DIY

The Danger of DIY Motherhood

By Lindsay Dryer

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Pinterest Fail

Oh, Pinterest. It’s amazing how I can both love and loathe something all at the same time. Pinterest always comes through for me when I’m looking for a quick and easy recipe, nail color inspiration before my next mani, or ideas on how to style my new shirt. Usually somewhere along my search, I see something cute that catches my eye — some kind of DIY project that looks so easy my kids could do it — and I think, “Oh wow! I’m totally going to try that!” *Clicks “Pin It” button. (Insert audience laughter here.)

But looking at Pinterest usually has a way of reminding me how creative I am NOT and how I’ll probably never get around to trying all of those DIY projects I’ve pinned (and if, by some miracle, I do try one out…it will probably be a #pinterestfail).

DIY Motherhood

I was reminded of a similar reality recently as I was reading through Romans 7. Check it out with me. (Hint: I find it easiest to understand this passage when I read it outloud. But read slowly. It’s a bit of a tongue twister!)

 

For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do. Now if I do what I do not want, I am no longer the one that does it, but it is the sin that lives in me. So I discover this law: When I want to do what is good, evil is present with me. For in my inner self I delight in God’s law, but I see a different law in the parts of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
— ROMANS 7:19-24 (CSB)

In other words…I have big plans of doing good and great things, but I can’t seem to do them! Instead, I keep doing wrong or bad things.

Can anyone else relate to this passage of Scripture? Especially in the realm of motherhood?

This feels like a description of my daily battles. Every day I set out to love well and lead well in my home. I plan to speak with a kind and gentle voice, to demonstrate patience and long-suffering towards my kids, and to parent selflessly, putting their needs above my own. 

And every day…I fail. When I want to do the right things, sin is always close by. As Trillia J. Newbell puts it in her study, If God is For Us, “Paul [the author of Romans] rightly describes this battle as a war between the truth we know in our hearts and minds and the desires of our flesh. These two aspects of our being are waging war against one another."

It’s a really good thing this passage in Romans doesn’t stand alone because it’s painful to read! I don’t know about you, but it leaves me feeling a little drained of hope.

We must keep reading, friends. The good news is next in verse 25,“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Who will rescue me from this ongoing battle? JESUS!

And we can’t stop there! As we move into Romans 8, we see the most beautiful explanation in the Bible of how the truth of the gospel is worked out in our hearts. And… spoiler alert: it’s not a DIY project! (Can I get an AMEN?!)

Read Romans 8:5-6 with me. I love the way it’s paraphrased in The Message version:

Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored.

WOW. Did you catch that?

When we think we can do this life on our own—what I’m calling “DIY motherhood”—we begin obsessing over ourselves and become so inwardly focused that we can’t see God at work in our day-to-day, moment-by-moment lives!

Upward Focused

Instead, we should:

  • have our minds set on the Spirit (vv. 5-6),

  • recognize the work that God has already done on the cross (through His Son) and is continuing to do in our hearts (through His Spirit).

So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!
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I don’t know the details of your story or what’s on your planner for tomorrow, but I’m certain that you have things to do and places to go. You have babies to raise, hearts to shepherd, dreams to accomplish, and more! And the best way to do it all? Don’t do it yourself.

Look upward, not inward. That’s where the real, lasting hope lies.

Apply It:

Take some time this week to read, study, and meditate on the truths packed in Romans 7-8. When you find yourself measuring your “moral muscle” or becoming discouraged by the battle described in Romans 7, stop and remember that God never called you to DIY motherhood. He called you to life IN HIM.