Do you tirelessly serve your children and husband, but feel they don’t notice? So you try harder. And harder. Or worse, you feel they take advantage of you? So you find yourself working yourself to death while feeling like a martyr. I’ve certainly been there!
This past weekend, our church hosted a women’s conference called “The Cure for the Perfect Life,” based on the message in author Kathi Lipp’s book of the same title. Kathi challenged us to stop trying to live up to everyone’s expectations – including our own! She pointed us back to God. What does He want for our lives? How can we follow His call? Kathi encouraged us to rebel against the world’s view of “perfection” and instead bask in God’s love and acceptance.
Ann Elise Hunter – a friend and fellow member of our women’s ministry team – wrote 4 skits for the conference. She acted out the following poem while it was being read. Boy! It sure hit its mark in my own heart! I hope you are both challenged and encouraged by Ann Elise’s “The Night Before Monday.”
Twas the night before Monday, and all through her house,
Not a creature was stirring, except Margaret Klaus.
The backpacks were set by the front door with care,
In hopes that her children would notice them there.
Husband and children slept soundly in bed,
But Margaret decided to clean up instead.
While dressed in her nightgown that lacked certain luster,
She gave everything a good shine with her duster.
The lunches were made for each child by request,
And her husband’s shirt had been neatly pressed.
If only they knew how much I did for them each day,
They should praise me and throw me a glorious parade.
Her calendar was filled with so many good deeds,
She always told friends she’d take care of their needs.
And she thought to herself, “I’m such a great pal,
My friends keep me close to boost their morale.”
She laid out her clothes for the upcoming day,
Then started to tidy and put things away.
When what to her wondering eyes should now loom,
But a pile of clean laundry strewn out ‘cross the room.
“Those kids are ungrateful,” she thought in frustration,
“Didn’t I build them a better foundation?
I bend over backwards and what do I get?
But a husband and children who don’t break a sweat.”
“Done,” she said as she looked all around,
Then grabbed her Bible and went to sit down.
Let’s see what the good Lord is going to say,
To help me recoup from this exhausting day.
Ahh, this peace and quiet is just what I need,
And she looked at the pages and started to read.
This passage was certainly not meant for me,
I need something besides Philippians 2:3.
I’ve always put everyone’s interests before mine,
But I do some complaining and do tend to whine.
And looking to heaven she finally knew,
There was something important she needed to do.
Climbing out from her chair, she got down on her knees,
She knew ’twas herself she’d been trying to please.
She knelt down and prayed to the Lord up above,
“Let me love others the way that YOU love.”
Have you ever worked tirelessly trying to live up to others’ – or your own expectations? If so, what areas of your life do you struggle in most?
Special thanks to Ann Elise Hunter for allowing me to share her poem with you!!