The Elephant in the Room

I have a confession to make. I struggle to believe that a stay-at-home mom (to a toddler, no less) can truly live a Spirit-filled, abundant life.

There, I said it.

I didn’t even realize this was part of my mentality until a little over a week ago, when I was reading chapter two of Priscilla Shirer’s book, One in a Million, while I waited for my annual checkup with my obgyn.

The chapter started with an anecdote about a time that Priscilla and her family went to the circus. As they were exiting the circus that evening, they saw an elephant behind a fence enclosure and stopped their car to stare at it for awhile. The youngest son asked why the elephant didn’t just run away when all that seemed to be stopping him was a flimsy fence. As they continued to admire the strong creature, they realized that something else was really keeping the elephant in bondage. His leg was chained down by a shackle to two bolts.

Priscilla went on to explain what she later discovered about circus elephants. Elephants are chained as babies when they are being trained to be part of the circus. At this young age, they are not yet strong enough to break free, so they eventually stop trying.

By the time they are grown, they are strong enough to escape their chains. Nonetheless, they have grown used to them and no longer try. They have settled for a life of less.

I love jewelry that has symbolic meaning. Ironically, I have had this necklace for years. It is only now that it has taken on a deeper meaning for me.

The chapter compared the circus elephants to the Israelites on the cusp of freedom from Egyptian slavery. It also compared the elephants (and the Israelites) to those of us who live in the modern-day world. We, too, have our bolts to break.

As I continued to read the chapter and to note what kept the believer from experiencing true abundance of life, a thought occurred to me.

You don’t believe you can truly live an abundant Spirit-filled life as a mom, do you?

It was more of a statement than a question. The answer was obvious to me, and I knew that this mindset was a bolt that needed to be broken in order to live the life God had intended for me. After all, how was I to live the abundant life at this stage of life if I didn’t even believe it was possible?

The subtitle for this blog came as a result of my thoughts that day, because even though my heart struggles to believe that I can live a Spirit-filled, abundant life as a stay-at-home mom, I know in my mind that God doesn’t exclude anyone from the opportunity to live such a life. To me, it’s a matter of reciting the truth and praying that God will let it sink down deep into my heart.

Lately I have been imagining Jesus right beside me in this journey. It helps a lot. It makes me realize how He is eager to be a part of every moment of my parenting. It matters to Him, and He can teach me more about Himself through it and make me more like Him as a result.

I’m finding myself having to address this bolt in my life a lot, this one that would have me to believe that it is too hard to live an abundant, Spirit-filled life in the midst of temper tantrums, messes, and plans gone awry. But I don’t want to be like the circus elephant. I don’t want to settle for a life of less. And I don’t have to. I have the Holy Spirit to reveal to me any chain in my life, and I have His Word to remind me of the truth. For this reason, I will continue to battle these thoughts day after day until I have broken free.