Mom Life

Just Like Jonah

I am no Bible scholar. My degree is in elementary education. I could teach you how to read. I could not exegete a passage of scripture. {I only even know that fancy word “exegete” because my husband is a pastor}.

That being said, I was reading through the book of Jonah this weekend. You may have heard of it. It’s the one where Jonah doesn’t want to do what God asked him to do, so he runs away, thinking he can hide from God. He ends up getting swallowed by a big fish, {some think whale, but we actually only know it was some sort of big fish}, and  he lives in the fish’s stomach for three days and three nights, until he  is finally ready to obey God’s commands, and the fish spits him out…and Jonah reluctantly heads to Nineveh.

First of all, I feel like God is the winner of all time outs. In my house, time outs usually consist of sitting in a chair or in your bedroom for the amount of minutes that you are years old (4 year olds get 4 minutes). Jonah runs away from God and completely disobeys His directions, and he gets put in the time out of all time outs. I can just imagine God saying, “You sit in the belly of that fish and think about what you’ve done!”

I imagine that Jonah felt two things in the belly of that fish.

1. Remorseful. I bet Jonah was sorry he didn’t just listen to God in the first place. I imagine he thought, “Why didn’t I just listen the first time?!”

2. Thankful. I bet after facing the terrifying storm and then being THROWN INTO THE SEA, Jonah was thankful to still be alive. The Bible tells us that “God provided” the fish for Jonah. He spared Jonah’s life and gave him a second chance.

I can relate to so many parts of this story. Regret, thankfulness for God’s protection, experiencing God’s second chances, etc.

But what stuck with me this time, was from the very beginning of the story. The first two verses, to be exact. We read in Jonah 1:1-2 (NIV), “The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”

God had a job for Jonah. A calling. The fact that I relate to so many parts of Jonah’s story reminds me that I’m not much different than him. And it got me thinking about God’s calling in my own life. Reading Jonah’s story left me with three questions about my own life.

1. What is God calling me to do?

Listen, I’m a busy mom. I’m busy from the moment my feet hit the floor until my face hits the pillow. I’m preparing the meals, washing the laundry, doing the dishes, vacuuming the floor, changing the diapers, buying the groceries, and the list goes on. But these first two verses reminded me that God is a God of callings. There are certain things He asks of His followers. What is God calling me to do?

It would be easy for me to answer that question with “I’m a mom, and that’s my calling.” Yes. That statement is 100% true. I’m definitely called to be a mother, a wife, and disciple my children to grow up knowing, loving, and serving the Lord.

One of the ways I hope to disciple my girls is by teaching them to have an impact on the world we live in. To do this, I have to intentionally live and serve not only in my family, but outside of my family as well. So I guess the question is, what else is God asking me to do right now?

2. If God is calling me, am I listening?

I’m not meant to live a complacent life revolving around dishes, dinners, and diapers. Those things have value. They are important. But they are not all I have to offer. If I believe that God has an additional calling for my life, it would help if I asked Him what that calling is. A “call to Nineveh” isn’t going to appear in my lap. Jonah had a relationship with God. He knew God well. In fact, the reason he didn’t want to go was because he felt it was unjust for God to show the sinful people of Nineveh compassion. In essence, Jonah didn’t think those people were “good enough” for God’s grace. So this got me thinking, “Who am I holding back from sharing God’s love with because I don’t find them worthy enough?” Ouch. This is an important question to ask ourselves. It is easy to run with the circle of friends with whom we have things in common. But God sometimes calls us to friend the unlovable. Just like the people of Nineveh.

3. Am I living in the belly of a fish? Say what? Wouldn’t I know if I was living in the belly of a fish? I mean, my house is messy, but not belly of a fish messy. But am I waiting in a metaphorical fish for God’s great blessings for me? Could God have blessings waiting for me, if I am willing to go where He sends me?

This one was an interesting revelation. Although my life seems just fine, and I’m not suffering in the stinky belly of a fish, could I be missing out on God’s blessings simply because I’m not doing something He wants me to do? Here’s the thing: I fully believe we receive a blessing when we bless others. It could simply be paying for someone’s coffee in the drive thru. They receive free coffee, and you receive the blessing of joy. I fully believe that when we share a piece of the fruit of the spirit, we receive a piece back! So when I share an extra dose of patience with the waitress who can’t get it together, I may receive self control back! Or I may even receive some kindness from the waitress. Hear me, friends, we do not honor God in order to see what He has in store for us to receive back. We honor God out of obedience. But at the same time, we can only receive the blessings God has when we are living in a space of obedience. That’s a good word, friends, so I’m gonna say it again. We can only receive the blessings God has for us when we are living in a space of obedience. So the question is, am I currently living in the belly of a fish? Or am I open to God’s calling and willing to go where He sends?

Let’s pray for God to reveal His calling in our lives, and let’s open our hearts and minds to hear His calling. I’m excited to see what God does when I start listening. Here I am, Lord. Send me.

 

 

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