, iconic forts, Nerf gun wars, state-of-the-art cardboard rocket ships, colorful lunches, “sure you can sleep in your tent instead of your bed,” or “absolutely you can lick the brownie spoon!”
Every day is an adventure, even if it’s just going to the dollar shop for some crayons or sliding down the hill in the backyard on an old pizza box. Don’t mishear me, we have firm boundaries. My boys are learning that obedience brings blessings and disobedience brings consequences. We are fully in tune with the fact that we aren’t just keeping kids happy and healthy, we are raising the next generation of men. A charge we do not take lightly.
It is a well-rounded operation.
Recently though, I found myself with less umph.
My take on motherhood was a little more womp womp womp than my usual rah rah rah! My attention span was short, and my fuse? Even shorter. There were fewer chocolate chips in the pancakes and more time spent zoning out on my phone than in the moment with my babies. Where I would normally be the first in on the fun, I had a bad attitude and was dragging my feet.
I was so frustrated with myself. And instead of allowing my frustrations to fuel my motivation, I floundered in my fallibility. I curled up in my complacency. I figured, “Well, I’ve already failed them so I might as well get comfortable.”
It felt as if a rafter had fallen from the ceiling and landed on me, and instead of fighting for my life I just laid there and slowly conceded to death.
I caught myself yelling orders at my oldest instead of communicating with him. My patience with our 16-month-old was running on its backup battery and the light was blinking. I was spiraling and my babies were feeling the pressure.
Until one day, same as any other, my friend spoke that precious wisdom and the Lord used her words to break off chains of guilt and shame and lack of joy from unmet expectations.
All the Lord asks of us is to love others, believe in Him, and do whatever we do heartily unto Him. Heartily means wholeheartedly, sincerely, genuinely; I was doing anything but. I was going through motions in a constant state of fight or flight, desperate to make it from A to bedtime.
If I’m being honest, I couldn’t remember the last time I had stopped to give thanks and worship, but when I did, that’s when everything changed. Instead of thinking, “This moment with the boys is really loud and really hard and I just want to lay down and cry,” I would stop and worship before I responded, and I felt my perspective start to shift in a holy way.
With a supernatural quickness, I began to regain my “want to,” my umph. There was almost a tangible feeling of the weight lifting off of our home. Everyone felt it.
So, I say all of this to get to this point: If you are doing your best unto the Lord, let the rest go. The shame and guilt and feelings of inadequacy, let it go. Whether you are sweeping or scrubbing or wiping water off the floor after a wild bath time or saying “Wow!” to something that is indeed not “Wow!” for the hundredth time today; it’s worship, Mama.
It’s all worship.