Do you ever feel like you just want to strike?
Maybe you've fantasized about walking out the door for a day, leaving the dishes, diapers, and dinner for Daddy?
You're not alone.
On March 8, the Women's March movement is encouraging women to walk out on "paid and unpaid labor" as part of their A Day Without a Woman strike.
Today, I'm beyond thrilled (and incredibly humbled!) to be a guest contributor at Desiring God discussing the very first "Day Without a Woman" and six ways the Church can stand with women.
But what about you--the weary, sleep-deprived, overworked mama?
Maybe a strike sounds good to you right about now. How then should you respond when all you want to do is strike?
HOW NOT TO RESPOND
Before we discuss how we should respond to the temptation to strike, let's first take a moment to talk about how we should not respond.
Being a wife and mother is hard work.
It's beautiful work, it's rewarding work, but have no doubt, it is hard work.
As Christian women, it's tempting to grin and bear it. To show the world how #blessed we are to clean the permanent marker off the dining room walls, when all we really want to do is scream.
But God doesn't call us to false humility, friends. And he most definitely does not call us to pretend to have it all together. He's all about #keepinitreal.
How should we not respond to the temptation to strike?
By not responding.
God doesn't want us to act like we have it all together, and he also doesn't want us to suffer in silence. Jesus says, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).
THE GOD WHO SEES
A strike can be tempting when you feel like your efforts are under-appreciated and largely unseen.
You're doing important work, and you want to feel important.
But sister, I implore you not to go down that road.
As followers of Christ, our motivation shouldn't be to earn the recognition of men--whether that's from our husbands, our children, or anyone else.
Colossians 3:23-24 says, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."
God sees every diaper you change, every meal you make, every runny nose you wipe, and he is pleased.
Consider the Proverbs 31 woman. God sees her late nights, her early mornings, and her hard work. He recognizes all that she does for her family and for him, and he calls for her to be praised in the gates (Proverbs 31:10-31).
God sees what you do as well, mama. And you know what else? He sees you! Your thoughts, your pain, your desires--he sees all of it (Psalm 139:1-3). And he wants to help.
THREE GOD-HONORING RESPONSES
If we shouldn't keep silent and we shouldn't strike, then what should our response be?
Here are what I believe to be three God-honoring responses when all you want to do is strike.
The Bible says that the "eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those who heart is completely His"(2 Chronicles 16:9).
God wants to support you. He wants to strengthen you. All you need to do is make your requests known to him and ask for his help (Philippians 4:6)!
2) PREACH THE GOSPEL TO YOURSELF.
When you feel like walking out and giving up, take a deep breath and preach the gospel to yourself.
What does that mean exactly?
First, think about all that Christ has done for you.
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7)
Then, ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of these gospel truths and help you apply them to the situation at hand.
Maybe you're feeling like you just don't have any more love to give. Preaching the gospel to yourself might look like this...
"I don't have to love in my own strength. I am able to love because Jesus first loved me." (1 John 4:19)
Or maybe you're feeling weak. Here's how you might preach the gospel to yourself...
"I don't have to be strong. God is strong for me. His grace is sufficient for me." (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Or maybe you're hurt and angry. Give this a try...
"I can forgive because Christ forgave me. I can find joy because my greatest need has been met. I am at peace with God." (Ephesians 4:32, Romans 5:1)
It's hard to walk out on the job when you're thinking upon the sacrifice Christ made for you.
3) ASK FOR HELP.
If you are consistently being treated poorly by your husband or family, it's time to talk.
God's word says that you are to be honored and loved (Ephesians 5:25, Ephesians 6:2).
You are not a doormat.
Instead of striking to make your point, though, ask your husband or family to sit down and have a conversation. Share with them how you feel, and humbly ask for help.
You might want to take this time to list every grievance, but try to focus in on one or two things your husband and/or kids can work on.
Do you need more help around the house?
Ask your family to do the laundry or to take over dinner one night a week.
Do you feel like you need some time away?
Tell your husband how you feel and figure out a way for you to get a much-needed break.
Do you feel unappreciated?
Share your feelings with your family and tell them how much a simple "thank you" means to you.
Whatever you do, don't suffer in silence. If there is sin that needs to be addressed, address it (Matthew 18:15). And if you need help, ask for it. Allow your family to be a means of grace in your life.
An important note: If you are experiencing abuse, please seek help. Talk to your pastor, local law enforcement agency, and/or trusted friend. God does not want you to stay in an abusive situation.
DON'T WALK AWAY
Let's face it. There are going to be days you just wanna go on strike.
Resist the urge, mama.
Two thousand years ago, a young carpenter also wanted to walk away from the bitter cup he had been given. "Nevertheless," he prayed, "Not my will, but yours, be done" (Luke 22:42).
He laid down his rights--his life!--for you and me, so that we might experience God's amazing love in salvation.
When you feel like walking off the job, remember that amazing love. Your savior sees you, he loves you, and he wants to help.