My son loves sports. He plays soccer, football, basketball, and now baseball. He’s still at the age where the commitment is a bit easier–shorter seasons and less times per week. But he loves it, so we let him play several sports throughout the year, as long as they don’t overlap. He watches all kinds of professional sports with his daddy on TV, and constantly wants to go outside and toss around a ball.
Here he is, number 17, about to get a flag in flag football last year.
He’s very athletic, and more than that, he gives 100% all the time.
Well, almost all the time.
Last week at baseball practice, he got to make use of his new gloves for outfielders when he was moved from 1st base to outfield.. After his turn at batting, his fill-in remained at 1st base and he was rotated to the outfield. Things were moving a bit more slowly than he would have liked as kids are still adjusting to hitting off a pitching machine, and my son–the one who gives 100% all the time–squatted down in the grass right in the middle of practice.
It lasted for about 3 seconds until I could get his attention and motion for him to stand up. Which he did and he did it without attitude. After the game we had a talk about giving your all and not sitting down on the job, even if it’s not the position you wanted to play.
It bothered me so much to see that apathy in him, and I started thinking about the comparisons to motherhood. Sometimes, we can get apathetic and sit down on the job. But the difference is, this isn’t practice. Sometimes motherhood may not feel like we expected, but this is not a trial run and we only get one shot at it. We cannot afford apathy.
I’ve been sharing with you about an encouraging video series available right now called The Truth about #momfail Culture. It’s all about encouraging moms and hearing those things we need to hear on a bad day. I encourage you to check that out if you haven’t already.
I even wrote about that subject earlier this week myself with 3 truths you need to hear on a bad day (with a free printable).
It’s a fine line.
In many cases and in many ways, we should be doing better. Sometimes, we can get apathetic about this mom thing, and we just can’t let that happen. At the same time, there are moments when we should extend ourselves a little grace.
I know some of my readers are on one end, striving for perfection and feeling like a failure when you don’t meet the impossible standards that you set for yourself.
And some of my readers may be sitting down on the job and need to be lovingly encouraged to step it up a bit. I’m not judging! I relate so well because most often this seems to be the category that I find myself in. But the truth is, most of us struggle with a bit of each, and we need to understand the difference so that we’re giving ourselves grace, while still striving to give our families our best.
Mommy Guilt Vs. True Conviction
The Lord is so good and merciful that he convicts us when we are out of His will. Yes, this is a mercy. “Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” How much worse it would be if He allowed us to stray without conviction or chastisement! He knows what is best for us and what will fulfill our spirits. And he convicts us when we stray.
But, we also have an accuser who is throwing condemnation at us, and we need to know the difference.
- Consider the source–Conviction comes from Christ, while condemnation is a tool of Satan.
- Consider what it requires–Conviction calls you to a high standard, calls you to give your all. Condemnation calls you to impossible standards that you can never reach.
- Consider the focus–Conviction focuses on the standards that the Lord has given us through His Holy Word. Mommy guilt so often focuses on what others are doing or saying, comparing ourselves to those seemingly perfect images we see on social media. Notice I said “seemingly perfect.” Because no mother or family is perfect. None. You may see a perfect, pretty smiling family, but social media doesn’t show you the screaming fit that happened just before that photo, or the dirty dishes hiding in the sink in the other room.
- Consider the time–Conviction focuses on now and the future–through Christ you can meet the call that He has for you in motherhood, from this moment on. “Forgetting those things that are behind …” So often, condemnation focuses on the past–all the ways that you have failed your children from birth till now come back to haunt you.
Yes, the Lord can use our mistakes to teach us and grow us. But if you’re focusing on your failures in a way that beats you down and makes you wallow in despair–that is probably not conviction from the Lord and is maybe a time when you need to hear those truths for a bad day, and give yourself some grace.
The most important thing is for you to be willing to search your heart and know which category you fall into. Hear grace from God when you need it, but also be willing to hear the conviction that sometimes we really can do better.