"Love is not self-seeking," I Corinthians 13:5
Before my children arrived, I was a very busy part-time Children's Minister at a Southern California mega church. Anyone who has ever worked in ministry knows that there is no such thing as a part-time minister. My husband also worked part-time in the same ministry. We lived and breathed for the weekend when we were serving at our church. It was a fun and exciting job. It was truly one of the best times of my life. I enjoyed it for a number of reasons. I enjoyed working with the kids. Children can make you feel important. I put on comical productions. There is nothing like an audience laughing and enjoying my work. I liked the way it felt to have my peers and bosses tell me, "Well done." I constantly wanted to out do my last production. After a while I had begun preforming the job for very selfish reasons. Ministering became less about serving the Lord and more about serving me.
During the height of this we adopted our three children. They got sucked into the tornado that was our lives. We spent the entire weekend at church. They noticed the extra attention I got. They asked me, "Mommy, are we famous?" My answer was, "Yes, of course we are!"
Although I loved my job at church, I was very overwhelmed with my new responsibilities at home. I wanted nothing more to become a mother, but mothering was much more difficult then I had anticipated. I struggled to find a way to put myself and my children first. I felt like a plate spinner in the circus. I was constantly trying to keep all the plates spinning at once.
One weekend a mentor I respected called me into her office. She had noticed that my kids were in child care every service, every weekend. It was taking a toll on them. They had begun acting out in the class and being disruptive to the teacher. She told me that I could not continue having them spend so much time at church. At first I was very angry. I thought, "How dare she suggest such a thing? Doesn't she know that I can't continue working at church if they aren't in child care? Doesn't she know that the children's ministry can't function without me?" I was so prideful and arrogant. I left the meeting very angry and frustrated. I had a good cry about it, and the Lord started speaking to my heart. I had to put the needs of my children ahead the job I loved. My friend was right. I returned to her office in tears. She listened as I told her how overwhelmed I felt. I had to make some changes. Over time I gave up more and more responsibilities. God began braking me of my prideful attitude and renewed a desire to serve Him above all others, including myself.
"Self-seeking" in I Corinthians 13:5 does not require a complicated explanation. It simply means seeking after yourself. The Message Bible says, "(Love) Isn't always 'me first.'" Being self-seeking is looking out for "number 1." I was not loving my children when I put my self ahead of their needs.
Don't get me wrong, I do not think life needs to revolve around the kids. This can produce very self-centered kids. However, life doesn't need to revolve around me either. It does need to revolve around God. I have to measure my choices against what God would have me do. I trust that He will keep our family in balance. Philippians 2:3 says, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves." This is a pretty tall order. I can't do anything out of selfish ambition. The decisions I make must not be based on my own selfish desires, but on what will benefit those in the world around me. Sometimes it does benefit my children to take a "mommy time out." Taking some time for me can refresh me and make me a better mom. Balance requires me to take my eyes off me and put them on God.
Lets tie our aprons tightly, girls. This battle requires selflessness.