Less of Me
Forty-Five minutes ago my whole plan for the day got screwed up. I had every hour accounted for, right up till bedtime. After putting the boys on the bus I was going to zip to Kickboxing, hit Walmart for a new iron, get home in time to get Tom lunch, work on the drapes I’m sewing while the kids were napping, prep for Awana, do homework with Liam, serve an early dinner, be at church early for a meeting, lead worship & lesson for the Sparkies, get the kids home by 8:30 and into bed. Full day, like everyday. Busy, but I love it.
Well, it all went to pot because now I am drinking my 3rd cup of coffee, wandering around the house with my gut in a knot. I can’t do anything but pace and pray. And now write it all out and hope I can find some peace.
You see... Tom & I have a next door neighbor we’ve only ever seen in his driveway coming and going to work. No friends, no family. I’ve occasionally thought, “What a sad, lonely life.” I’ve intended on flagging him down and saying “Hi” a million times, but I mostly kept my head down because my kids are so loud and probably annoy him. Then we noticed a few months ago we never really see him anymore, and discussed how we would go over and connect with him. Y’know, bring him veggies from the garden, introduce our kids, apologize for our screaming, etc.
The problem is, a strange man approached me at the bus stop this morning, and told me my neighbor Lenny died. He had been battling cancer, had stopped working and been in a shut in for a long while. How sick is this: I didn’t even know his name was Lenny.
How could I?! I failed my neighbor, and I failed my God. The Spirit was leading me, and I put it off for a tomorrow that will now never come. I can name a dozen people who would never have let this precious opportunity pass, and yet I did. I am berating myself and hating myself, and ashamed of myself. What is the greatest commandment again? Love your neighbor as yourself? Wow. I feel like such a fake, shallow, jerk. A total failure.
I confess my self-absorption and pride in all I “do” got in the way of what God really wanted me to do. I missed the chance to share the love & hope of Christ with a man desperately in need because I really like my house to be neat, and well, there is always tomorrow. I am very busy today. I say “Jesus Take the Wheel”, but really…. who is planning my day? Me. And I really, really do not like interruptions.
Please Father, forgive me. Please give me a heart for the brokenhearted, please open my eyes to see those who need You. I want to change my priorities from the narrow scope of those in my circle to see the world out there that is desperate, depressed, alone, sick and so in need. Having a tidy lawn and full extra-curricular schedule can’t be why you put me on this earth. Please help me. Please change me. On my own I am a selfish jerk, but with You in me I can be so much more. Not DO so much more; but BE. Be a friend to the friendless, be family to a shut-in, be a person always willing to put others needs before my agenda.
I hope that in sharing my failure and missed opportunity, you won’t miss yours. When the Spirit is tapping you on the shoulder sending you out, GO NOW. We were not given faith, hope & love so that we could just keep it like a nice family heirloom. We’ve got to give it away.
Hey, I’m Stef. I am a girl who began really loving Christ as a bright-eyed teen, and somehow this whole “serious adult life” has sprung up around me. I find myself striving to stay connected to the passionate dreamer I once was, the one who truly believes God has great, GREAT plans in store. It’s sometimes tough when your career has requirements such as; policing potty words, being the gatekeeper of the wii, and interpreting the speech of a chronically sobbing 2-yr old. Yet, in the beauty of the mundane I do see His great plans, and I know He is using me to change the world.
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