I’m not sure why her comment stuck out to me so much. After all, it wasn’t unusual, unique or remarkable. It was something I would have said myself without even thinking about it. Something people say every day.
“I have to go pray with the kiddos,” she explained.
“No, you GET to go pray with the kiddos,” I replied.
I wasn’t trying to be mean. I know how she meant it. There was nothing wrong with her comment. But it got me to thinking… how many times do we see things as “Have to’s” when they really are “Get to’s” instead?
*See Also: 25 Ways to Speak Your Child’s Love Language
- “I have to get up and go to church…”
- “I have to take care of the kids…”
- “I have to clean the house…”
- “I have to go to work…”
Do you really HAVE to? You don’t have to. You could skip church, let the kids fend for themselves for a while and play hooky. No one would die. They would all live to tell about it. You don’t HAVE to do these things.
Rather, you GET to. These things are a privilege.
How many people in the world desperately wish they could go to church, but they can’t because they don’t have transportation, they don’t know where to go, they’re scared they won’t fit in, they’re struggling with past hurts or they fear religious persecution?
How many people in the world would give absolutely anything to wake up in the middle of the night to gently rock a crying baby, to get one more sippy cup of milk even though it’s after bedtime, or to wipe one more runny nose with their sleeve because it would mean that they had children to do these things for?
How many people in the world would love to do the dishes and mop the floors because it would mean that they had dishes to wash and floors to mop? Because it would mean that they had food to eat and a family to share it with? Because it would mean that they were able and pain-free enough to get out of bed in order to do these simple tasks for themselves?
How many people in the world will lie awake tonight praying “God, please help me find a job–any job. I don’t care. I just need to work to take care of my family. I don’t know what we’re going to do…”
I’m not going to lie–last week was a pretty rough week at our house. I had to meet with my son’s teacher because he’s been getting into trouble at school lately. Our dishwasher broke and we had to order a new one. And then we all came down with the flu one right after another so I spent the week cleaning up some pretty big messes of all kinds both day and night (I’ll spare you the details, but it was disgusting). Plus working. All while doing all of our dishes by hand, trying to convince two rambunctious little boys to rest, and holding a baby who doesn’t like to be put down. Ever.
It was quite the week!
And while I could complain–I’m really not complaining. Because even when I was up at 2:30 am bathing a toddler, tossing puke-covered sheets in the laundry and nursing a baby back to sleep, I consider it a privilege.
It is a privilege to take care of my family.
It is a privilege to cook them dinner, do their laundry and clean up after them when they are sick.
It is a privilege to wake up in the middle of the night to find a missing stuffed animal, change my toddler’s diaper or nurse my baby back to sleep.
It is a privilege to be able to take them to church on Sundays, to pay private Christian school tuition and to teach them through example how to give generously to those in need.
Some people don’t get to do these things. Oh, how they want to! But I can. Every day.
Now, I don’t mean to rub my good fortune in the faces of those who don’t have children. I’m sure that is a hurt that is almost too much to bear at times. I can’t even imagine!
My point is simply this–instead of focusing on what others have that you don’t, or on all of the things you feel you have to do that you’d rather not… Consider instead the things you get to do.
Because, chances are, the life you have now is a life you once used to long for, a life others would give anything for, and a life you’ll one day miss. (Or at least parts of it) But you’re so used to it that you’ve forgotten to see it.
Don’t miss out on all of the blessings right in front of you. You’re luckier than you know.