When I was pregnant with my first child I couldn’t wait for two specific things. First, I was so excited to wander up and down the aisles of Hobby Lobby with a Starbucks in hand, gazing at the fall decor while my itty bitty baby slept in the cart. (Now if I have my 3 kids with me, I avoid Hobby Lobby. Oh how life has changed.) Second, I was so looking forward to dressing my baby up for our church trunk or treat! Even though I am not an over-the-top costume kind of girl, this first baby thing had me all in a tizzy. I had Gable Claire’s outfit picked out before I even knew she was a girl. What was she dressed as you ask? (Drum roll please.) She was a bag of popcorn! My husband dressed up as the popcorn vendor, and my daughter was nestled against him in a baby carrier that I had turned into a red and white striped bag of popcorn. Trust me when I say the girl was adorable! I was so excited to get to church and show her off to the world, and then it happened.
We parked the car to join the “trunks” and it came over me, “Jared”, I said quietly to my husband, “quick, go out and walk around so people can SEE her. Go!!” I’m sure he could feel the intensity of my request, so he graciously obliged. People were ooo-ing and awww-ing over her outfit and stopping him just to take her picture. If that wasn’t enough for my ego, at the end of the event there was a costume contest. I stood among the crowd in nervous anticipation waiting to see what our first place prize could possibly be. Maybe it was a huge trophy or possibly an all expense paid trip to Disney. I didn’t care, I just wanted the glory! Then, as if time stood still, they announced 2nd place, “Gable Claire Wootton.” Surely not 2nd place?? Did they even see that my baby was dressed up as a bag of popcorn??
I learned two very important lessons that night. First, I learned to just plain simmer down! I am so thankful God taught me that lesson when my daughter was 3 months old and completely oblivious of my behavior! I realized my children won’t always be the best, won’t always win and won’t always be the first, and that is perfectly okay. The second thing I learned is as moms we need to make sure we check our motives.
We need to ask ourselves what is my “why”? Why am I posting this picture? Why am I telling this story? Why am I going here? Why am I doing this? Then after we have asked our “why”, we need to listen. We need to open up our spiritual ears and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts. Even with something as small as a costume contest, I want my ‘why’ to glorify God.
Psalm 139: 23-24 states, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
There was nothing wrong with being proud of my cute little bag of popcorn that night, but it became an issue when my motives crossed the line. Motives can be tricky because no one else sees what is going on in the secret corridors of our hearts. If we are not careful, we can get caught in a sticky web of self-centeredness while we attempt to prove to the world that our kid is the best or that we are super mom. But here is the thing (and you know this): although others may not see our hearts, God does. Just like we get a check-up at the doctor, we should also come to Jesus, the Great Physician, and ask Him to check our hearts as well.
1 Thessalonians 2:4 teaches us,“Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.”I challenge you to ask God to point out any motives in you that need to be changed. Give Him permission to convict you. Pray that He will reveal anything lurking inside of you that is selfish and fake in order to make room for the selfless and authentic. That is a prayer the Lord will answer! I want the heartbeat of my motives to beat for the advancement of the Kingdom… popcorn bag and all!