She had recently given birth. No family close by. Certainly she was worthy of a casserole or at least a big pot of spaghetti. I know how much a warm dish on a night when you have nothing left can comfort a tired soul. Finally, the guilt that I wasn’t being a good servant and neighbor overwhelmed me. I opened the email and scrolled down, clicking on the link to add my name and chosen dish.
But my fingers rested on the keys and I felt a pause in my spirit. I didn’t have time for this. My own kids were coming in every few minutes asking what we were having for dinner. One that I hadn’t even begun thinking about.
This is the moment I’ve taught myself to take. The moment where I weigh whether I can commit or not. Because it’s all good stuff.
I can easily say no to time wasted watching mindless television, shopping, or sailing the pages of Pinterest in pursuit of my dream kitchen or smoky eye tutorial. What I struggle with is prioritizing the good stuff.
Time spent investing into friendships online and off.
Time spent serving by bringing meals, volunteering, or helping a friend out.
Time spent exploring books with my kids even as my eyes droop low and tired.
Time spent holding my husband’s hand and sitting through that movie even though I’d rather be reading or writing.
Time spent in solitude, soul spread wide open to God, still and waiting.
Time spent moving this body although lumbering and awkward till the blood floods my face and my heart thuds happily.
Time spent with my head stuffed deep into the pages of a novel, a history, a book of theology, or a memoir soaking in the goodness of God’s truth, evident anywhere beauty dwells.
Time following the steps of this God sized dream, time writing.
Time spent investing my voice in things I’m passionate about.
All these good things. And I always have the best intentions. The desire to do it all.
But I can’t and the things I drop, thud to the ground viciously and I never want my children to be broken by my clumsiness. And how easy they bruise when I think I can serve everyone else. I never want to lose hold of my marriage or my God in the doing of good things.
So I need this. This moment to stop and push back on the expectations of a good Christian woman.
I don’t serve in children’s ministry at my church even though they could use the help. I don’t bake casseroles for everyone and I didn’t add my name to the list.
I don’t sign up for every good thing. And some may think this is selfish. That I am not sacrificing enough or serving enough. And that’s a hard place to be for a good Christian woman.
We judge by deeds and service. We all do. But I know that these moments are between God and I. I know God knows my heart and I only answer to him for my time spent and my deeds done.
It’s easier to be Martha, flustered in the kitchen preparing and serving in the most obvious way. A good hostess showering her esteemed guests with hospitality. A good thing.
And if I’d been in that kitchen and seen Mary plopped down at the feet of Jesus, I probably would’ve wondered why she wasn’t serving God. After all, the rest of us signed up for the meal train or as Sunday school helper.
So, I say no sometimes. It hasn’t really gotten easier.
I still feel the need to explain when my name is absent from the roster. I often feel the urge to account for my time and make sure the things I do are factored into my absence. But that’s just my pride and it can always use a good smoosh. So I push it down, and go on with my life one decision at a time, hoping that in that margin, God will lead me into all His good things.
This week Holley challenged us to think in terms of what we need to give up or say no to in order to pursue our God sized dreams. Are there good things you’ve needed to step back from in order to pursue what God has called you to? Share in the comments or link up your own God sized dream post over at Holley Gerth’s blog.