This article originally appeared at Thrive Moms on March 21, 2017. Christine M. Chappell is a contributing writer for the Thrive Moms blog, the author of “Clean Home, Messy Heart: Promises of Renewal, Hope, and Change for Overwhelmed Moms”, and is currently pursuing her biblical counseling certification.
I couldn’t remember the last time I had bent down to feel velvety meadow greens. California hadn’t seen rain like this in years, and honestly, I stopped believing it ever would. The hills were dressed in a festival of wildflowers; the trails lined with colors only Spring knows how to paint.
I looked upon the horizon, knowing what the coming weeks would look like: the rush of activities, the ups and the downs, and the days when the world would seem to take off without me. Manic frenzies. Depressive depths. Great successes. Utter failures. Over the tranquility of the rolling hills, I saw the storms of life brewing before my eyes. I knew full well what I had chosen to walk into: way more than I could lovingly, rightly handle.
With an overcommitted calendar pinned to my heart, I left the simple splendors of the neighborhood meadow for the chaos of self–inflicted pursuits. I traded the peace of Christ for pieces of myself—way more than I had available to give.
Oh, Lord, I sighed while turning back to my car, help me know when to walk away.
THE DANGER OF TUNNEL VISION
There’s something about the demands of motherhood that challenge the ambitious heart. When our abundant plans begin to steal away our ability to live and love abundantly in Christ, we find ourselves caught in a crossfire. Spread too thin, we run with a tunnel vision which refuses to see the miracle of the manna it’s collecting en route to the promised land. With our hearts dead-set on always doing more, we end up loving life less, jumping through the hoops of here-and-now just to get to the then-and-there.
The great danger of this sort of tunnel vision? God’s glory is rarely—if ever—the goal. Instead, we’re rushing to touch a glory all our own, that the affirmations of good works may be the delightful ends which justified the hasty means. We want the echos from our songs to ring loudly, forgetting that loveless service is always a mute tune.
It’s no wonder we break under the yoke of our “inner slave driver,” as author Elyse Fitzpatrick calls it. In her book, Good News for Weary Women, she writes:
“When we are driven by self-forgiveness, self-approval, and self-perfection, our faith will inevitably be poisoned by misery and guilt. We make lousy gods, and our quest to find okay-ness in our own eyes will always lead to difficulties in our relationships and unrest for our souls. We will never know peace or joy. We will find it impossible to love.”