“Where do you work?”
“What type of work do you do?”
“Do you have a job or do you stay at home?”
Work questions typically dominate the start of most new conversations. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is indicative of what society deems important. It’s a similar topic that circulates around blogs and articles all over the internet. Yet there’s still a stigma, a need to defend our preferences.
I believe for many, the primary focus has been narrowed down into one extreme (career) or the other (children).
Let’s all be reminded that it’s a great time to be a christian parent. We have the ability to place value on what’s important in the kingdom of Christ, to love differently, to worship differently. But it is easy to make parenthood and/or a career about identity, when really, truly that’s not what it’s about.
It’s about mission.
Oh how I would rather hear the question: “what are you being entrusted with right now?”
Recently, I spoke with a mom friend about how it took forever to change the way we responded to the question “what type of work do you do?” Verbalizing “I’m a stay at home mom” has been incredibly difficult for us. I realized the key question in our conversation as my friend spoke: “It took awhile to just say ‘I’m a stay at home mom’ and not feel the need to justify what I am doing, or clarify that I was once a professional in the medical world. This is a challenging thought process because I worked so hard in my field and was proud of those accomplishments, but why do I need to revisit that title? Or justify my current decisions?”
It comes down to matters of the heart, of course.
It was hard to realize none of those responses are who I am, regardless of how I answer.
Another mom friend openly stated how she loved being able to respond to that question with: “I’m an accountant and I work in an office.” She really liked that she wasn’t a stay at home mom and was able to have a family and a career too. While those are glorious things in themselves, she stated, “It’s hard though, because I wanted to be seen as a mom who had it all together. Like yes, this is who I am, a career woman and a mom and I’m rocking it. But even in all my success and responding with having a career and being and a mom, it is still not who I am. Who I am is a child of God.”
Hear me well: this isn’t specific to women and certainly not specific to moms. This is for any of us placing our identity where it doesn’t belong. Because the mission isn’t about finding our identity in what we do. Not our professional title. Not parenting.
The bottom line is so simple but can get easily clouded and confused, where we base it off emotions and how everything feels in the moment. But here’s the truth: You have been given something at this very point in time that God is entrusting to you.
It’s your mission.
From a personal standpoint, some days I repeat the same stories to my son, the same colors, piggy sounds, ABC’s, and the same distractions from identical no-no’s as the day before. Some days I can get caught up in thoughts of how far I’ve come in my career field and reminisce about days gone by.
But it’s an interesting battle that rages in my mind.
Because truly there isn’t any other thing I’d rather be doing right now. I think about my rapidly developing child, his image-bearing soul, and how he was given to me, of all the moms in this world, to help raise into a godly, healthy man. What in the world?! The weight of that is truly monumental.
Yet, I am tempted to focus on these small monotonous things that obscure and blind that vision for me.
My career actually wasn’t put on hold when my child came along.
My career paused when my widowed mom developed terminal cancer and we moved her in our home. It was completely impossible to work 9 hour shifts, see 25 patients a day, somehow chart, and then be a comforting presence or support to my mom.
And a wife.
It was my choice to quit because I knew in my heart that God was entrusting her to me for a specific time. When I was her caretaker, I knew there was no where else I’d rather be. Making those precious memories with her, taking care of things she needed in similar ways she had for me years ago, all priceless.
He calls each one of us at different times to different things.
And that’s the thing about being entrusted with these gifts in life:
- They are always hard and completely overwhelming.
- They are always brief moments in time.
- But they are always eternal.
“And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:17 (NKJV)
Today remember that your actions truly are eternal. Your mission is what God has entrusted you with right now, whatever it is. It may be your career title, children, a volunteer position, or any number of things. For awhile God entrusted the title of a nurse practitioner to me with patients to care for. He entrusted me to be a wife, then take care of my mom, and now my child.
It doesn’t mean that what’s left behind is gone for good. But in the present, trust Him, grow your mission, and perform it to the best of your ability.
Photo by Matt Hoffman