I got a phone call yesterday, Sunday afternoon, from one of our daughters. It has become somewhat of a pattern to talk to each of our daughters on Sunday afternoon and I look forward to it, even though I often talk to them three or so other times each week. This daughter told me about taking the ferry to Seattle to visit a friend from DC days. My daughter told about riding the ferry BY HERSELF, taking a book and actually reading for 40 minutes uninterrupted! She then ate with this friend, BY THEMSELVES, visited for a while and then returned on the late ferry, BY HERSELF, with a chance to read once more. When telling me about this opportunity, she sounded a bit apologetic, as though she really shouldn’t have done it, or at least not enjoyed it so much. “Yes, you should enjoy it!” I told her. “How nice of your husband to facilitate your chance to meet your friend for dinner.”
I did not say, “You deserve a chance to get away.”, or “You’re at home with those three little boys all the time, it was your turn to get away.” It’s never our turn. A precious young lady shared that bit of wisdom at a bridal shower I attended Saturday as a bit of advice for the bride-to-be. It sounds so old-fashioned, out of date, doesn’t it? Yet it is the key to contentment.
What is in our child’s heart when they feel they have missed their turn? They fuss, cry, or throw a fit. What is in MY heart when I feel I have been overlooked or left out? I feel hurt, angry, spiteful, all ugly words that describe ugly feelings. When something special happens and I don’t expect it or feel it’s my due, I am pleased, blessed, happy – all nice words that describe pleasant feelings.
The Bible tells us in Philippians 2: 3-8
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Jesus is our example. If He humbled Himself, I must do likewise. I must not keep count and demand my turn. These verses say “not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. ”
That does not mean we never get a night out, or a special time with other adults. When possible, a date night is especially nice. Yet these should not be events that are dictated by “turns”, but by a humble attitude of service. Then the enjoyment is a blessing to ourselves and an honor to God.