On the Flip Side

For several years I took part in the statewide writing assessment.  My favorite kind of papers to evaluate were definitely the persuasive ones.  To be able to effectively write that type of essay, one needs to take a firm stand and then support that opinion with credible reasons.  If the writer gives acknowledgement to the positive aspects of both sides of the argument, the paper is no longer persuasive but instead turned into a fluctuating presentation instead.

My writing for the past several days has been about the importance of service.  About how we need to minister to others, particularly those in our home and in our church.  Obviously I still believe that is true, but I am about to turn my persuasive argument into a presentation that will hopefully not be a wishy-washy one.  Some of you reading this blog maybe need a nudge to engage more in the world around you.  But some of you maybe actually need a nudge in the opposite direction – a shove to sit down and stay home.

SO many options for service are available out there.  Great organizations that meet the needs of the common good and want help to continue to do so.   If you have any children at  school that opens up even more possibilities for involvement  All good things that can take up your time, monopolize it and add stress to your life.  If your schedule is so packed that you are saying “no” more and more often to your own family and to your own well-being (sleep for instance) and “no” to God, than maybe it is time to shake-up your schedule.  Or should I say blank out your schedule.

Here are some suggestions on how to start with that …

1) What are things that only you can or want to do?  Make those your priority.   I really don’t want someone else to be the main cook in our home.  I want my children to seek me out.  While I do sometimes miss the times where I used to volunteer, I would miss out on too much at home.  The organization can find more people – I don’t want my family to do without me.

2) Taking a break is okay.  (I need to tell myself this one A LOT).  Been volunteering in the nursery since you were 13?  Taking a few months off could be refreshing.  Just give the coordinator notice (I would like 3 months off please – when would be a good time to do this?)  Just make sure to go back if you promise that you will!  Unless of course they have replaced you – then you can find another place to serve instead.

3) Balance.  If your life is only about you and your family, you might get a bit self-absorbed.  But if you are all about helping at every available opportunity, you might as well sell your house and move into a mobile home. 🙂  Pray about which areas God would want you to serve, where God could use you the most.  Then go there.  But stay home for the rest.

4) Guilt.  Sometimes we can get involved because we feel guilty for saying “no” to a good cause.  Sometimes we do not join in because we feel guilty if we are gone from home.  There might be a season when your kids are really little when outside involvement will almost halt for awhile.  That is okay.  But do not feel guilty if you are a part of one organization (such as MOPS).  While guilt is supposed to convict us of sin, guilt should not be allowed to hang over us for other reasons.  We will never measure up to ideal, so we need to learn to not let that bother us.

5) Your family can miss you sometimes.   Really.  I need to remind myself of this one too.  I do need a break sometimes – I need to give my kids a chance to be glad that I am back home.  I need to pick which events are really the most beneficial for me.  For my family, if I am gone more than one night a week, life seems to fall apart, so that seems to be our balancing point.  But I do know if I do take that one night away, I come back a better wife  and mommy.

Almost every week day morning, my husband and I listen to Ron Hutchcraft on “My Bridge Radio.”  (If you are up between 5:35-5:40, I would highly recommend that you take the time to listen as well!  He uses stories and the Word to challenge and encourage faith.)  Yesterday his talk was about this very topic … not letting our service get in the way of seeking God.  You can read his devotional online here, but I enjoy listening to him even more (his voice is very soothing or something 🙂  ) If you take the time to listen to his short devotional, you will be blessed!