Apparently I Missed the Memo that I am Selfish

Many years ago now (and sorry I don’t know the source), I recall reading another Mom’s confession: becoming a Mom showed me how incredibly selfish I was.

Guilty as charged. Over many years of mothering, I’ve slowly become less selfish and more of a “servant” (in a good, “I want to glorify God” sort of way). I’ve come to terms with the fact that a full night’s sleep is over-rated. And that when I’m short on sleep, I still need to be loving...and patient. And as you know, Mom’s don’t get sick days. Not only that, no matter how hard we work compared to everyone else, we need to be an example to our children of how to “work with all our hearts as working for the Lord” and “having the attitude of Christ,” who did not come to be served but to serve. Motherhood has given me many opportunities to put aside my flesh and my selfish desires and do what is necessary and best for my family and for the Lord. I don’t do it perfectly, but after 13 years and counting…I’m getting there.

Or so I thought.

Being “on the mission field” here in Africa has just afforded me yet many more opportunities to work on my inherent selfishness and focus on pleasing not myself, but my God.

We’re “known” here. The mzungus who have come to share the Word of God. They don’t call first, they just show up. They want to talk to “Baba Isaiah” or “Missionary Marc,” as my husband is known. And it’s my job to greet them all and play hostess. If it’s a group of women, I try to take the lead on conversation. I have to admit, that’s a challenge for me. We’re still not fluent in Swahili, and many of them know little or know English, so it’s very often…very awkward. But more than that, the visits usually happen when I’d prefer they didn’t. Like when I’ve “finally” finished my morning’s work and can finally sit down and read a book to the littles whom I can’t help but feel like I’ve neglected for far too long. Or when the children are (for once) all enjoying some free time outside and I might just be able to read a good book for a few minutes. Or it could be that I haven’t even finished the wash yet, and if it doesn’t happen soon, we’ll miss the window of opportunity on the sunshine to dry them…and once dragged in the house, there’s never enough room on kitchen clothesline for the damp stuff, and it’ll just have to get brought out to the line again tomorrow. In the middle of meal preparation? Well, turn down the heat on the unpredictable propane stove and pray that it doesn’t burn. Burnt supper? Let’s see what we can do…

I still want it my way: my to-do list (however noble the tasks might be), my schedule, my convenience.

And if they’re not coming here…Marc is going “out there.” I look forward to those precious one or two days each week that he’s supposed to be “off.” But he rarely is. Phone calls, more drop-ins, unexpectedly scheduled meetings, baptisms, paperwork to catch up on…and sometimes (in my more selfish moments), I wish we could have more family time. It’s important to us, and we do what we can with what we have; we try to set boundaries…but I have to admit, sometimes my attitude about being “on mission” and about all of the inevitable interruptions, isn’t the best. I’m still selfish.

But I’m working on it.

3 thoughts on “Apparently I Missed the Memo that I am Selfish

  1. Cindy, Your words remind me of what I read this morning…”We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” 1 John. 3:3-4. Won’t that be awesome, to be like Him–pure and perfect, mature, complete, lacking in nothing! I can’t wait. Until then, we purify ourselves–confessing our sins, repenting and “walking in the light.” Thank you for your openness and humility in this struggle. You are being called to a level of selflessness that I, here in my private little home set back from a country road, cannot even imagine. As always, I will pray for your strength. I will also pray for God to carve out “sabbath” times for your family.

    Blessings to you all, Lorna

    1. First John is one of my favorite letters…good verses to meditate on, indeed. You are a great encouragement to me, thank you! 🙂 After Marc read my post yesterday, Silas (our neighbor and a good disciple of Marc’s) dropped by just as I was putting supper on the table and Marc asked him to come back later. He told me he thought I would appreciate it. 😉

  2. i’ve been blessed with your openness and candid way of speaking truth by relating your own struggles. seems some days that i simply can’t get ahead and stuff’s piling up faster than i can deal with it. and who gets the brunt? yes, the children. poor kids, i so badly want to give them the childhood they deserve, and the example they should have but i fail more than succeed in this whole selflessness thing. like jason says, we’re mighty good parents after 10:00 when the children are all in bed and we’re sitting down talking about how we should be and what we meant to do. then i’m reminded to check the root issues, and take it to the Lord. we’re not meant to parent alone and they’re really God’s precious blessings more/before they ever were ours. thanks for your reminders!

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