This transcript is made possible by our generous donors. Learn how you can join them. This transcript has been edited for clarity.
Laura: Well, welcome back to another episode of Risen Motherhood! I have my sister-in-law, Emily, here.
Laura: We want to start off by saying thank you so much for your support of the Risen Motherhood book! As you know, it was released last week.
Emily: On Laura’s birthday!
Laura: On my birthday. It was quite the dual celebration.
Emily: Yeah, we’re really grateful. It was so amazing to see all your pictures on social media as the actual hard copy arrived to your door. It’s been fun, too, to read the reviews and hear feedback about how God is using this book and his gospel to encourage you and help you look to Christ wherever you’re at. Again, we’re so thankful. If you haven’t left a review or rating on Amazon, that would really help. If you love the book and want to get it in the hands of other moms so they can read these hope-filled words, definitely leave a review. That’s super helpful.
Laura: And speaking of the book, our tagline for the book is gospel hope for everyday moments. Of course, that came from our podcast—what we’re talking on right now. It’s the intro we came up with it three years ago. We didn’t have the ministry tagline at the time or the book tagline; it was just in our show about applying the gospel to everyday moments. But it’s been an interesting thing that’s come up as Emily and I’ve been chatting. One day, she said she’s intrigued by this trend of everyone talking about the gospel and everyday moments.
Emily: Yeah, and I think we hear it in different ways, like how does your faith apply to ordinary life? I think there are also different pockets, like how does our faith apply to our work in its everyday moments? How does our faith apply to...anything.
Laura: We want to know the specific thing too. It’s not just general. We want to take a very specific topic and know how our faith applies to that little thing.
Emily: Right! Which is what we do here on our show, as Laura said. Certainly we understand the need and desire to apply something we care about deeply–which is the good news—to these everyday things, but it’s curious and interesting to us that this is such a trend and such a need among our generation of moms.
Laura: It feels very millennial-generation. Our generation wants to find our “guru” or “expert” for decorating our houses, working out, how we should eat, how we should clean our houses. If you look at your Instagram feed—if it’s anything like mine—you have your “expert” for every facet of your life. They tell you, “This is what I like. This is what I do. So, this is what you should do in your life.”
Emily: So we want to think through why do we want an expert? What in us finds satisfaction in that?
First and foremost, we love things to be fast and easy. It’s nice to have something packaged and delivered to you—right to your earbuds—instead of the slow art of learning by reading, or having face-to-face conversations over coffee, or observing and living life with other families. Even in motherhood, we have a sense of googling a blog post quickly to get the three steps for a sleep training method or check out a couple of books from the library to flip through for a few nuggets that’ll help us be this fantastic mom. We think if we follow this online guru, they’ll tell us the dietary snack tricks for our kids and then we don’t have to think about it. It’s just faster and easier.
Laura: Yeah, and from there, it strokes our pride. Suddenly, we’re the experts. We’ve learned from these other experts, so we can now go and share that with other people. Everyone likes to feel smart and valued, like they have something to contribute.
Emily: Awhile back, I shared this gif with Laura of a duck waddling off and it says, “Me. Waddling off to tell everyone something I learned five minutes ago.” [Laughter] And I thought it was a picture of our generation: I just saw this on somebody’s Instagram story and now I’m posting it on my stories as if I’m the expert! And we get it; we’re totally there too.
But we live pretty isolated lives; we’re connected by technology and it’s a pick-and-choose society. You can turn on the voices and experts you want to hear, and you don’t listen to the things you don’t want to hear. It’s kind of like a Netflix-queue: here’s your next up; here’s what’s recommended for you. So we don’t necessarily always have these other voices speaking in who may say things we’re not comfortable with, but we need to understand them. We also need to live life with other moms and learn from how they apply the gospel.
Laura: One thing we want to point out is we do think there is a healthy amount of motherhood experts or helpers or “gurus.” There’s help in that. In fact, Emily and I looked at each as we thought about this show because we kind of fall into this category. We hope by listening to our show you’ve been helped and have found it truthful and edifying and able to apply it to your everyday life. So we’re definitely not advocating to throw everyone out and clean out your Instagram feed, get rid of them all. Today, we want to talk about why we’re always looking for an expert and why do we want to have someone teach us? And how do we actually grow in truth and knowledge as a believer? Is that through other people? Should we rely on that? What are we supposed to go to as Christian moms trying to live out our faith in our everyday lives? Where do we go for answers?
Emily: Of course, we want to go back to creation to see how God designed us. We see humans were created with the capacity to learn. In the garden, they were supposed to learn and receive information and knowledge from God. He was the expert about his creation. He was the one with the authority on their mission and what it is they were supposed to do. He taught them what to do and what not to do. He gave them the mandate to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the earth, to subdue and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and the birds of the heavens, and every living thing that moves on the earth. And then he gave them what they shouldn’t do: you may surely eat of every tree in the garden but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat. They had the formula and the answer right there—and God was right there to teach, help, and guide them. It’s interesting that’s how humanity started.
Laura: Yeah. I love the idea of God being our teacher and being the expert for Adam and Eve. He was right there, walking with them day-in and day-out. But eventually, Adam and Eve decided that wasn’t enough, because they wanted to be the experts. They went against their teacher in the garden, who was literally the source of all knowledge and understanding, who created everything and knew every answer they could ever wonder, but they wanted more. That’s what they got; their eyes were opened to the sin in this world. It ended up not being what they thought it would be; it wasn’t as great as they thought it’d be. I think it’s interesting to think about how Adam and Eve had one rule to follow. God laid out a really simple model for them. They couldn’t follow that—
Emily: You had one job, Adam and Eve.
Laura: One job! [Laughter] Come on.
We’re all looking for that, right? Just give me the rule book! Just give me the manual! Just give me the one thing–or even the 55 things—I should do! Then I would be good. I’d get it done. I’d excel or succeed! We see the example Adam and Eve set for us, and we’re no different from them. Even if there was only one rule for us, we wouldn’t be able to follow it.
Emily: What’s interesting is in our sin nature, we’re now looking to things apart from God for answers. It can be other humans, false religions, false gods, or even inside of ourselves. We think maybe we have the answers, and we want to be like God—but we’re not. That can manifest in a couple of different ways:
We doubt God is sufficient as our expert. Again, as moms, we may wonder if God really sees our situations or if he’ll really give us the answers we need when we ask. We feel overwhelmed and want clear-cut, easy things, and we doubt God will give us that. So we look anywhere and everywhere else besides God and his word.
Laura: On the other side, we swing into pride. We get to be the experts ourselves, and with the internet, this feels pretty possible. We all want to feel godlike, like we can do it all. If we feel like we can get that one golden ticket, we’ll be happy, successful, awesome moms. Going back to that duck gif Emily talked about, we want to take our information and spew it out the other direction so we look good and feel good and confident in what we’re doing instead of humbling ourselves to learn.
Emily: But there is good news for us expert wannabes or for the guru followers among us. God sent his Son, Jesus, who lived according to God’s will expertly and perfectly. He was a teacher who showed us what it looks like to follow God and live a godly life. But not only was he a teacher, he was a Savior. Just like Laura was saying, if we had one rule—just like Adam and Eve—we wouldn’t be able to follow God’s one command. We can’t follow any of God’s commands well, so the good news is there’s an invitation for us to stop trying to be the expert or live according to human experts around us—which we’ve never able to do perfectly. It sometimes feels like a hamster wheel we can’t get off of, but we can follow the only one who lived God’s plan perfectly. We can turn from our sin and follow Christ, which is what we do in redemption: we repent, turn to God, follow Christ, and walk in the way he walked.
Laura: When Christ ascended into heaven, he left us with his Spirit. He left us with the promise that the Spirit would help us. And now we have the inspired, living, and active Word of God that we can live by and look to. So while the perfect teacher, Jesus, isn’t walking among us anymore, we still have his word. We have a record of his life that is truthful, and real, and God-breathed, and inspired. That’s something we can look to as we’re trying to live out these things. The Expert is still teaching and guiding us, because we have the Holy Spirit inside of us. Now we don’t have to doubt, because we know Christ is our true expert. He’s the final word on things. We can trust he will do what he says he will. He’ll show up for us. If we ask for things according to his will, he’ll do those things. We can think about Psalm 18:2-3: The Lord is my rock and fortress and my deliverer, my rock in whom I take refuge. I call upon the Lord, he is worthy to be praised, and I’m safe from my enemies.
Emily: I think as moms, when we’re in Christ, we can trust he wants to give us wisdom to answer our questions. And for the pride angle we can go to in our sin: when we’re in Christ, we have humility. We realize our confidence isn’t in ourselves or in our ability to accumulate information and act on it. Our confidence is in our Savior and Redeemer. Psalm 105 says: for the Lord is good and his loving kindness is everlasting and his faithfulness is to all generations. That’s who our confidence is in. It’s not in an expert or in five tips and tricks. It’s in Christ himself.
Laura: So we want to reiterate, we fully admit it’s a natural and normal human need to learn, to grow in knowledge. We’re not born knowing everything. We need to be taught. Just look at your own children; there needs to be investment and training in education so these children know how to live out their lives! We’re the same: we never stop learning or growing. For all of us, there is a point at which motherhood is a first. There’s your first child, and everything you go through is a “first time.” None of us are experts, because we’re all experiencing something new—even if you’re an empty nester.
Emily: And there’s a true need to learn and understand. If you have a two-year old at your knees and they’re throwing a big tantrum, it’s normal and practical to think, “I need to figure out how to deal with a two-year old and a tantrum.” Or if you’re dealing with how to lay your child down for a nap, it’s perfectly normal and natural to find some information to figure out what’s a good routine for laying a child down for a nap so they can get rest. Those are good, normal things.
Laura: God, in his graciousness, teaches us in a variety of ways! Some of that may be asking a fellow mom for advice. But the best way we can process through these decisions is to first go to the Word of God and compare that mom’s advice to God’s word. I think it’s always the unsatisfactory answer at times: typically, the way we find out how out answers to life and how our faith is applied to our lives is through the hard work of studying God’s word for ourselves. We want the quick fix, but God asks us for hard work.
Emily: Thinking about our generation and all the information at our fingertips, we want God or the Bible to be like Google. We want to be able to put in our needs and get out exactly the answer we want in the form we want. We know God doesn’t work that way. He doesn’t bend to our will or submit to what we want and how we want it delivered on a plate. We’re swept up into his story. So often, we can look at the way people responded to Jesus in the New Testament. He was doing a lot of miracles and providing healing for their ailments. Some people came to him for what he could give them. Just give me my miracle. Just give me my healing. Just give me my answer to my question. But he wants followers and disciples. So as moms, when we’re really thinking about our posture to God, it’s not just, “Give me the answer so I can go on with my life or help me with this thing and I’ll leave you be.” It’s a relationship with him and loving him. It’s about beholding him and enjoying life with him. Know that some of these things will be a hard process of learning. It’s not going to be an instant, quick-fix, but that’s not what Christianity is.
Laura: The point we’re trying to drive towards is while experts and motherhood tips and articles that help us out are really wonderful, we want to encourage you—as the R|M community—to compare everything against the Word of God. He promises he’ll teach us by his Spirit and his word. He’s also given us the local church to cross-check things. We may hear things around us that say this is how to do this or this is how to be a good mom, but ultimately, our identity rests in Christ. Our joy is found in him, not in a perfect way or method of doing something. It’s found in our resting securely in the work Christ has done on our behalf. Then we can live out some of those things, those tips, the practical nitty-gritty of our motherhood in freedom. Because of the gospel, we can change or try a new idea from an expert—and it won’t be a big deal because that’s not where our identity is found. We don’t follow an expert or guru; we follow Jesus.
Emily: Yeah, so just to get down to the nitty gritty: we’re moms, we want answers, and we want to follow different experts for how to live our lives. Just remember if you’re following Jesus, part of a local church, and reading the word, you’re going to get wisdom over time. You don’t have to live in fear. Don’t feel like you need to run to Instagram and follow every person, or Google everything. You can stop and pray. You can call a friend who’s also seeking after the Lord to ask opinions. But trust the Lord.
And remember you don’t have to be known or posture yourself as an expert on motherhood either. It’s okay if you don’t feel like a guru yourself or a perfect display of motherhood in every area. Your identity is found in Christ, and God is asking you to follow him and live like Jesus. He’s not asking you to be a motherhood guru so all your friends can ask you for your practical tips and advice.
Laura: I think that’s a good word to end on. For more info, head to risenmotherhood.com. There’s a big, ol’ podcast button you can push and find today’s show notes. In addition, we’ll be talking about this topic on social media this week, so head over to Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @risenmotherhood. We hope you’ll join our community over there; it’s a lovely bunch of people! And if you haven’t yet, we hope you’ll check out our book, Risen Motherhood. It talks so much about this topic about how to apply your faith to everyday moments, but you don’t have to do it like Emily or Laura. We’re hoping by reading that book, you’ll feel equipped to go forth and do motherhood in your own unique way, and honor God in the things you’ll do, and trust Jesus to guide and lead you as your expert. All right, have a great day!