“I would like . . I would like a trip to Europe”
My husband often quotes this clip. (Please ignore the cartoon gun violence in the clip.) So whenever he asks me what I want, this is what I imagine in my head.
Because as a mom, rarely does anyone ask me what I want. I kind of knew and expected this. Motherhood is a thankless job and materially I have more than many if not most in the world. But at the same time, needs are a real thing. As moms we can’t just keep putting every need, desire and passion on the back burner (especially when it comes to our marriages) until the kids are eighteen. Plus, we don’t ever really stop needing our moms; just ask mine.
After every ill-fated attempt to have a conversation while our children are still conscious, I look at my husband and say “So I’ll see you in 10-15 years.” It makes it sound like a prison sentence and a great way to ruin a marriage. One of the great things I got out of the book His Needs, Her Needs was that it’s OK to have them; needs that is. It doesn’t make you a bad person or a weak person. Some people have an innate need for the company and conversation of others and a lot of it. Those people are often called extroverts. Others require time alone to recharge, (the amount of time and level of quiet required for this varies depending on the person). Those of us who function like this are sometimes called introverts. (Just to clarify, being introverted and quiet or shy don’t necessarily go together. They certainly don’t in my case).
We are called to serve our families, but that doesn’t mean that we become martyrs or worse, burnt offerings. Last winter I got to hear fitness instructor and owner of fitness site Fit2B Studio, Beth Learn speak. One thing she said stood out.
“We are called to be living sacrifices, not burnt offerings.”
Now she was specifically addressing women meeting the needs of our physical bodies; that pregnancy and childbirth were never meant to break us forever and keep us from living our lives and serving God and our families. It’s OK to prioritize your physical need for exercise, rehabilitation or recovery. That’s not being selfish. It’s enabling and empowering you to move forward with what God has called you to do, strong and whole. In Jesus, we have been released from that curse.
But I was thinking more in terms of other needs and even *gasp* the occasional want. Because if a quiet moment to collect my thoughts, reading a good book or time spent alone with my husband (whether conversational or romantic in nature) makes me a better wife and a better mom, enabling and empowering me to serve my family, then it is a good and important thing.
I’m not talking about indulging ourselves as a point of selfishness or to the point of completely neglecting our families. I’m saying that we are called to live for our families, not necessarily to die for them, and certainly not to slowly kill ourselves for them. God made us to have needs and desires. Yes, desires, which sounds (and looks) and awful lot like wants sometimes. Want isn’t necessarily a dirty word.
Psalm 37: 3-5 (NASB)
“Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.”
(Sorry, this went on much longer than five minutes. Apparently I felt more passionate about this topic than I thought.)
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