As I write this, I’m on vacation. We got to our condo yesterday and everything looked great. Until I walked into the laundry room.
What?! WHY would someone put a scale in a place where people are on vacation, eating with reckless abandon and enjoying every minute of it? It’s not that I’m unaware I’ve been eating so freely here. It’s just that I don’t want to take premature inventory of the results. That should happen when I get home.
Of course, whether I know about it or not doesn’t change the reality of any added vacation weight. I just want to ignore it because it makes me happier right now.
On Mother’s Day, most of us (myself included) just want to sit back and celebrate – not weigh how we’re doing. But I recently took note of a scale we moms really need to step on. Not the one in my condo’s laundry room (please not the one in the laundry room), but a measuring stick nonetheless:
A recent survey showed that only 16% of Christian women rate faith as their top priority in life, well below family at 53%.
If you’re a Christian mom, there’s no time like today to weigh your priorities. Is your life measuring up to an identity based around family or an identity based around Christ?
The Christian Identity
In case there is any doubt, let’s clearly establish what the Bible says about the identity of a Christ-follower.
Galatians 3:26-27: You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
Colossians 3:3-4: For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
1 John 3:1: How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
1 Corinthians 3:16: Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?
These verses – and at least 150 others – point to our identity being solely in Christ, as children of God.
That is who you are. A child of God, first and foremost.
None of these verses say anything remotely close to, “Oh, but if you have kids, then you are first and foremost a mom. Your family comes first.”
None. Not even close. God always comes first.
In fact, the Bible says relatively little about parenting. The writers were primarily concerned with their audience’s relationship with God, presumably because Godly parenting flows naturally out of a solid faith. When the Bible does speak about parenting, it’s almost always in the context of teaching kids about God (Deuteronomy 6:6-9; Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4).
The relative scarcity of parenting-specific biblical guidance should tell us an awful lot.
Being a parent is an important role, but it’s not an identity.
Role and Identity: The Big Mix-Up
Check out these two definitions.
Identity: “Sameness of essential or generic character in different instances.”
Role: “The function assumed or part played by a person or thing in a particular situation.”
Jesus in part wants us to be a Godly light to our children; that’s one huge role. But when we confuse that one role with our whole identity, we lose sight of Christ as our foundation.
I just finished the fantastic book, Renegade: Your Faith Isn’t Meant to be Safe, by Vince Antonucci. It in large part inspired this post. In Renegade, Antonucci asks this convicting question: “What are you doing that is only explainable by the fact that you believe in God and follow Jesus?”
Do you have an answer?
Let’s try this question instead: “What are you doing that is only explainable by the fact you are a mom?”
I bet that’s a lot easier to answer…changing diapers, shuttling kids to soccer games, getting involved in the PTA and wiping boogers from noses (surely explainable only by being a mom).
I can tell you that the gulf between my answer to the first question and my answer to the second question is large. Sure, I can say that I pray, read the Bible, and go to church. But what am I doing to be the light to the world I am called to be?
I need to live out a better answer.
I’m standing on the scale and seeing the weight fall toward family, just like more than half of other Christian women. I might say faith is my priority, but my actions and time speak differently. I need to become a Christ-follower (who is also a mom) rather than a Mom (who is also a Christ-follower).
How about you? Does your life say “identity in Christ” or “identity in family?” I’d love to hear your thoughts.