“That’s not my circus. That’s not my monkeys.” – a Polish Proverb
This is the quote that has been speaking rather loudly to me for the last couple days. Have you ever found yourself taking on the burden or responsibility for people and relationships and problems, being weighed down so heavily by them, and finally realized that you were carrying something that God never asked you to carry? I’m not sure if it’s due to an inflated sense of my own competence, or to a propensity to forget that God is willing and able, and that HE cares much more than I do!
Whatever the reason, I quite frequently find myself struggling to carry the worries of someone else’s circus and someone else’s monkeys!! In these moments I must ask God, “What do you want me to do about this, if anything?” and then I must say, “This is Your’s and I trust you to carry it. I’ve done what you asked me to do.”
I recall hundreds of speeches in which my dad (a motivational speaker) would say, “You are only responsible to what God has asked you to do. When you get to Heaven he won’t ask you how many people you helped, how many buildings you built… He will simply ask, “Did you do what I asked you to do?”
Yes. That is all. I want to do what He asks me to do.
And that brings me to this morning. It’s actually almost noon. It’s a huge-mug-of-coffee kind of morning, out on the back porch ALONE… After three hours of chasing my little man around the house after he woke up an hour too early (in my humble opinion) and now he just finally went down for a nap. A morning in which I struggled to get a little cereal and coffee down to keep my eyes open and an encouraging smile pasted on my face amid the chaos while the toddler that I love more than life itself explored (and dismantled) every object in the house. It’s one of those kinds of mornings. The kind that reminds me I have such a looong way to go in learning to follow Jesus well–as a mother.
The raw truth is that I never babysat before I got married, nor reached for other peoples’ babies. I never envied my friends who stayed home with their kids all day, or CHOSE to homeschool them. Then when our sweet little guy was born, I was in such shock that I barely left our apartment for three months and felt quite overwhelmed any time I had to do just about anything. When baby boy was three months old we moved our family in a big Uhaul across the country to base in my parents’ basement and save money to move to India. This season back home has lasted for one year. It has been an incredible year of learning and growing. This season has been one in which Tyler and I both learned new skills and pitched in 150% in paperwork, graphic design, and strategizing for our family business. Our family of three has learned to FLOW. And it turns out, thanks to my life growing up overseas, I’m pretty good at pitching in and I’m pretty good at flowing.
Now we enter a different season: now it’s me and Little Buddy all day long, every day. Now he’s not three months old, and he doesn’t lay on a blanket and giggle at me. He’s 16 months old and he climbs furniture and runs out the front door and explores the kitchen cabinets… and does NOTHING for longer than 12 minutes. All day long, every day.
This is me being honest. Aware that I have friends who wish they were married. Or who wish they had a toddler to chase around the house. Aware that I am so ridiculously blessed with this healthy, sweet, truly delightful, active little boy. Also aware that I have dozens of friends in this very stage with SEVERAL little ones, who make it look simply… effortless.
There is part of me that struggles endlessly against the “restrictions” of hanging out with my toddler all day. Then there is part of me that feels guilty about this. These parts of me war with one another, and I sit out on this warm sticky porch and I make myself do one of the things I believe in the most: I get honest and I bring it to Jesus. And this is what he says,
“This is your circus. This is your monkey. This is what I’ve given you to do today.”
I like to negotiate hours and details (and babysitters?) with God. But right now I know He’s not up for it. He’s asking me in THIS season to surrender to Him.
If I can’t surrender and serve Jesus as a mom here, I won’t be able to do it anywhere. The mommy role gets harder in India.
But whatever that’s going to look like, I’m glad I still have today. For God to teach me to surrender, to trust Him, to take a big breath and look at what he’s given me today. The library, the grocery store, the neighborhood streets to walk on. A cute little monkey in striped PJ’s, awake and raring to go.
So there’s today’s honest confessions from a thankful mommy. I’m ready to embrace today and say “yes”… This is my circus. This is my monkey.