Setting Our Lives in Order (November 16, 2014)

I have been thinking this week about weakness, and how it might be a blessing.  When I was hit with my latest diagnosis I was depressed.  And of course I was tired, and in pain.  But then I realized that these things might be a blessing.  This was a chance to re-order my life.

Like many of us in the caring community, I find it hard to say no.  Consequently, I found myself committed to things I wasn’t really enjoying, but felt I had to do because someone asked me.  But I didn’t have the energy to do them, and they weren’t feeding my soul.  Now I had a good reason to let them go.  It used to be I could do two things on a good day; now it seems I can do only one.  And if it isn’t something that makes me feel my time was well spent, that isn’t something I need to do.

I am still tutoring children two mornings a week at our local K-3 school.  No matter how bad I feel, they cheer me up.  And it’s amazing to see how 15-30 minutes one-on-one with a child can make such a huge difference in his or her reading and math skills.

I sew quilts for charity because I am always happy at the sewing machine, or with a needle and thread and fabric in my hands.  And I just finished making Christmas stockings for a foster children’s project.  These things bring me joy.  But I didn’t enjoy serving on the board of the quilt guild, and evening meetings were nearly impossible for me.  It was a no-brainer to let that go.

The service club that my husband and I belonged to in Bishop was great.  We did lots of hands-on local projects, as well as supporting international projects.  The club here just isn’t the same.  We haven’t forged the same friendships, and service seems to be expressed by writing checks rather than getting your hands dirty.  I’ve let them know I won’t be renewing my dues next quarter, although my husband will remain a member.  It was a cordial break-up, and I will be a welcome guest at their meetings, but I’m no longer obligated to be there.

The one difficult thing to give up was an international emergency shelter organization for whom I speak as a fundraiser.  But none of the service clubs in this area seem willing to hear their message, so I haven’t been very effective lately.  The organization accepted my resignation as an Ambassador, but is retaining me as a Liaison.  They also sent me messages of support.

My decision to cut down on my activities has given me more peace and more time for the things that please me – church, children, my home.  It hasn’t made me stronger physically yet, but I believe I am on the road to a stronger spirit.  And it made me wonder why it took a health crisis for me to make this decision to set my priorities in order.  If I didn’t enjoy doing things, and I wasn’t effective, why was I doing them?

And perhaps that’s something we can all stop and consider.  Is ineffective help better than no help at all?  Let us dedicate ourselves to the things we believe God calls us to do, and give our heart to those causes.

All who cleanse themselves of the things I have mentioned will become special utensils, dedicated and useful to the owner of the house, ready for every good work.  2 Timothy 2:21

Dear Lord, Thank you for reminding us of what is truly important.  Help us to recall that there is strength in numbers, and that we do not have to do it all on our own.  Help us remember that there is tremendous power in prayer, and that your word not only created this world, but can change it as well.  Move hearts and minds this week, and open doors in every sense of the word.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

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