How Much is Too Much?

Does the condition of my office indicate that I still haven't quite found my balance?

To follow up on my previous post, I want to address the other side of the need for serving others. Yes, it is vital that we recognize the areas in which God is calling us to serve and we actually do something about it! Take a small step…help in some way…just do it! When Jake started going to school for a full day, I was sure that God had something planned for those off hours. And I’m very sure that it wasn’t just to lose a little weight by exercising more, keep a cleaner house, and have a better blog or more detailed scrapbook. What significance do those things have for eternity?

BUT…how much is too much? I have a hard time recognizing where I should be on the service continuum. I think we all do. Although my spiritual life has grown during this time of intense service, I need to take care of my family, my home, and myself, too. I don’t want to be selfish and seek only after my own happiness. But I don’t want to neglect relationships and responsibilities that I should be nurturing, either. Where do you want us to be, LORD? What kind of service do you have for us when Midge leaves? Do you want us to continue in a similar sort of ministry to orphans? Do you want us to focus on supporting other foster families with our time? Is there still another path you have for us but haven’t yet shown us?

In the back of my mind I’m constantly asking myself if I’ve got the right balance. Right now we are confident that God put Midge with us for this season for a reason. We know that a fostering ministry like this isn’t sustainable over a long period of time for us. It’s difficult to nurture your own little ones when you’re required to be away from home in body and mind for so many hours a week. But we know that God had plans for this (so far) seven months of our lives.

And then I open a cabinet and am showered with falling tupperware. The bathroom is getting far beyond acceptable. The pile on the dining table and in the office grows and grows. I don’t have the time to meet with a few dear friends to chat or play tennis or go to the gym.

How organized does God want my tupperware? How clean should the bathroom be? How presentable the home and how small the jeans? Am I neglecting friendships for the right reasons? If I sit down to breathe and blog for a moment during the rare naptime, am I making the right choice?

I don’t know the answer to these questions. I think the answer is different for each of us. We all have a different threshold of sanity…a different amount of chaos that we can handle and still avoid depression. After a night of waking up every two hours to tend to a sick baby Midge, I’m having one of those “I’m done with this!” days. On other days I want to adopt as many orphans as I can cram into my house.

I’ve added the song “God is So Good” to the ones that I sing to Midge as I rock her to sleep. When we realized she was going to reunify, I knew that she wouldn’t remember much about these months of her life. But she might recognize a bible verse when she’s older and wonder where she learned it. She could have a softer perspective towards God if she knows that “Jesus loves me” and “God is so good” somewhere deep down inside her. Last night as I was singing her to sleep one of the many times, I was bitter about how her parents have made (and maybe are still making) bad choices, yet I’m the one here taking care of their child and then I’ll have to give her back to them. I don’t want to serve those kinds of people. But God is So Good. He knows the walls of pride that need to break down inside of me. He knows the lessons I need to learn. And He knows that the song I sing to her is ministering to me just as much as it is to her.

In his book, Don’t Waste Your Life, John Piper talks about an eternal perspective. We don’t want to stand before God and show him our size 6 thighs or our spotless organized kitchen. Then again we don’t want to completely neglect our bodies or our sanity or our gifts from Him. How much is too much? How much is just right? Could I be giving a little more of my time and letting other things slide just a bit more? Should I be cutting back on “doing” to nurture the blessings of family and the sanity of self? Do I need to give a little more money and dress a little less perfectly or drive a less popular car? The answer is different for each of us. I’m learning not to judge someone else’s choices because God has a different path with different lessons for each of us. Where is your line? I’m constantly looking for mine.

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