We’ve all heard before that having children means you have to “die to yourself.” And that’s true. But while it’s true, it’s also a bit too general. At least for me. Life comes alive in the specifics.
So to be more specific, what I didn’t realize is that dying to myself meant dying to my schedule.
Paxton, my newborn son, taught me this lesson before he even left the womb. He was born 8 days before his due date. I left work early on a Thursday to go to a 3:00pm ultrasound with my wife, and by 7:00pm we were checking into the hospital.
I had emails to return, people to hire and interview, and stuff to buy before he was supposed to come.
When Pax decided to come into this world early he was announcing it was his time. It was no longer mine.
And that messed me up.
I knew my schedule would have to change and adapt to having a newborn. But I had never considered how selfish I was about my schedule. I wrote here about how we can start looking at our time as belonging to others, not just ourselves. That idea helps because most of us don’t realize how selfish we are about our schedule.
Maggie and I had to learn this lesson one more time before he was born. Our birth plan included having a natural birth. Meaning no pain medication, epidural, etc. But we started off outside the plans. The doctor was concerned about the fluid level in the womb, so they decided to induce with an overnight Pitocin drip. This is a synthetic chemical that helps induce labor.
After about 16 hours of labor, the doctors started to get more and more concerned about the baby’s heartbeat. The labor was constantly intensifying, with contractions 2 minutes apart. To make things worse, my wife wasn’t progressing quickly at all. She was in so much pain she finally couldn’t stand it and decided to get an epidural, a decision I fully supported.
In the end, that decision allowed us to have the kind of delivery we wanted and led to a healthy baby.
And we learned a valuable lesson.
Plans are just that – plans.
They’re a way to get where you want to go, but they’re not the way.
When things aren’t going how they’re supposed to, scrap your plans and make a new one. You don’t have to change your goals. But sometimes you need to change how you plan to get there.
Realizing I’m selfish in my scheduling is a huge turning point for me. You can’t think about a date night the same. It’s hard to pass someone who has a flat tire just because you’re a few minutes late for work. My time is not my own. I’m on borrowed time at the end of the day. God keeps allowing me to punch in each morning for some reason.
Any time we’re exposed to be selfish, we should thank God. These are the areas of our lives where we have the most potential for love and growth. There’s something about the veil being lifted on our selfishness that kick-starts our want for change.