Friday, July 24, 2015

Lay Aside Every Weight

It's been a pretty typical week with the ups and downs of parenting. I've witnessed a few 30-minute fits and meltdowns, a few things got thrown, one kid pushed another kid a dozen times, I got many hugs around the neck, enjoyed time playing with the boys, and even listened to them put on their own (very loud) church service.

And then comes the internet, with its bloggers who say to *enjoy every minute,* *pay 100% of your attention to them,* and *be sure you're enjoying that minute because it's the LAST TIME IT WILL EVER HAPPEN AND YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW IT YET.*

Are you stressed out yet? Worrying that you should have held your child until he went to sleep instead of taking a shower? Should you have watched the middle one jump off of the couch for the 10th time in a row cheering instead of texting your husband to tell him to pick up diapers on the way home? Did you dare to clean or check Facebook or even just sit down while the children were awake?

And so we can - and I do - become tangled up in the grip of all of these internet expectations, everyone practically screaming about how their number one priority should be yours, and suddenly you have too many priorities to even be able to breathe. Or is it just me? Somehow, I doubt it.

But the author of Hebrews says,

"Let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." (12:1)

The race is our Christian life, set before us by God. The entire Bible tells us about the race and how we should run it. We must do the will of God, strengthened by Him, and do it until our time is up and we die.

All of the mommy wars priorities that are so easily pushed in our faces - THESE are weights that we need to lay aside. By all means, love your babies. Give them the attention and love they need. But don't let some person you don't even know yell at you about how often you can and cannot look at your phone between the hours of 6am and 9pm, or how much you NEED to enjoy your kids to the point where you're wondering if it is actually ok to have idols (no, it's still not ok).

The weight here in Hebrews doesn't necessarily mean sin, but rather, any burden that will hinder us. As one commentary says, "even harmless and otherwise useful things" that can slow us down from running the race are included in this "weight."

Weight here is the Greek word "onkon." (Does that matter? I have no idea - I only know this because of the internet.) Onkon means a burden, weight, or encumbrance. It's something heavy that is going to slow you down.

Friends, it is wonderful to enjoy our babies, and to appreciate the time we have with them until they grow up and move away. Time flies, and that will all happen before we know it. The Bible itself tells us in many places that life is fleeting, and it also says that children are gifts.

The problem comes, I think, when we begin to see a certain level of attentiveness, enjoyment, and relishing everything we can as some sort of duty. We can begin to strive for these things, and they can become our onkon. (That word sounds either super theological or super weird, I'm not sure which.)

Galatians 5:1 says, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free; stand firm now, and do not let yourself be burdened again by the yoke of slavery."

Jesus didn't die for us to be slaves to mommy blogger opinions. He did not rise up from the grave, living and triumphant, for us to feel like motherhood is a checklist. He did not endure the cross and overcome death for us to be burdened by the yoke of the mommy wars. No, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free!

So love your babies, but love Jesus more. He will give you the strength to run the race set before you, and the ability to lay those burdens down. Loving God, seeking after God - these are the things that are going to make the rest of motherhood - and life - fall into place. You don't have to strive on your own. You don't have to present your motherhood checklist at the pearly gates.

So let's rest in that, as much as our human hearts can, and run the race without those extra weights - because seriously, diaper bags are heavy enough.