I’ve got exactly nine minutes until I should be pulling out of my driveway. One minute less than 10 to pump, change into work clothes, do my hair, throw on some makeup, brush my teeth, and pour cereal into a toddler cup so I can scarf it down as I navigate morning traffic. Lunch is already packed. Thank goodness I managed to do that while making sure my crawling toddler was quiet enough to keep his 3-year-old sister in bed for at least a few more minutes.
These days, it seems like I’m always searching for more than I have. More time, more energy, more greatness.
All I want to do is throw adult responsibilities aside to do one thing. I want to write a submission post for one of my favorite blogs. On one hand, I can’t wait to get it over with. But equally, I’d rather not submit a page full of word vomit just for the sake of checking it off my ridiculously long to-list. However, and whenever it happens, something inside me says it must be perfect.
Focus, perfectionist-driven momma.
Maybe I should just sit down, crank it out, and settle for good enough. Doesn’t Jesus remind us that we’re a work in progress anyway? Flawlessly exquisite words aren’t necessary, especially since they’ll resonate differently with every mom out there. I take a seat and start to type. I find myself only a few sentences in as I reflect on one of my favorite books from the New Testament.
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Wisdom from St. Paul
Paul’s letter to the Philippians is filled with heartfelt truth and inspiration. When I’m full of doubt and in need of edification, I seemingly always find myself in that portion of my Bible, as evidenced by the underlines, scribbled notes in the margin, and asterisks next to the text.
Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
I stop and mentally melt into that text for a moment.
Mommas, maybe our good in every action is actually great. To whom are we comparing ourselves? Are we acting out of purity and with Christlike intentions? One thing is for sure: our children don’t know the difference between good and great. So why am I struggling for perfection? Why can’t I seem to comprehend that the Lord is helping to transform my entire being through every action?
I want you to know, brothers, that my situation has turned out rather to advance the gospel, so that my imprisonment has become well known in Christ throughout the whole praetorium and to all the rest, and so that the majority of the brothers, having taken encouragement in the Lord from my imprisonment, dare more than ever to proclaim the word fearlessly.
Who am I trying to impress? If you think I’d answer “Jesus” to that question, then I’ve got you fooled. While it’s not the case, it should be. If I’m going to strive, worry, and toil so much in nearly all my actions, then it might as well be to knock the socks off of Jesus Christ, the only One whose judgement matters. If I keep attempting to impress those around me then I’m going to come to abhor the life that I have that’s unbelievably lovely. Intent is key.
Of course, some preach Christ from envy and rivalry, others from good will. The latter act out of love, aware that I am here for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not from pure motives, thinking they will cause me trouble in my imprisonment. What difference does it make, as long as in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is being proclaimed? And in that I rejoice.
Thankfully, there’s incredible news for all of us as Christian mommas. Jesus loves us for who we (really) are. He knows our hearts and can predict every single thing we do in each moment of the day, whether we deem them #momfails or #momwins. So whether we win or lose on a daily basis, if we peek at the motives within the depths of our souls, we can be sure that one day, our imperfections will be wash away and we’ll dwell in Heaven eternally.
For me life is Christ, and death is gain.
That being said, my nine minutes are up and it’s time to leave the dishes, stop the soundtrack of the Medela breast pump, and thrust any negativity to the wind as I barrel out the door. So, momma friend, seize the day. Because for all we know our days on early are limited before we’re united (prayer hands) with the Lord, Jesus Christ.
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Shannon Olinski is an Arizona native, wife, mommy of two, event planner, and journalist. She graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Arizona in 2012 and earned a master’s in higher education shortly after. Shannon married her husband in 2014 and loves seeing the way the Lord blesses her family each day. In addition to working full-time for an organization that serves K-12 teachers, she teaches Pure Barre. A few days a week she’s up before the sun to lead these classes because, in her opinion, there’s almost nowhere else she feels she’s able to be a witness of Christ’s love through relationship-building and encouraging women. When she’s not working, you can find her eating ice cream, having dance parties with her family, and listening to podcasts about healthy living.