Despite advanced planning and effort, I got stuck in traffic on the wrong side of town prompting me to call friends to grab a child to bail me out TWICE. At 5:30 as rain started to roll in I realized I needed to rush back across town in case baseball practice was called early.
Then I remembered I had signed up to bring dinner to a friend's family as the Mama recovered from surgery. And of course, my husband was on call and in the OR.
Can I confess something embarrassing? I have a mental block against delivering meals to families in need. My track record is terrible.
I remember how much I appreciated it being done for me (for five months, three nights a week) when our babies were born. I WANT to do it. And yet, despite my best intentions, I have forgotten the last three times I have signed up. I don't mean it slipped up on me, by the way. I mean I have thought about it during the early part of the day then gotten busy in the afternoon rush and totally, completely left hungry people wondering where their food might be. Who does that? Me, apparently.
I am efficient, organized and reliable in 98% of my life. I have neat lists, a well oiled calendar and great intentions---but bringing meals is just not in my gift set. I am trying to learn to be OK with that.
Frankly, the last time I signed up and messed up was so embarrassing (a single Mama friend with stage IV cancer who called me at 7pm to check on me when I hadn't shown up) that I pledged to find other ways to give and to serve. And yet, each time I get a care calendar email I swallow hard. I feed my family every night--certainly I can handle this.
Tonight I am honestly wondering...is it Ok to just decide 'I don't do that well' and move on to serving in ways that 'work' for me? Or should I suck it up and try harder because, really, this shouldn't be this complicated and it is worth the extra effort to bless people?
In my twenties I once volunteered for a ministry that I admired greatly. It involved youth ministry to mentally and physically handicapped teenagers through Young Life's Capernum ministry. My friend Kat was gifted greatly in this area & I was moved by her service. I wanted that beautiful ministry to be my thing.
After a few months of getting to know some of the great kids involved I agreed to chaperone a weekend camp experience. It was one of the most difficult experiences of my life. I was completely emotionally and physically exhausted after 48 hours of 12 teens with profound challenges I knew little about. Dealing with bodily fluids, irrational behavior, limited communication, I was overwhelmed and in tears the entire time. It was not my call--even though I really wanted it to be.
I know some people feel that way about youth ministry to typically developing teens, or children, or women or adults. In seasons of my life I have actually found myself begging God to let me work with impoverished people instead of wealthy ones---to more obviously troubled youth than ones who appear on the surface to have the world at their fingertips. We are built and inclined different ways. Our life experiences and unique gifting combine to put us on various paths.
So I am pondering...
Is it prideful to try to meet needs we aren't wired for?
Or are we so comfortable in our lives and routines that we can easily rationalize not serving in a way that is needed because it is challenging or inconvenient?
|by Brian Andreas|
Scripture is clear: We are ALL called to love with everything we've got--and maybe a whole lot we don't have and must depend on the Lord to provide. This love manifests itself quite differently in individual lives.
May we be courageous enough to earnestly ask God the hard questions about what He has for us, watch & listen intently for it to be revealed and rest in the peace of His Will.
It may not initially seem as exciting as what He has for someone else.
It may or may not require some stretching outside our comfort zone and the awkward reality of not being perfect at it.
And occasionally it will involve heartfelt, humble apologies over forgotten dinners.