By Randi Peck
Five years ago, I sat on the outskirts of an overcrowded living room, listening to an anointed preacher teach through Mark 10. He spoke about greatness- how the world defines greatness versus how the Lord does.
By the time he had finished his sermon, my heart was stoked, my mind stirred with two blazing realities: First, that I wanted to live a life of greatness for God’s kingdom, God’s way. Second, that I wanted to marry this man speaking, who so obviously loved Jesus.
Yes, this Bible teacher would be my husband. One year later I would stand before family and commit my life to him. But at the time, I had not the slightest idea. Nor did I have the slightest idea that, four years into our marriage, I would be working at home, raising our two small children, and grappling with this same lesson of greatness.
The other day, I had my first good cry in a long while, as I poured out my frustration to my husband. I admitted my resentment and bitterness as I reviewed the month of May. He had been on two work trips. I had been home with the babies. His job felt important and exciting. Mine felt mundane and endless. His tasks felt missional. Mine felt meaningless.
“I feel like this is going to be our life. You are going to be teaching, leading, traveling, and learning… living this exciting life. I am going to be here. At home.”
On any other day, I could have argued to the death why being a mom is such an important job. But logic escapes you when you feel so utterly overwhelmed, so tired, so… unimportant. I didn’t want this sinful attitude. So we prayed that God would give me mission.
Over the course of the next few weeks, God did just that. But He didn’t answer my prayer with a new career. He didn’t give me visions of a flourishing ministry. And He certainly didn’t give me a blog following- or even a Bible study. But He did give me greatness- for where I am at. He gave me joy- for who I am with. He fulfilled my desire for a life of meaning- and it started no further than my kitchen sink.
I remember listening on the radio to one couple’s explanation of what they coined “the mid-wife crisis” (no, not the birthing-center-slathered-in-essential-oils kind of midwives). They explained that the majority of stay-at-home moms hit a point- around the time their children start reaching kindergarten- when they seriously reevaluate the course of their life. They step back and observe the piles of laundry, loads of dishes, timeouts and tantrums, and they think, Is this going to be my life? (Sound familiar?) According to these “experts”, women often start pursuing a career in this time frame. They follow their desire to lead a life of greatness.
I too have a desire for greatness. I want my life to matter. I want to feel admired and appreciated. I want to experience glory and witness beauty. But the world says these desires will be met when we reach the top of the ladder… when we receive accolades from the blogosphere… when we are affirmed by a crowd of people… Well, God says differently:
“Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve…” Mark 10:43-45
The longing for significance in this life is not sinful. But generally, where we channel that desire is. As Christians (not just Christian women), we are called to a life of servanthood and submission; to follow the example of Jesus who “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant.” (Phil 2:6-7)
Does this sound like a death sentence to you? Well, on one hand, it is. For when we proclaim Jesus as our Savior, we are unapologetically called to “pick up our cross” aka lay down our life. But Romans 6:8 expounds on this curious summon to die: “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.”
Want to live fully? Then die daily.
What does it look like to live and die with Christ? Read God’s Word and you will find that Jesus’ life consisted of splintered hands and calloused feet. He knew what it was to be weary (John 4:6). But that didn’t keep Him from greatness. He knew that glory awaited him at a well… At the dinner table… On a fishing boat. Miracles amidst the mundane.
Do you long for greatness? Look no further than our King. He can be found, not by climbing the ladder, but by stooping to wash feet. Talk about irony: “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)
The lowest places will bring the highest joys. The loneliest jobs will become sacred interactions with our Lord. And right there, over the kitchen sink, washing the high chair tray for the umpteenth time in one day, your heart will encounter Greatness.
We don’t have to experience a “mid-wife crisis” as children of God- nor do we have to feel that routine chores, unseen tasks, and condemned job titles are vanity. In God’s “upside-down kingdom” (Acts 17:6), each of these opportunities the world would label insignificant is a chance to give our lives as Christ did. “A chance to die,” as Amy Carmichael put it.
Wash the dishes as unto a King. Change diapers as if it was a deep privilege. Serve your husband dinner as if it was revolutionary action for God’s kingdom… And you will find that it is, after all.