Have you ever spent time with a person who is so unlike you, they become the best mirror in the world? What I mean is, because of how differently they operate your own extreme tendencies in some alternate direction become obvious and glaring? That happened to me a few days ago. I was spending time with a lovely woman who asked me some very good questions. She is a logical person. She values independence and strength. She is a doer. After 2 hours with her I began to feel extremely lopsided and exposed. My own tendencies in the complete opposite direction felt obtuse and unwieldly.
Jess = driven by emotions, value being needed, encourage dependence, think and feel much more than do.
Our conversation was refreshing in a couple of ways. She exposed a few things, but didn’t ridicule or judge me. She didn’t give me any advice, and trusted that these areas, now exposed and bleeding a little, could be healed by God in His timing. That takes some serious skill.
So here it is. The slice of soul laid bare. Idolatry.
Not golden calves, but something even uglier. Motherhood.
I worship the role I have as “Mother.” I work and slave and toil for the love and loyalty my kids give me. I think of them as mine. I want them to think of themselves as mine. I want them to love God, but not as much as they love me.
That’s pretty bad. I know it.
But you know what? Thank God I’m learning this about myself now. God can do something with this. I am not doomed to play the evil mother-in-law who hates the kids spouses for stealing them away from me.
So, here’s a warning to you. Don’t send your oldest away to camp and then talk about how you feel about it to someone wise and godly.
As proud and happy as I was to see my daughter run into the arms of her counselor and hastily kiss my cheek goodbye, a part of me, the part crusted over by idolatry, wanted her to hang on me and need me. I’m jealous of her fearlessness and emotional strength. I wanted to take it from her.
I didn’t. I gave her a quick hug and giggled with her, told her to be brave and try new things. I didn’t write her sappy letters telling her I missed her. I knew she needed funny acrostic poems and silly bands instead. That is the Holy Spirit at work. He had to work VERY hard for that moment of grace. There is much more work to do before I can give love freely and without expectation.
I’m not discouraged though. I can see God at work pruning my soul and preparing it to bear fruit. That’s always good even if it is a bit painful.