When I was a teenager, I remember holding a baby at a church event, swaying back and forth to keep the baby happy. A family friend grinned at me. “You were born to be a mom,” she said.
Her words only solidified what I already believed about my future. Even as a kid, I daydreamed about someday having my own family. As a preteen, I borrowed my parents’ old baby name book so often that they finally just gave it to me. In high school, I thought little about my post-graduation plans because I figured it wouldn’t be long before I would get married and start a family.
“Born to be a mom.” Yes, I could go for that.
The problem? That was 15 years ago.
If being a wife and mom is what I was born for, then it stood to reason that my “real life” wouldn’t start until I achieved those long-awaited roles. During my time in the workforce, I have learned so much from bosses and coworkers — and I’ve truly loved much about my work. But in the absence of what I was “born for,” sometimes I struggle to pour myself into my work, the people around me, and even my spiritual walk. Too often I feel like I’m in a holding pattern, waiting for real life to kick in so I can finally be who I’ve always dreamed of being.
Looking back, however, I have wasted so much time thinking about what might be on my horizon instead of focusing on what is right in front of me. When I place so much importance on one season of life, I overlook the blessings and opportunities of other seasons and circumstances. How many friends have I underappreciated? How many good habits have I neglected to start? How much further along in my spiritual walk would I be right now had I truly focused on the here and now instead of the “maybe someday”?
Too much of a good thing
Being a wife and mother is a good desire, a good longing. Over and over, the Bible commends marriage and parenthood. It’s not like I’m asking for riches or kingdoms or something else that could compete with my worship of God.
Or am I? Is it possible to elevate my own (good) dreams so high that I prefer them over Christ?
“What is an idol?” Timothy Keller asks in “Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters.” “It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give … anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living.”
I’ll say it again: Marriage and parenthood are very good things. But if I hold these desires higher than a desire to know and follow God, my good desires have twisted into idolatry. No life stage or occupation or family role can define me. I was not born for any of these things.
In reality, I was born for the same reason every other person on earth was born: to know God and live for Him instead of myself. For many, this includes marrying and having children. For both married and single people, this often means pouring our time and energy into a 9-to-5 job and serving at church. Some follow God and serve Him on the international mission field, in politics, or at the mom-and-pop restaurant downtown.
Paul wrote that God decided before the world began — long before any of us were born — what good works would be ours to do. No matter where we find ourselves right now, God has works planned for us to do.
Now. Not just next week or next year or in the next season of life. Today. Right here.
Why I was born
No, I wasn’t born to be a mom. Like everyone else, I was born to bring glory to the God who created me. I still hope that I will someday live out that calling as a wife and mother. But today, I can pour myself into the job and circumstances in front of me with confidence, knowing that God has me here and now for a reason. I can honor Him and love the people around me even if my future feels unclear.
Copyright 2022 Lauren Dunn. All rights reserved.