Last week, my older daughter exclaimed, “Well you don’t have a job!” This comment followed her request of when she could get a tattoo, to which I replied, “When you are out of college and have your own job.” Let’s just say she got an explanation of what my “job” is and took a few steps back in her rush to grow up.
But her comment got me thinking. When I left my corporate job to stay at home, it took me a long time to wrap my head around what my worth to the universe was now that I didn’t bring home a paycheck. This is a transition a lot of stay-at-home Moms make. You go from making deals to making meals with your schedule dictated by who-needs-to-go-where and the basics of what keeps your house running functionally. (Or at least well enough that your husband doesn’t ask when you can start working again to re-hire the housekeeper.)
I have no intention of entering the discussion on whether women should work or should be at home. That is a decision every family must decide on their own, based on what God wants for their lives. My intention here is to bring to the table what has been bothering me: where do I get my worth?
On the days I’m less busy, there’s a little devil on my shoulder whispering, “You are not contributing! You have nothing to show for your effort!” The fewer the items I’ve checked off my list, the worse grade I give myself. It is this mindset that trips me up because I am looking to someone or something else to validate how much I matter. Maybe for you that’s a paycheck, a relationship or, like me, a to-do list.
Genesis 31:19 contains an interesting word to describe this phenomenon – teraphim. It means “little gods” and they caused the whole ruckus between Jacob and Laban. It wasn’t really his daughters Laban was after – it was these little statues that mattered most to him. We no longer make figures like this per say, but our lives reflect how we define our worth. A new car, a bigger paycheck, a better wardrobe, or even well-behaved children – anything that defines our value other than our standing with Christ we can safely call a teraphim.
I’ve figured something out about these little gods. They wear me out. I must continually perform. Neither they nor I are ever truly satisfied. I must continually do for them and for me. But that is not the way with Jesus. He said it over and over again – to Martha, to His Disciples, to any and everyone. He nails it on the head in Matthew 11:28. In His presence we don’t have to perform to be loved; we just have to be there.
Good, bad or ugly – we are already known to Him, so there is nothing to achieve. He has done it all for us so we can relax. It is life changing to find a relationship we get more out of than we put in. It does take practice, but you gain peace, joy and strength in the process. Try starting your day with a drink of Living Water. It will restore and refresh your soul, so you will no longer need those little gods and be able to bless others in abundance!