There’s a fine line between grace and complacency.
What I’m about to say might sound a little off, so allow me the chance to explain.
Sometimes, I wonder if us mamas are giving ourselves a little too much grace.
Now, I’ve said it here before, and I know I’ll say it again: we DO need to give ourselves grace. We will not and can not ever "have it all together." We won’t ever complete the to-do list. We won’t ever fully “arrive.” There IS grace for our shortcomings. The Lord extends that to us out of His goodness, so we should accept it and extend the same freedom to ourselves and our mothering. There is no more condemnation. There is no place for shame and guilt because of the cross of Jesus Christ.
BUT, I’m afraid that sometimes, this message of grace-filled motherhood can become a crutch. If we’re not careful, we can rely so much on it that we become complacent, stunting our growth as believers. Paul talks about this at length in Romans 6.
Do you know how complacency is actually defined? As “self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.”
WHEW, buddy. Unawareness of actual dangers. Self-satisfaction. I’m not sure about you, but when I start to brush off intentional growth in my relationship with Jesus in the name of “grace,” this is exactly what happens to me.
There are actual, real dangers in the spiritual realm of which we are often unaware. There are actual deficiencies we have because of our human limitations. Self-satisfaction is an all-too-easy snare. Because of these things, we NEED Jesus.
And there IS grace, through which we are saved (Eph. 2:8). But this saving should draw us to a passionate pursuit of THE Savior.
And maybe I’m just way off base, but I’m not so sure a lifetime of 5-minute devotionals + one Bible verse to check off our list for the day can be viewed as passionate pursuit.
Hear me clearly, there are seasons when our pursuit of Christ is a little more grace-driven. For example, newborn-crazytown. When we brought Ada home from the hospital, I legitimately couldn’t focus on more than a sentence of God’s Word at a time without falling asleep or my eyes glazing over with exhaustion. So the “verse of the day” became my bff. I read it on my phone while nursing, and sometimes continued with the passage until l nodded off.
About eight months later, it hit me: She’s not a newborn anymore, but I still hardly ever open my Bible for more than five minutes at a time.
What was once a valid reason to give myself grace for a season quickly became a dangerous slope that set me on a path of wandering from God.
And I want to be very careful here, lest you think I’m some wackadoodle, legalistic Christian who is looking down from her high horse and shaming all the mamas out there who are struggling just to get through the day. I don’t want you to think I’m heaping on more pressure to be better at all the things, making you feel guilty for not "loving Jesus well enough" because you haven’t gotten up at 4am to spend two hours in prayer + Scripture reading before the crazy train leaves the station for another day.
No no, I’m only writing this because I’m here, in it with you. This isn’t about “quiet time” and how it “should” look. This isn’t about setting an alarm for a certain amount of time, or buying a specific journal, or creating a special space to meet with God, or any of those extra made up things that we can “do” and still end up stagnant in our growth with Christ. It’s about how the Holy Spirit has convicted me of my improper view of God’s Word.
Because really, that’s what it comes down to, right? How we view God’s Word. When we see it as nothing more than the classic acrostic I was taught as a child (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth), we’ll be content to skim over a few verses that sound pretty, give us encouragement to get through our day, and continue in a shallow relationship with Jesus masked by self-serving motives. When we view it as nothing more than an instructional manual or even a love letter, we’re still making it all about us.
What if instead, we viewed God’s Word as the story of God’s redemptive work throughout human history. That’s what it is!! It’s one big story full of a bunch of smaller stories, all of which point to Jesus Christ and God’s plan to redeem humanity through Him, because we in and of ourselves could do nothing to bridge the gap between our sin and His holiness. It’s not about us at all, and we have sorely cheapened the beauty and power of the Word by acting like it is.
I want to challenge you, friend: can you say with integrity that you are passionately pursuing Christ in this season? I mean, really. Pursuing Him above your children. Pursuing Him above your husband. Pursuing Him above your business. Pursuing Him above your friendships. Pursuing Him above ministry. Pursuing Him above your career. Pursuing Him above your homemaking. Pursuing Him above the effort you put into making your dreams a reality. Pursuing Him above your social media. Pursuing Him above “self-care.” Pursuing Him sacrificially. Pursuing Him when you don’t “feel like it.” Pursuing Him with excitement and expectation.
Because that’s how He pursues us! He’s been gracious to give us the written Word that reveals everything we need to know about who He is. But sister, we’ve got to stop making excuses. We’ve got to open it.
Not so we can simply make ourselves feel better with the promises held within and move on with life, but so we can KNOW the Promise Maker. It’s not about us. It’s about Him.
So yes, mama, our relationships with Christ are established by grace, but let’s be careful to make sure we don’t become complacent in our walk with Him. Let’s be mothers who are deeply rooted in the Word and chase after Jesus with every breath.