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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Indispensable

I’m wondering if I’ve made myself indispensable. I know. It sounds weird. It’s just the best word I can think of when I try to describe what I mean. Let me explain…

You see, as a wife, mom – heck, even as an employee when I was working – I always want to seem “irreplaceable.” I want to bring something unique that only I can do. I want to fulfill my purpose in that role. But within my family and within ministry (my “field of work”), isn’t part of my responsibility to equip people? Shouldn’t I be training my children to be able to think, decide and act on their own without my “help” each time? Shouldn’t I have things organized so that my husband can function without asking me where, what, when, where, why and how? Shouldn’t I be training others so that they can step in easily and easily continue the work to be done?

I realized, after I knew that I would be leaving my last ministry job, that I had been doing too much myself. I had allowed others to rely on me too much instead of giving them the tools the needed. I would just do what needed to be done. Then, when the time came to list all the tasks that I did, the hats that I wore, the things to be done – WOW! I shouldn’t have been doing all that. I failed in my responsibility to equip the people to do the work of the saints. Yes, good ministry went on without me. From the questions I got before – and after – I left, it’s obvious to me that I did too much and didn’t ask for enough help so that others could also know. I didn’t bring others along side of me.

And now, I’m learning that lesson at home. I wonder if I’ve been doing too much for my family. I soooooo want them all to succeed. I want my family to be valued, responsible, contributing members of society. I want them to be purposeful and contributing members to God’s Kingdom. So, I make sure they have their stuff for school. I make sure they have clothes washed for work. I remind them when chores are not done. I wake them up. I tell them when it’s time for bed. I cook almost every meal so they can have food ready to eat. I do the shopping. I plan the gifts. I organize the… You get the picture. I do it all. Yes, I realize that as the wife and mother in this family, that much of that is my role. But where does it stop helping and start hindering my family?

Yesterday, spaghetti was on the menu for dinner. I was just not up to cooking. I had started the water for the noodles and just couldn’t do any more. They needed to finish. I was asked 3 times how to cook spaghetti. Noodles in a box. Sauce in a jar. Ground beef optional. Three times!! I’ve done something wrong here. When a simple dinner cannot be fixed without my assistance, I’ve not done my job in equipping my family to function on their own.

And now I’m wondering about what other areas of living have I made myself indispensable? Am I taking on too much responsibility and not allowing my children to be responsible for themselves? Am I being too much of a helper to my husband? I realize that many of the tasks I question are age appropriate, but am I starting to train them up in the way they should go? Am I teaching them well?

Or am I expecting too much?

Maybe I like to be indispensable. I like to feel needed. I like to be depended on. I like to feel like it can’t be done without me. I like to feel important. And then my pride starts creeping in, making me thing that I’m something I’m not.

Am I a good wife and mom? Yes. I do believe that. Do I really want to be indispensable in my family? No. I want to be irreplaceable, but I also want to equip my family to be able to function together, without my constant directions. Does that mean that I have to let go of many of my expectations? Absolutely. I have to allow them the opportunity to fail too. I have to allow them the opportunity to mess up, try again and learn from their own mistakes. I can’t teach those lessons to them. I don’t want my heart to hurt when I watch them learn that way, but I also know that I have learned my most powerful lessons through my own failures in life. Like now. Heart hurts, lessons learned. Time to make a change and move in a new direction.

Kris shares life with her husband and 4 children (and another on the way). Visit her blog at www.krismares.wordpress.com to learn more about her family and how she's trying to raise responsible children.

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