Motherhood. Sometimes that word just plain freaks me out. So much of the time in my mind, it’s synonymous with words like perfection, expectation, and pressure. I hear it and my mind conjures up images of homemade granola bars and clean socks (without holes) on my children. I see monogrammed lunch boxes (oh, the monograms!) and animal-shaped sandwiches. Or happy, clean faces with coordinating wardrobes in an Instagram-worthy family photo shoot. Do you ever feel this way? “Pinterest pressure” is all around us and unfortunately, it only feeds my sinful tendency towards control and presenting a shiny exterior.
As the mom of a 7-year-old and an 11-year-old, I am well past sleepless nights, baby snuggles and nap schedules, and now I can see so clearly that I felt entirely too safe and secure in those days of a mundane schedule. Hindsight is always 20/20, right? I liked the mundane schedule. It felt good. I could look at the clock, see what time it was, and know what to expect…mostly. The part of my heart that craved control said, “Yes, I’ve got this. Everything is going to be ok.”
The funny thing I’m learning about kids growing up is that I have to let them do just that. I can’t control it, plan it, predict it, or slow it down. The desire for control is an ugly beast and, quite frankly, we’ve been friends for a long time. Do you know what gives birth to that beastly thing? Fear. It’s sneaky, really. It’s fear that encouraged me to think, “I’ll just stay awake all night scouring WebMD to figure out how I’m going to heal my child by morning.” Or “I’ll make a plan for the weekend so foolproof that no one will end up completely exhausted by the time Monday morning comes and school starts.”
Control and fear. Fear of the unknown and fear of what God might allow in my life. I know that fear is a deep form of distrust, pure and simple. Fear says to my Heavenly Father, “I don’t trust You and I don’t trust that You will help me carry the things You give to me.”
So how can moms who struggle with a desire for control and fear of the unknown fight for truth? In Matthew 11, 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.”
As a mother, nothing sounds more amazing than rest—am I right? So, how precious that what Jesus offers us is true rest. Lasting and total rest. Rest from striving for control in my life and in the lives of my kids. Rest from the anxiety of trying to have all my ducks in a row. Rest from the fears and pressures of figuring out the future.
Matthew 10:39 says, “If you cling to your life, you will lose it, but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.” As I grow in Christ and my children grow up in front of me, I am learning and re-learning this truth. Only in the brave surrendering of my fears, can I find the freedom and safety that I long for. Giving up my control to the One who actually is in control is the best plan for my life by far. He knows what’s ahead, and He has plans for me and for my family (Jeremiah 29:11), and He promises to work those plans out for our good (Romans 8:28).
When I am faced with fear about what 6th grade will hold, or when I’m tempted to grip our schedule too tightly in an attempt to control everything, I have to remind my heart of these truths: My God is on the throne and He’s the King of the world. He holds our lives and our days and our details in the palm of His hand and I can cling to HIM. I can trust Him and I can rest.
Isaiah 46:11b “What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.”