I wrote a post titled Two Callings, One Roof where I began the conversation about the dance of having one roof, but two callings underneath that roof.
In our life-long dance of two callings under one roof we have a lot to think through. We need good questions to ask one another. We need to look at how opportunity and our gifts intersect and what season our marriage and family is in. We need to think through our motherhood and our fatherhood and who our children are.
As we live this out, let's be very aware of the subtle lies lurking in the corners as we dance. Here are three lies (among many) that could come with the territory:
The Lie: He (or she) is out living his dreams and always doing amazing things and living out his calling and I am stuck here at home wiping butts or stuck doing a job that does not further any of my dreams.
The Truth: Each and every job has toil. No one is always doing amazing things and firing on all cylinders all the time. Our world is fallen and there is toil during our days. The ground is cursed and things are hard. Everyone one of us wrestles like King Solomon: "I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind." Each job has it's beauty and it's mire. Just like I had the joy of being the one to watch all three of my children's first steps while my husband was at work, he had the joy of creating an award-winning piece in his industry. And just like I drown in the household organization and management of schedules and tantrums, he is worn out in the travel, in the long meetings, and the negative work attitudes. Just as I feel like I am doing what I am made to do when I teach and speak, so my husband feels that same thing as he creates and makes all kinds of things. But I don't teach often. And my husband doesn't soar every work day.
The Lie: Wiping butts, building legos, doing puzzles, reading books, and the monotony of parenting is small and insignificant.
The Truth: As we parent (for very long hours and with repetition and toil) we are in the image of God. This is no small thing. We may not be soaring in our strengths as we fold laundry but we are doing a God-activity called Maintaining and Sustaining. (Laundry is the death of me. I wanna die with each load. Death. I am dead. ) Doesn't God maintain our world and people themselves? Does He not raise the sun every morning so our earth can flourish? Does He not continue to keep us breathing? Does He not maintain and sustain and hold all things together? (Colossians 1:17). And so do we as we parent.
And children are quite significant. They are gifts. They are blessings. They are like arrows in the hand of a warrior (Psalm 127). They have dignity, value and worth. They are absolutely worth the mundane. They are worth the monotony. They are worth the endless (kill me) laundry and lunch-packing and toilet-cleaning. Each day that we maintain and sustain their lives with faith, hope, love and laughter, we are like God. This is big, good news. And these young ones? They will be our next presidents, our next educators, our next world-changers. Let us fill their affection tanks. Their confidence tanks. Their significance tanks to the brim and overflowing and watch them soar!
The Lie: I am the only one sacrificing.
The Truth: When two people become one, everyone compromises. Everyone sacrifices. Many things are laid down. As well, many joys are picked up. Would my husband prefer, in light of his hopes and dreams, to be on the west coast pursuing filmmaking and furthering his dreams? Yes. Many days, yes. But has he sacrificed this and laid that down for this season because of our family life? Yes. Would I prefer, many days, to be teaching and speaking and writing and mentoring and coaching others in their spiritual growth? Yes. But have I set much of that aside for a season, as a personal decision? Yes. Have I slowly added more time to live out my calling as my three children have grown? Yes. Have I wrestled with what is helpful for our family, for my calling, for my husband and his calling in each season of each child in our family? Yes.
And for the record, do I think there is a one-size-fits-all way to working and motherhood? No. I want to come alongside and lift up and learn from all my friends who stay at home, work from home, work part-time and work full-time for all kinds of reasons.We each have to decide, with our spouse, what this looks like and why. And it may change and ebb and flow. May freedom and grace abound. There is plenty of both.
Perspective is our friend under one roof. If you find yourself spiraling downward, ready to shoot the one you love for any number of reasons - slow down and see what you find. Are there lies? What exactly is there? Is there joy? What are those joys?
Then fight to find the truth. Assess before you accuse. Let's put down our Nevers and our Always and our Fists and see what is reality.
Hunt down the truth.
Hunt down the gifts.
Hunt down the joys.
They are most certainly there.