Several months ago, my husband Jeremy pointed out that he had a couple of shirts that needed buttons sewn on. I remember looking at him like, “yeah right, I’ll get to that someday.” (Did I mention I have three kids, three and under, one of which was born this year, 10 days after we moved into a new house, which we are still in the process of remodeling and I still don’t have completely unpacked…8 months later?)
I didn’t think much of his request for me to sew on these buttons and quite frankly remember being slightly offended that he would even ask me with all I had going on. He for sure had many other shirts to wear. He wasn’t running around naked, and it just wasn’t a priority to me in the grand scheme of things I had going on day to day.
A few more times since, he has patiently pointed out that his shirt needed a button sewn on and would I have time to do that for him? Again, I just blew him off, as for awhile I had no idea where my needle and thread even were and did not have the motivation to dig around in storage for my sewing things. In the meantime, I’ve made meals for friends with growing families, served in my ministry group, answered emails and worked on projects for my mothers of multiples club but still had not sewn on his buttons. The shirts were still hanging in the same spot at the front of his closet where he had left them months before.
I believe it is God’s calling for us to serve Him by serving one another. For me it has always also been a blessing, and at times, if I’m being real, a way to gain some recognition that maybe I don’t always get at home. So I’m writing from the perspective that it is a privilege to serve others. That being said, I have started to realize that many times I serve others and, indirectly myself, at the expense of my family.
Last month, in the midst of reflecting for the New Year ahead, I saw Jeremy’s shirts and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I don’t have a right to serve others outside of our home until I first serve my husband and my family. It’s not a matter of being selfish or being lazy. It’s a matter of priorities.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I want my kids to learn that life is NOT all about them–that we are called to sacrifice for others. I know there will be times when God truly calls us as a family to sacrifice in order to serve another family or our church. But when my home and family life suffer because I’m just too busy to be the patient mom and wife God calls me to be, that’s a problem.
I can try to blame my busyness on serving others and being over committed, but that really is only half of it for me. There are a hundred little distractions of my own making that pull me from my family. Let’s be honest. Did my husband and kids really benefit from or truly appreciate the six full tubs of Christmas decorations I spent countless hours putting up around the house? Not that decorating is a bad thing at all, but I wonder if I was adding to my busyness while ignoring some more important things.
I know there is a certain amount of stress and craziness that comes with this stage of life and having small kids, but I still can’t help but think that God does not intend for things to be this way. That’s why this year, I’m committing to take baby steps in the ways below. Perhaps a few of my examples will help you think of extraneous things in your own life you can say “no” to in order to say “yes” to God’s call to serve your own family.
– I will only put out three tubs of Christmas decorations instead of six.
– I will be okay with buying my baby store-bought baby food here and there.
– I’m taking boxes of things to goodwill weekly instead of letting them pile up for the sake of having a garage sale to make a few bucks.
– I’m throwing away the pile of cooking/home decor/home improvement magazines that I collect for ideas to try around the house. They are only making me feel inadequate, unaccomplished and overwhelmed.
– I’m staying off Facebook for the most part.
– I’m giving myself and my family the grace to say “no” to anything new…for a whole year.
– I want to spend more time with fewer people.
Like I said, I’m taking baby steps. So today…I sewed on buttons.
Kelly blogs at Blast-Off Mom!