It’s quite incredible really. It’s the only place that we naturally die to ourselves without even thinking about it. Without a choice in the matter really. Pregnancy. From the moment of conception, you, mom, are second. When you don’t drink all 1,500 glasses of water you are supposed to, not to worry my friend, your baby is well hydrated. You, however, will be severely dehydrated. Your body somehow knows to give the first fruits to that fragile life growing inside you. Not just water, but those oh so important prenatal vitamins. Your baby gets first pick! If you forget for one day. Don’t panic! Your baby will get his or her vitamins. You will be missing out though. It’s really amazing. It’s the only place in life where we naturally die to ourselves.
Motherhood has changed the way I see dying to yourself. Let me tell you a story. Just the other day, as I was driving to work, someone pulled out in front of me at a busy intersection causing me to nearly collide with them. I was furious. It was a close call. I don’t honk at people often, but I laid on my horn at this person. For the next couple hundred yards I was just thinking of all that I would tell them when we got to the next red light and I got out of my car and stormed up to their window. But all that I could manage to come up with to say was “Are you crazy? I have children!!” I have children! That thought circled a hundred times. My life matters! I was actually nervous to drive for the first few months after having my first baby. My life suddenly had so much more importance. Someone was depending on me for life.
Do I die to myself for my children? Yes, you better believe I die to myself. But even more than that, I live for them. My life now has so much more meaning, more purpose. I don’t get what I want. I have to die to my desires nearly daily (at 5:30 am to be precise, when my sweet early risers rise and all I want is to sleep a little bit more). But my life has a purpose.
So often when we think of the Christian life, and we hear, “die to yourself”, we hear, “you don’t matter”. Nothing could be farther from the truth. As we begin to give up living for ourselves, and begin to live for Christ, we become the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. What greater purpose or meaning could a life have?! As a pregnant woman, you live for this little one growing inside you. Yes, you could refuse to take those vitamins, you could rob your body of water. But eventually, you will die. And what then of that precious life inside. It too will die. As a mother, we don’t die to ourselves, we live for another. And in that living our lives actually matter more. Same is true of the Chrsitain life. As we die to ourselves, and live for Christ, another life takes up residence in our bodies, that of the Holy Spirit. Now, because the holy lives in us, rather than having lost everything, our lives actually have more meaning.
Imagine with me for a minute that the manger where Jesus lay were archaeologically found. The finder puts it on e-bay. How much do it you think it would go for? Now really, that manger would never make it to e-bay. The Catholic Church would purchase it before the public even knew it existed for an unreal amount of money. In the millions at least! Prior to the knowledge that baby Jesus slept there (and pooped there), that manger would have just been a nasty animal slobberly mess. No one would have bid on a used cattle trough. But knowing that the holy has been there gives it value. Just like Taylor Swift’s jacket, with her sweat on it, would sell for an ungodly amount, while the same exact jacket would be found on the rack for a couple hundred bucks. You, having given your life to Christ, died to yourself, now have the essence of the Holy in you. You are now worth more than any holy shroud kept in any cathedral. You have God living in you!