There was an advert on recently which was trying to persuade mums to bake to raise money for Children in Need. I was impressed they’d managed to get The Bonnie Tyler to sing a version of ‘I need a Hero.’ They’ve changed the words to, ‘Be a Hero’, and that’s the tag line of the advert.
My two older children were away last week, leaving just me and the baby – my husband was working. I wrote a list of things to do, and for the first time I can remember I actually ticked everything off the list! Catching up with people, getting things prepared in advance of upcoming birthday parties, etc. etc.
I had it in my head that it would be really satisfying to get things done that I can’t normally do, especially things I don’t want to do but know I should (e.g. clean the oven – groan). I could get to the end of the week and think ‘Yes! I’ve arrived! I made the most of my time and now my family and I shall reap the benefits.’
But instead, I got to the end of the week and I still felt tired, and I felt a bit stressed and a bit frustrated. So I started to ask the question, ‘Why?’ There are probably lots of answers but today I realised one reason.
I think that I was believing that by Getting Things Done I would be able to feel truly rested. I would be able to rest, knowing that I’d used my time well and achieved things. I think what I really want is to be Supermum, and when I’ve achieved that, then I can relax and enjoy myself a bit. I’ll finally feel on top of things.
While I’m striving all day long and all week long to reach this Superhero status, I’m ignoring something big (and, yes, blindingly obvious):
I’m not a hero. I need one!
I’m weak; I get tired; I get ratty; I can’t be bothered; I make mistakes; I’m selfish; I watch TV when I should be sleeping; I sleep when I should be cleaning; I clean when I should be reading the Bible, and so on!
The secret of motherhood is not: “Just Get Everything Done.” It’s a good thing, too, because I never get everything done! There’s always more. More mess, more washing, more cleaning, more shopping, more sorting, more cooking…
So what should we Supermum wannabes do? (I’m assuming it’s not just me!)
Jesus says: ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’ Matthew 11:28-30.
I have these verses stuck up on the wall in the kitchen. Ha ha ha! Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.
So how can I really get a proper rest – not a put-your-feet-up, have-a-cuppa rest, but a lasting, peace-in-your-heart rest? Go to Jesus, who is my rest. His priority is not that I tick things off my list. He’s busy looking at my heart. I need to preach this to myself every day! If Jesus doesn’t gauge the success of my day based on the state of my bathroom, then why do I?
I always think Mums look so together and sorted out when you see them, hair done and clothes matching (likewise with their children) – they do look heroic! But inside, aren’t we all weary and burdened, and needing rest for our souls?
I’m so grateful that (unlike Children in Need), God doesn’t command me to be a hero. It’s the opposite! He gives me a hero instead. The God-man who achieved it all on the cross for me, so I don’t need to strive anymore. He gives me the righteousness I have never earned and desperately need. One day I’ll enter the eternal rest which Jesus won for me – and until then he gives me strength to keep being wife and mother each day. And each day, if Jesus is my saviour, The Lord is pleased with me. Thrilled to bits with another day’s work done. He forgives all the things badly done and the things not done, and he loves me loves me loves me. Dwelling on this truth will give me so much more joy in my heart than a nice cup of tea and a sit down.
Finally, and so very importantly: if I’m running around trying to be the hero of my family/the school cake stall/the church lunch, I’m not pointing my children to the hero they really need. This is the worst part of all! It’s good for my kiddiwinks to see that Mum is not Super. She needs Jesus, the Super Saviour, and so do they.