Typically, the two people with the greatest potential to help form your identity are your parents and that connection which begins in the womb, continues through pregnancy, and is life-shaping after birth. Before Joseph had an opportunity to accept his assignment, Mary had an encounter with the angel Gabriel. When this young ethnic girl of courage and faith heard the angel outline her assignment, which seemed impossible, she declared the mission possible when she said, “I am the Lord’s servant…May your word to me be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:38)
In graciously accepting the mission to be the vessel through which the Son of God would be born, Mary was not only accepting all of the promise that Jesus’ birth would bring, but she was also accepting all of the pressure and problems of a precarious predicament. To be truthful, we all have been given a mission, and when we we are first introduced to that mission, there is this sensation of euphoria that overtakes us, this sentiment of certainty that overcomes us, this sense of fearlessness that overwhelms us. However, when the clouds that our heads are stuck in dissipate, it does not mean that we won’t face difficult tasks, dire circumstances, and disappointing failures in pursuit of the mission. The task may even seem too big for us, too bold for us, and too broad for us. It may leave us wondering how in the world does God expect me to do or be this.
Now, while Mary’s mission was mothering the Messiah, Jesus never let his relationship with his mother limit him; he did not let it define him; and he did not allow it to interfere with his own life’s mission. People tried to limit him based on his pedigree asking questions like, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?” (John 6:42) Jesus was undisturbed by their line of questions and by anything that would take him off the course of his mission–including his mother. No, Jesus was NOT a mama’s boy nor was he a people-pleaser. Jesus was not afraid to say “No” nor to give an honest and forthright response–even if it might hurt your feelings or offend you. Jesus could not be manipulated emotionally, mentally, relationally, etc.
Listen, after Jesus drove out a demon and started to teach the onlookers, “a woman in the crowd called out, ‘Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you'” (Luke 11:27)–and Jesus replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” (Luke 11:28) In fact, when his own mother and brothers came to see him and could not get through, Jesus said, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.” (Luke 8:21) Jesus was determined to not be defined by any relationship except his relationship with God.
Jesus may be Mary’s baby, but first, he is God’s son. For while his relationship with his mother helped shape his life, it is his relationship to God that has given him identity, and Jesus is conscious of this. We, too, must arrive at another level of consciousness so that we can stay the course like Jesus, and make the mission possible like Mary.
RECOMMENDED JOURNAL EXERCISE: Take a few moments to reflect on the following questions and write your answer to each in your journal. Take about 5 minutes for each question.
- What is your mission possible?
- How would you define the relationship with your mother?
- How have you allowed key relationships take you off the course of your mission?
Tara LaShawn Seabrook is a self-proclaimed “free spirit,” a public, practical, and prophetic theologian; a spiritual and social justice activist; a creative and cultural artist; and a prolific teacher, speaker, and writer. Currently, she resides in Guatemala where she is finishing up a 2-year volunteer in mission commitment with a non-governmental organization before returning to her native Charleston, SC in the spring of 2017. Her book based on her original poem, “I Am She: The Anthology” will be released later this year.