It was early in my pregnancy. Nausea all day, every day. Our small church didn’t have the resources to pay for a lot of things. So church members volunteered.
Each month, a different person or family signed up to clean the church building. I had signed up for this particular month long before. Now I didn’t feel well, and I wasn’t enthused about cleaning. But I didn’t want to back out, and we weren’t ready to break the news of the pregnancy at that point.
So I soldiered off to do my duty.
But God wants more than duty. Attitude matters.
Last week, I briefly talked about Peter’s instructions for believers to serve each other without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9). We are also cautioned in other passages about complaining (Philippians 2:14, James 5:9, Jude 16). And we’re told how cheerful givers please God (2 Corinthians 9:7). Yes, attitude matters.
Little did I know then that the journey of motherhood I was beginning would frequently challenge me to adjust my attitude. Mothering little ones holds many moments of fun—sharing giggles, favorite books, and lots of firsts. But then there are those other times. The spark can be anything, maybe the tenth request after you’ve already said no nine times, or the crying that starts every night just as you are slipping wearily into bed. Maybe it’s always feeling behind on laundry. Maybe being interrupted when you make a phone call. But there come inevitable moments when motherhood feels like a duty instead of a privilege.
When I start to feel that way, I know I’m missing out. Whether serving my own family or other church members, as long as I’m stuck in duty mode, I find no joy in what I’m doing.
I’ve found several steps can encourage an attitude adjustment:
- Focus on the gifts you’ve received. Complaints and thanksgiving are mortal enemies. Thanksgiving and joy are best friends.
- Pray for a new attitude. You may feel powerless to change, but God is an expert at transformation.
- Smile. Preferably at someone else. Until they smile back. In the mirror, if you must. Until it feels real.