Lindsey pulled up in the driveway, took a mad dash to knock on the front door, and as soon as it opened, she was beating it back to the car and yelling over her shoulder, “Jack’s in the car!” as she darted back to check on him. Her heart was about to beat out of her chest because she left her five-day-old in his car seat, with the car running, during the sprint to the front door that took less than thirty seconds!
Oh, the precious, protective nature of the new mom, I love it!
How does that happen?
How does God take a young woman who loves to sleep in, take naps when she wants, live for herself primarily (I’m talking about me), and motivate her to set aside her personal agenda for someone more important? He places a little bundle to love in her life. Motherhood is all about self-sacrifice, but the thing is, true love doesn’t see it as a sacrifice at all.
But it takes “true love” to get there.
I’ve never forgotten a clip I watched of a mother who missed that truth. It was an interview of an author who left her husband and young sons for a six-month writing stint in Japan. When she returned to the states, she decided she’d rather not step back into the demanding role of motherhood. She opted to let her husband raise the sons and chose to live as a single woman spending weekly visitation time with her family.
When asked what she thought would’ve happened if she’d never gone to Japan but stayed with her family, Rizzuto replied, “I think one day I’d say, ‘I did that thing that I didn’t want to do and that was to give up my life for someone else.’”
Her statement sounds eerily familiar. I’m hearing that a lot these days. I rarely see the struggle that comes from dying to self, or loving others more than we love ourselves. Instead, I more often hear the mantra of “Me first!”
I think we’re hearing that mantra a lot today for two reasons:
1) We no longer live in an era that applauds self-sacrifice. There was a day when virtues like loyalty, charity, integrity, honor and self-sacrifice were admired and sought after. There is no cultural pressure to aim for such lofty attributes. Those characteristics are no longer commonly viewed as virtues. Self-admiration, selfishness, and self-promotion, have replaced the virtue of self-sacrifice. Individualism and self-actualization are the virtues of the day.
2) Self-sacrifice is hard. Let’s face it, no one enjoys dying to self. It’s always easier to do what feels good. Self-sacrifice cannot be achieved with any measure of success by sheer will-power. Self-sacrifice goes against the natural grain of the flesh, which always fights for self-protection and self-indulgence. Self-sacrifice isn’t natural—but it is supernatural.
That’s why it requires a supernatural work to achieve it.
Jesus is the One who provides us with the clear picture and living example of self-sacrifice:
[box]This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:16–18)[/box]
If you’re a mom who is struggling today, because serving others is hard, consider the love that Jesus has shown you. Consider the self-sacrifice He made at the cross. Ask Him to fill you with that same love for your family, for those He’s called you to serve.
Ask Him to give you the desire to die to self and live for Him first, and out of that love relationship to serve your family.