But not on purpose.

Yesterday I wrote this: “In no way, shape, or form is my approach to life biblical.  Nothing in it speaks of serving others, living a life of love, or dying to self.”

Those statements are true in all facets of my life except one.

(Therefore, those statements aren’t true, for those of you who aren’t philosophy majors.  I digress.)

The one area in which I am a servant is motherhood.

When you have a child, you are automatically enrolled in Servanthood 101.  As that child grows, you go on to take courses like Dying to Self for Beginners, Becoming Second, and, eventually, Advanced Selflessness.  It’s a pretty grueling schedule, to be honest with you.

The thing about parenthood is you HAVE to serve.  You have no choice.  If you don’t serve your children, the state takes them away from you.

So when that baby cries in the middle of the night, you have to die to your desire to roll over and go back to sleep.  (You also have to die to your desire to elbow your spouse and gripe, “It’s YOUR turn!”, but that’s another post entirely.)

When that toddler demands milk, yogurt, a bib, a spoon, a hair clip, a diaper change, a certain cartoon, and the Christmas lights be turned on all within 3 minutes of her (and you) waking up in the morning, you have to serve, even though you haven’t had your coffee yet.

When that preschooler pukes all over her bed at 11p, 2a, and 4a because she has a stomach virus, you have to selflessly clean her up, even though you yourself have been vomiting every hour on the hour.

Aside from glamorizing parenthood for you, my point is that service is required from parents.

But you know what isn’t required?  A servant’s heart.

I can/have/continue to serve in these ways, minus the right heart attitude, each and every day.

And I want to say to God, “See?  Aren’t you proud of me?  I do nothing but serve these children all day long.  I give, and I give, and I give myself away.”  (God really likes it when I sneak U2 lyrics into our conversations.)

But, strangely, God isn’t proud of me.  In fact, He’s saddened by my attempt to turn grumbling service into a “good work” to gain His favor.

He wants me to serve “joyfully and gladly” (Deuteronomy 28:47), even when I am serving super needy people all day long, maintaining the mentality that I am serving Him by serving them (Colossians 3:23-24).

Ultimately, He doesn’t want me to just serve others; He wants me to serve others joyfully by keeping in mind how Christ served me on the cross.