Monday, August 26, 2013

The Isolation of Self-Imposed Martyrdom

It's not well known that there are more martyrs being made in the current day than in generations before us, though with the current situation in the Middle East it may be more easy to believe. No question it is a grand and glorious thing to sacrifice one's life for Christ, but what of the self-imposed martyrdom exhibited by some? You know the ones I mean. (Myself!)

Mary magnifying the Lord, not sighing
upon her fate presumably.
We (read:I) are the ones that, upon learning that the Hubbers will be gone two nights one week and then a couple more days the next week, acquiesce to his request to go out with a friend, all the while thinking "that's nice that you get to go out whenever you want." You roll your eyes to heaven, sighing a saintly martyr's sigh, and say, "of course you can go, dear" though you secretly want to say "what??". Never mind the infinite demands he makes that you take time to see your friends, even if they are sometimes last minute, and well, we know how hard it is to line anything up with moms last minute, right? Nevertheless, he demands you go, but you make your excuses. You couldn't possibly find anyone to go with - it's too last minute. You're too tired. There is too much to do at home - you couldn't possibly leave. You feel guilty for leaving the kids with the husband who has worked hard all day/week and probably just wants to unwind (because you are a mindreader and know that this is what he is really thinking even if he did tell you to go. He couldn't possibly have missed time with the kids and be looking forward to it, could he?). These are the games the devil plays.

This self-imposed martyrdom leaves us isolated. We allow our friendships to be put on a back burner, losing many of them in the process, and rightly so. We are not being friends. We start to talk in terms of "when the kids are older" or "when the kids go to school" (though the homeschooling mom doesn't get that chance). We put off our relationships, our spiritual growth, our dreams and our passions because our first responsibility is our family.

While it is true that our primary vocation is as wife and mother if that is what the Lord has called us to, we are still women called into relationship with one another. We do not thrive in isolation. Not in isolation of each other, not in isolation of God. Our husbands know this, even if we are introverts. They encourage us, but we take up that martyr's banner and use our family as our crutch to avoid extending ourselves to one another. We are so often overextended at home, we can't believe that adding more relationship to the mix will be life giving, especially if we are introverts. Yet, that isolation of the self-imposed martyr is the furthest away from glorifying God. We make an idol of ourselves and our importance to our family. We deprive ourselves of the beauty that exists in banding together with others who might be able to provide us some comfort or solidarity as fellow women, wives and mothers. We, as a result, end up not being of helpful to anyone, family or God.

Perhaps it is time to put down the banner of a false, self-imposed martyrdom (because while parenting involves a whole heaping load of self-denial and surrender, parenthood does not equal martyrdom really, and it is a bit of an insult to the real martyrs). It is time to ask for what we need instead of glancing toward heaven saying "see what I mean?" regarding our well meaning and loving husbands. We cannot read their minds, so next time they offer to take the kids and send you out, by all means confirm that they mean what they say, but go! And if there is something you (read:I) want to do, by all means, ask. He does, and so should you. 

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1 comment:

  1. Excellent post, as always. And oh so appropriate for us all!