Who is The Real MVP?

 In The Full Embrace

Today was one of those days where I needed to love my children from afar. Do you ever have those kinds of days? The ones where you are down before you’ve even gotten up. From the moment they wake up and come prancing into my room at 6 am, they need and want. They need breakfast and want cartoons. One needs a bath while the other needs to be micromanaged so that we can leave the house before dinnertime creeps up on us in 10 hours. They need snacks and lunch and stories read to them and things off of the top shelf and water but only in the right kind of cup at the right temperature (ok maybe that last part was an exaggeration.) Did I mention all of wants? Oh the wants! The donuts, candy and movies they want as we walk through the grocery store. The $20 toy that my four year old wants to buy with the single dollar that she earned from taking out the trash and the tears that follow when we tell her she can’t afford it.

I understand that they are young and selfish little people pushing boundaries in order to find their place in a big overwhelming world.  I even get that they’ve got to try to see what they can get away with once they’ve worn me down to nothing. But in the midst of taking care of their every want and need I have forsaken my husband, myself and our wants and needs.  I get two hours every two weeks to go get my nails done and have time to myself. You know what that does? It leaves me wanting more time by myself. I can’t even remember the last time that I went on a date with my husband, Bryan.

We have put our kids first. We’ve done it wrong. Our kids have been our focus, which is great but they should not be at the center. If we’re not taking care of ourselves and our marriage we will run out of gas and want more and more time away until one day one of us runs off to Bora Bora to live in an over-water bungalow never to return.

Bryan and I have gotten so busy with making sure that the kids are happy and doing things that they want to be doing like sports and activities that we’ve become the less important members of our family. We are valued for what we can do for them rather than what we are to them, thus creating entitlement.

Oops. It turns out that you don’t have to make your kids happy all of the time. Who knew?

My son first adopted entitlement a couple of years ago. For the life of me I couldn’t understand where it was coming from. Although he and his sister are constantly asking for things, they don’t often receive them. I rarely buy toys outside of birthdays and Christmas. In all honestly I don’t give them everything that they want. So, then where in the world would he get the idea that he’s entitled to everything?

Bryan and a friend of his had lunch last week and the topic of entitlement came up. As my husband spoke about our son, his friend dropped a knowledge bomb on him. He told Bryan that entitlement doesn’t come from buying your kids all of the things or saying yes to going here or there. It comes from making one or more people in the family more important than all of the others. Kaboom!

Have we done that? Have we made our kids more important than each other? Well, if you were paying attention earlier I mentioned that I can’t remember the last time that I’ve gone on a date so, yes. Both of my kids are signed up for jujitsu and soccer and my son is also taking drum lessons. Our world revolves around taking them from place to place and keeping them busy. We can set time aside for them several times a week but struggle to find the time for us to get together away from them. They have become the most important people in the family by no fault of their own. My husband and I have to own that. We have given them the title and it’s time to take it back.

How do we correct it?

The title of most important player doesn’t belong to any one person in our family. It belongs to Jesus and Jesus only. When Jesus is at the center of our family we are able to have freedom in our marriage. Individually, we are imperfect people and together as one flesh we are no better. Jesus knows this which is why His sacrifice means everything. In our marriage we will fail and disappoint each other. For many years I have looked to Bryan to fix things and save me from dark feelings that I harbored, but how could he, he is not my savior. Jesus is. Jesus has already fixed everything; He’s done all of the work for us. When we fail each other and feel the pressure to make up for it we can rest easy because Jesus already has. When I fall short in my marriage I get to rest on the fact that Jesus is the great redeemer. We get to trust in his promise. We get to show off who Jesus is and how much he loved the church (His people) with the same trust, love and acceptance that we show each other because of what Jesus did for us. We are no longer bound to the pressures brought about from failing and disappointing each other and are instead free through His grace to love each other the way we are loved by Him. We are free to accept each other the way He accepts us. We are free from expectation because Bryan is neither my savior nor I his. Jesus is.

Bryan and I get to love each other completely, forgive each other daily and accept our failures together as one flesh, honoring God all along the way. Our children will slowly realize that our lives are not all about them and their wants. Will this devastate them? Maybe but once they are able to see Jesus as the center of our family and what they get to do because of him, and the freedom Grace brings they will eventually see past the loss of self and the gain of everything else.

Ephesians 5:21-31



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