If you read Amy’s comment on my last post, “Pieces of You”, you read the interesting question she posed: Where is the line between ‘investing’ who I am into my children, and living vicariously through them? How do I invest in them with who I am and, at the same time, fully allow them to become who God intended them to be? An important question, indeed, especially if you’ve been around the dreaded “stage mom”! In all seriousness, I spent a good deal of the day’s allotted thought time on this one. Since that last post used “investing” as an analogy, I’ll stick with it.
If you have some money that you want to invest, the main objective is to make it grow. You can do this a couple of ways. A) You can go to Vegas and “go all in”, taking a gamble that you’ll win big and quadruple (or more!) your money. B) You can put your money into an interest-bearing account and be guaranteed that, over time, you’ll still have the money you put in, plus a sizable return on your investment. The difference is that, with one, you could completely lose the money you invested and be bankrupt; the other allows you to hang onto your money and see it grow at the same time.
How does all this apply to motherhood? After a lot of thought, in my opinion it boils down to where your identity lies. Like an actor that plays different roles, at the end of the day, a mom has to take off all those hats she wears and come back to the reality of who she really is. If the actor stays in character all the time, he loses sight of reality and, in essence, loses himself. If the mom finds her complete identity in being a mom, and that role changes (which it inevitably will), she’s lost. In fact, there is only ONE role that doesn’t change…Child of God.
The mom that lives vicariously through her kids (and I mean in a sad and dangerous way – we ALL do it from time-to-time!), is one who finds her identity in being a mom. She “goes all in” with her investment of herself, in hopes that her kid will be exactly what she wants. There is little room for that child and his/her personality to grow. It is very forced and pressure-filled, and if that child isn’t cut out for whatever the “plan” is, not only are they left empty, but mom is bankrupt as well.
The mom whose identity is in Christ – the one who truly knows Whose she is at the end of the day – can invest freely in her child. She can pour her gifts and talents in their lives (and enjoy them!), all the while encouraging their own. If they end up sharing the same talents, it’s a gift she can savor knowing the glory is not her’s, but belongs to the One in whom she finds herself. It’s a special return on her investment…she’s managed to keep her “money” and watch it grow at the same time.
While I was mulling all this over, it occurred to me that this was perhaps one of the most important lessons a mom (or just a busy woman, for that matter) could learn. We have so much going on that we tend to lose sight of who we are…why we are. Roles come and go, but we are always children of God, built to glorify Him. He’s where we find our peace and our center, and through Whom we help our children find theirs.
If you’re stuck at the end of a long day, trying to recall what it means to be a Child of God (“who am I again?”), go here for a list of scriptures that will help you remember. Copy it to your computer…print it out and put it in your Bible…frame it, for crying out loud! Then, get a good night’s sleep (hopefully, uninterrupted!) and start the new day fresh…freely making a sound investment.
Wow, Melinda! You are always so insighful – thanks for being a true example of Titus 2 for the rest of us! I’m so thankful for the wisdom you have to share!