Our church is reading the New Testament from February to Advent this year---a chapter a day, with Sundays off. A few weeks ago this verse stood out to me. It's Matthew 10:37. Jesus is speaking to his twelve apostles:
"He who loves his father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me."
I often put God on the proverbial back burner in the name of what I "need" to do during a given day. That "need" usually entails cooking, cleaning, going to work, blogging (about my family), making phone calls, running errands. Yes, most of these things are done in service to my family, and to myself. I value a tidy home and homemade dinners. I hate running out of paper towels, and I always get birthday cards out on time. These are "needs."
I had a recent post on my She Dabbles blog on the topic of mothering as a ministry. I think adoptive mamas are especially prone to taking the role of MOM very seriously. We practice parenthood with purpose and precision. After all, some of my friends waited a decade to become mothers, so they're going to do it RIGHT and well. (Plus, adoptive parents seem to be on some sort of pedestal by others because we "saved" a child in need....but let's save this for a later post). Mothering to them, and to me, can be defined as a ministry, or a righteous duty, or a gift, or even, yep, an obsession.
Until I started the NT2010 challenge (reading the New Testament in less than a year), I was really slacking in the God-department. I grew up in church, am a professing Christian, love God, attend church every Sunday, pray, believe...but I hardly was doing anything active to grow my faith. I'd "try" to pull out my Bible every day, but when I did, my mind would race. The baby would be asleep for two hours, and that is limited, precious time when you're a mom, teacher, and housekeeper. The to-do list grows, while time seemingly shrinks. It's hard to focus on just being quiet and listening to God, yet I know, as a long-time Christian, that it's crucial to healthy living.
Mathew 10:37 spoke volumes to me. I realized I was spending my time and mental energy making sure that everyone is provided for, and selfishly, that my needs are met (I can't focus when my house is a mess---that's just me)...instead of seeking God first, which I believe is commanded in Matthew 6:33:
"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things [your needs] shall be added to you."
I KNOW my day will be improved and my family will be better served if I SEEK GOD FIRST and stop loving Him last.
Perhaps it's not mothering or your duties that are becoming your idols. Maybe it's something else. Your job? Your Facebook account (ooo---guilty at times!)? Your commitments to a community service project? Your drive to go green? For more on this topic, check out one of my favorite blogs, Passionate Homemaking.
Spending time with God comes at a cost. You won't go to God and come away as you were. He requires change, demands honesty, and expects growth. It can be a painful process, one we want to avoid at times, but I know that when I fess up and pipe down, good things happen!
And when you think about, isn't your family, yourself, your community, your home, your church, etc. best served when you are at your very best?