That’s the goal right?
Change people’s lives. Change the culture. Change the narrative. Change the laws and policies. Change perceptions, attitudes, hearts, minds.
We want to make a difference. Not a little difference.
A BIG one. One that really matters.
Well I don’t know about you, but most days the only thing I change are diapers.
Like a lot of diapers…
What do we do when our lives feel mundane and utterly meaningless? How could God possibly be using me if I hardly ever leave my house? I should be doing something different. Something bigger and better and more important..
Sometimes as moms we can start to feel like we’re missing out on something. That God must have meant for us to do something more than the daily food-prepping, mess-cleaning, laundry-folding, children-chauffeuring routine.
Even if you work outside the home, you might feel you aren’t reaching your potential. You could be doing so much more.
I’ve recently read The Daily Grace Co’s book, Gospel-Centered Motherhood, and something really struck me.
Stefanie Boyles writes, “Success is faithfulness to what God has placed before us.”
How do we usually measure success?
Our wealth? Our house? How many friends we have? How well-behaved or smart our kids are? How much ‘fun’ our job is? The number of followers we have? The clothes we can afford to buy? How many people work under us? How much mom guilt we don’t feel?
I would pose that perhaps our standards of measurement are faulty.
“Success is faithfulness to what God has placed before us.”
That is an extremely freeing and meaningful sentence.
No task is small and meaningless in the hands of a big and sovereign and faithful God.
He has placed you where you are and has asked you to be faithful in it. Whatever it is.
We are here to glorify God in all that we do. Whether that’s changing diapers, grocery shopping, working 9-5, managing schedules, or cleaning up toys.
Obedience and faithfulness often sound boring and inconsequential.
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Rachel Jankovic, in her book You Who?: Why You Matter and How to Deal with It (my favorite), brings this yearning to light:
“If He is a great God, He must want great people honoring Him with great faith, great works, and great ideas. But here I am so very boring and normal and quiet… What about declaring the glory of God in a bigger way than regular, normal obedience?”
But she goes on to say something really important:
“People who do something monumental for the kingdom usually do it because it was simply the next step in the path they had been walking faithfully for some time…When you embrace the work that God has put in front of you today in order to do your duty and glorify Him, He will always give you more seeds to plant.”
If you are faithful in the little things, you will be faithful with the ‘big’ things.
We often just want to jump to the biggest, most important task or achievement we can think of, and we do it often with a heart passionate for building God’s kingdom and changing this broken world, but even then, we step on God’s toes.
We are saying, ‘No, God. I don’t think you have it right. I need to be doing more than this. You haven’t given me enough to work with. I need more!’
We reject the sufficiency of God. We reject the power of God. We reject the faithfulness of God.
We try to write our own story the way we think it should be.
But trust me, the Author and the Creator of the entire world might have a better story for you than you could write. And the way He writes it will probably give him more glory than you would.
Do you trust God with your story?
Do you trust that God will use what you are doing now for His kingdom?
If God is sovereign and loving, then you can believe that where He has put you, what He has placed before you, is deeply important. We can’t allow our selfishness and the culture’s standards of success to twist our posture before our Lord.
Believe. Trust. Obey. Be Faithful.
God has not forgotten you.
God told a disheartened and doubting Habakkuk,
“I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.”habakkuk 1:5
Our sinful desire for control wants the play-by-play, the entire schedule, the end goal, all the details, and all the answers. But even if God gave us all we thought we needed, we wouldn’t believe Him and we might still question Him!
But the work God is doing is great and incredible!
How about this example?
The Israelites grew bored and tired of the manna while they wandered the desert for forty years after they disobeyed the Lord. God blessed and provided for them, but they weren’t satisfied. They complained- ‘We want meat like everyone else.’
God acquiesced and gave them quail. All the quail. They were swimming in it. But as they ate it, God struck them with a plague.
When they rejected God’s blessing and only saw what they didn’t have, when they got what they thought they wanted, they choked on it.
It’s not a very uplifting account, and we don’t like to compare ourselves to the disobedient and complainy Israelites. But if we’re honest with ourselves, don’t we do that?! Don’t we belittle the blessings and life we currently have and demand God gives us something bigger and better?
Our lives feel like manna when we want quail.
The Lord and what he has placed before us is insufficient and boring.
Woe to us who think so little of God that we deem our obedience and faithfulness mundane and meaningless.
Of course, we can’t use this as an excuse for complacency. Being faithful where we are doesn’t mean we are stagnant or comfort-seeking.
We must discern between contentment and complacency.
He may give us an opportunity to step out in faith and do something ‘bigger’ that makes us uncomfortable, and we need to be willing to take whatever next step he puts in front of us.
But just because we aren’t leaping and bounding down the path doesn’t mean we stop taking steps.
Jankovic says, “Every Christian is always in the middle of the spiritual action, whether being faithful as a mother at home nursing babies, as a single person in pursuing their studies, as a missionary, as a worker at the local laundromat, as a CEO, or as a janitor. You are always in the midst of your own most important spiritual work. Your hands are always full of God’s seeds, if you will just plant them.”
How does this impact me personally where I’m at right now?
As a stay-at-home mom, the culture has told me that I’ve settled. I’ve given up on my dreams to stay home. I’m to be pitied for wasting my intellect and my talents at home when I could go have a career and do something important and meaningful. How sad that I’m relegated to changing diapers and saying ‘Take that out of your mouth’ a hundred times a day.
But the culture doesn’t know God.
I was encouraged by Rebekah Merkle’s book, Eve in Exile, which, among many things, reminds us that the home is not in the ‘background,’ it’s the front lines. If God has asked women to take care of children or the home, it must be a meaningful and strategic task that God is using to build His kingdom.
“A woman raising her children is not only shaping the next generation, she is also shaping little humans who are going to live forever. The souls she gave birth to are immortal. Immortal.”
“Our jobs are not important because they keep us just as busy as if we had “real” careers. They’re not important because we can come up with important sounding words to describe them. Our jobs are important because they are poetry. Because they share loves and they shape loyalties, they teach and they convict. They’re important because they take glorious truths and make them incarnate, make them visible, and weave them into the souls of the people around us.”
I love that! As multi-tasking mothers, God has put us in a place with many threads we are weaving through and around our people—our people who have eternal souls. We have so many opportunities to speak truth to them, to show love to them, and help shape them.
If I’ve believed the lie that what I’m doing at home with my kids is insignificant, I’ve stopped trusting God and I’ve rejected the truths and commands of His Word.
But if I believe God is who He says He is, and that He means what He says, then I know His heart and I know that what I’m doing every day, though seemingly small to my untrained eyes, is a big deal in His.
“The good news is that when we trust God, He’s never waiting at the other end to say “Haha, tricked you!” God is faithful, and He gives what He promises. Obedience and faith never turn out to have been a trap.”
“One thing we know is that God loves to use the seemingly trivial things to accomplish staggering results. We may each feel like an insignificant little drop of water, and it may seem like the direction we take in our day-to-day lives doesn’t make any difference to anyone. But when all the drops of water move the same way, what is more powerful and unstoppable than a wave?” [Merkle]
If we want to do any changing right now, it should be ourselves.
Start recognizing that we need to rest in God’s spectrum of success and rejoice in the acts of obedience and faithfulness we steward daily.
Jankovic likens it to the struggle and doubt of plowing a field:
“[Faithfulness] feels like out of control. It feels like thanking God breathlessly for things that you think were a bad idea. It feels like struggling to keep up and being sure that you aren’t doing a great job. It feels like not really seeing the vision for what you are doing. And yet, whenever you look over your shoulder, where you expect to see the devastation of your poorly executed job, what you see instead is a beautiful garden growing. Faithfulness does not feel like what it is accomplishing.”
So we look for ways to be faithful and we trust that God will not waste any action, even the ones the world deems meaningless.
There is no failure in the grace of God’s love and faithfulness.
His power nourishes the seeds we dutifully push down into the dirt and turns them into beautiful gardens and towering trees. Our little drops of obedience play a part in the wave of His power.
And yeah. That can change the world.
“Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”Galatians 6:9