Its Not All About You

Last night, with my husband at a late working dinner, I picked my daughters up from school with designs on a nice dinner out that would make us all happy.
When I told my 7-year-old we were eating dinner out for “Girl’s Night,” she screamed “Subway!!!!” My heart sank. Not exactly what I had in mind.
I appealed to my more “sophisticated” 8-year-old, who was more to my line of thinking. She objected to Subway as well. However, the younger insisted, and we ended up in front of a sandwich artist. I was the one to throw the tantrum. “It’s not all about you!” I grumbled.
When you get married, and again when you have children, you often hear people say a similar line. “It’s not all about you anymore.”
In the beginning, when it’s just husband and wife, it’s not that big a thing. The other person is focused on you, so it doesn’t feel that different. But when the kids come along and they grow into walking, talking, little people with wants and needs and desires, it hits you much harder. It’s really NOT all about you anymore.
I grew up the younger of two children born to two people who had experienced what it was like to have little. My husband was the last of six children in a farm family, so his upbringing was more like my parents than my own. I was a child who received all my parents could afford and was heavily encouraged by parents, teachers and later friends to become everything I could. And I did. And people cheered me on. It WAS all about me.
My children brought great change to my life. After the birth of the first, my husband and I moved our small family, not only to a new home, but away from a job I loved and excelled at. I assumed at some point I would find more fulfilling work, but after a few freelance jobs and a few more health problems, it didn’t seem that I would be returning to my beloved PR world full-time.
I’m not sure if I made the decision to stop looking for full-time work on my own, or if God guided me that way by throwing up obstacles in my path.
But now that my children are in school and growing faster than the speed of light, I see clearly that what I needed was to empty myself for the good of others — my family.
“It’s not all about you!” Its the message God sends me everyday, and that I struggle with everyday. After years of being the princess, A-student, cheerleader and all around good girl so many loved and doted on, learning to be a mom dedicated to her family is the hardest role I’ve taken on. Namely because I had to put the fabulous “me” aside.
I know Jesus wants me to be more like Him. To put others first, to truly serve. I chose to follow that message. But I remake the commitment every day of my life. I still want what I want. I want pretty clothes, cool shoes, travel plans, and to eat at restaurants that don’t serve cold cuts and out of season tomatoes. I know many who have the material things I want, and at times I’m a green-eyed monster. And sometimes I even throw tantrums when I don’t get what I want.
But spiritually, I have felt the beauty of my sacrifice, and when my children fight over who gets to sit by mommy at dinner, or run back downstairs at night for an extra kiss, I know in my heart what I’ve done is right. If not easy. It has brought me closer to God, and showed me that there are rewards better than material goods to be had in our world by using your skills and smarts for the benefit of others.
My investments walk and talk. And one day, as God reminds me gently everyday, they’ll be paying it forward themselves, putting ego aside to make the world better.

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