Does God want to stretch us or stress us? Some of us act like it’s God’s intention to do the latter and make us a busy as possible (avoiding idle hands and all). Then we use His perfect word to convince ourselves (or guilt others) that everything is possible! It’s like we think that if we are doing good works, then God must go along with our plans.
But if we are so busy going about doing our important works that we lose sight of the very people God has placed a primary call on us to see, then all our good works are doing nothing more than balancing our own judgment scales. We can get into the habit of looking at other people who aren’t serving and give ourselves another weight on the scale for being better (more obedient, more selfless, etc.) than them.
Are we trying so hard to do those good works that our families are suffering as a result? Your husband has a high-stress job with long days, but you expect him to be available to (more than) help manage the kids (and happy to do so) on his days off while you rush to serve everyone else. You don’t allow yourself to have any time (let alone a day) where you can reflect on the absolute awesomeness of God or even slow down enough to allow Him to renew and refresh, which leaves you feeling disconnected and desolate. The burnout from constant stress and sleepless nights comes out when you hurl words of impatience and frustration at your children, damaging, possibly even destroying, your witness to the very people who will need it the most in their lives. You receive not-so-subtle hints from friends and family that your attitude stinks. You can’t seem to buckle down to complete that one project (or post) that you’d just like to do.
The story of the two sisters Mary and Martha comes to mind. One sister is doing all the work, her mind running a million miles while her body tries to keep up. She breaks under the (self-imposed) pressure and snaps at Jesus to make her sister Mary take up her fair share of the burden. But before we crack down on Martha, let’s count up how many times have we asked God to do the very same thing with our spouses, our children, our friends and neighbors… She didn’t let God pour His love and Spirit into Her and so the only thing that came out was what was bubbling up from her heart–envy, strife, bitterness. In other words, her very own human nature.
As you’ve probably guessed, this isn’t some hypothetical situation I’ve conjured up from my imagination. And it grieves my heart. We’ve been called to love people. But we can’t love them if we can’t even see them, whether we’re too busy to look at their needs or too hardened to see the impact of our actions on them. Maybe God wants to stretch us, as in grow up in spiritual maturity.
Now is the time, before the hustle of the holiday season, to take an inventory of your activities and the influence of those activities on your attitude.
Maybe you choose to set a limit into how much time you spend doing these other things, or choose to take a breather. Maybe you choose to keep them all but allow yourself the availability to be loved by God.