Oh, you know you've heard it before. "It's my life!" someone will declare. "I don't see why they care so much about how I live it." Maybe you've even said it yourself. No one has a right to tell you how to live your life, right? After all, no one really knows your "situation" like you do, and they couldn't possibly know what it is like to walk in your shoes for a day.
Wrong. It is not YOUR life, and never has been, not from the day you were born. Like it or not, there are other people who depend on your life, watch your life, and are affected by your life every day. When you make a big decision to change your life, it doesn't just affect you - it affects everyone around you. Our pastor was preaching on this subject last night and gave this verse: Romans 14:7-8 - "For none of us liveth unto himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord, and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's."
If a faithful Christian gets hit with a hardship and uses it as an excuse to quit going to church, he may think that it's no big deal. It's his life, after all! But who knows how many other Christians were relying on his faithful churchgoing to inspire and encourage them? How much easier is it going to be for that brand-new Christian to fall when his formerly faithful friend is no longer there to lift him up? And he himself is going to be much more susceptible to the devil's pulls when he is not surrounded by his fellow Christians.
As our pastor spoke on this important truth, it made me think about how it specifically applies to moms. As a momma to three little ones, I certainly cannot say "It's my life!" Every decision I make affects them. When they see the choices I make, they in turn will make similar choices in their lives. Take nutrition for example. I can set a plate full of fruits and veggies and grains in front of my children, and then give myself a fatty cheeseburger and fries, thinking that it is no big deal. After all, they are eating healthy foods, and if I want to wreck my body with junk food, I should be able to have that choice. But I don't have the freedom to make that choice. If I do, two things will happen that WILL affect my children - 1) they will see the choices I make and emulate them later on in life, and 2) they will have an unhealthy mother that is not able to care for them as well and may even die early because of unhealthy food choices.
I'm not trying to preach here - that's the pastor's job! :) But I was even more deeply affected by this message because I have been thinking a lot lately about how much the world and the media have changed the mom's role in life. Professors, talk show hosts, and even commercials work hard to convince mothers that if they are "just" stay-at-home moms, they do not have a fulfilling life. Supposedly if mothers don't follow their dreams and have a life outside their family, they are "suppressed" and "unfulfilled." I recently saw an episode of Dr. Phil in which he interviewed a mother who, after her divorce, left her ex-husband to raise their children so she could travel the world and write a book. It was always her dream to travel and write, but having a family and staying at home was holding her back from her dream. So she left the family to fulfill her dreams, but at what cost? Her daughters grew up without a mom present in the house. She set an example of abandoning responsibility to do what she wanted, and I would not be surprised to see her teen daughters follow their mother's example. I do not think this mother realizes how many lives are affected by the decision that she made.
And so I approach my day today with much prayer and great caution. How will I speak to my children today? What will they observe their mother doing? How will simple decisions I make today affect the people in my life?
It is not MY life. It is the Lord's first, and then my husband's, and children's, and family's, and friends'. . .God, may I make wise choices and live for You today.