Several moms and I sat around the table at a MOPS meeting, discussing how to find the difficult balance between enjoying each season of mommyhood in which we find ourselves while also anticipating the future with our littles.
Discussing topics like this in a group setting prove helpful. A variety of perspectives were shared that helped me to think through this particular area. There was one friend, however, who spoke, and the truth she shared was like a breath of fresh air to me.
While I don’t remember her exact words, she reminded us that there is a place for discontent. A “holy longing” is how I’ve heard it used before, and it is the idea that the struggles of the here and now remind us that [this] isn’t how it was meant to be. This signifies everything from the temper tantrums we witness in our children (or have ourselves) to the way our bodies deteriorate with age. At its root, life now is a result of the fall of man. Our parents, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God; they brought death into this world (Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:21). Fallenness. Brokenness. Chaos. Humanity, all of creation in fact, is in disrepair because of that first mistake.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! (1 Cor. 15:57)
Through Christ, we are redeemed. We have purpose in the here and now because in Jesus we are able to once again image the holy, perfect, good God we disobeyed. Our Savior broke the shackles that sin held over us; we are free in Him. Free from the fear of death; it will only serve to unite us with Christ. Free from the power of sin; we have His Spirit living in us, teaching us to love and obey Him.
And we are free to have a holy discontentment, longing for that glorious day when we will see Him face to face (2 Cor. 5:1-5). We will finally be perfect, as He is perfect (1 John 3:2). The physical world will also be made new by the One who spoke everything into existence in the first place (Rev. 21:5). And all will be made right.
How might we as women live differently today with this eternity-minded perspective?
Keeping such truth in our minds would surely help to reorient priorities.
Taking care of our physical bodies is a good focus to have, for our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and there is some value to physical training. But it is no longer the main focus; rather, becoming more like Jesus is, for “godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Tim. 4:8)”
Enjoying this life, and each season it affords, is right and good; for they are gifts from our good Father (James 1:17). But the pleasure of this life is not our highest aim (goodbye, FOMO); for we await a kingdom in which God has prepared pleasures and joy in His presence forevermore (Ps. 16:11).
Striving to do well in our respective vocations, whether we are teachers, lawyers, or stay-at-home moms; is another appropriate focus for us to have. In fact, we image God as we create order out of chaos; instruct others; uphold the law; and defend the needy. But our hope is not in being the best or brightest whatever; our hope is in Christ. And our main motivation is no longer to do well so that we make ourselves look good, but to do well so that others see more of the beauty of Jesus Christ as He does His work through us. Because we cannot save, but He can. We cannot make things exactly right as they should be; He can and someday He will.
And in the struggles of [this] day – the weary moments, monotonous routines, depressing news, temptations, trials –
…we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
For this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,
as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.
For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Cor. 4:16-18)
So be encouraged, reader. Jesus is coming.