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I've spent a lot of time pondering why many of us are too busy. I devoted two chapters in my book listing the reasons we do so much. But lately I've come to realize some of my assessment of people's hyperactivity has been uninformed and unfair; there's another, more noble reason some of us over-commit and over-do: there is simply no one else willing to do what needs to be done. At least, not in plain view.
Even though I'm presently trying to juggle being a wife, mother, homeschooler, housekeeper, minister, speaker and writer, I am also extremely tempted to take someone into our home for the simple reason that she has no place to go. Even though my husband and children are 100% on board with it, I know for a fact this would raise some eyebrows, shake some heads and wag some tongues. I can hardly blame anyone for feeling I need to have my brain extracted and rewired.
I am holding back on this decision because I'm aware that my heart can easily rush beyond my head when it comes to rescue. My heart reasons, if I came across an abandoned baby on the road, would I leave it there? How is this situation any different? (It's not.) My mind answers back, Don't even think about it. This is a high maintenance case; your life will fall apart. I keep telling myself to listen, as sometimes I am right about things.
I don't know what our family is going to do with the situation before us, one we can't just walk away from and pretend isn't there. But I do wonder if there are two kinds of people in this imbalanced world: those who do too much, and those who do too little. And when it comes to the church, if more of us would turn our scripture quoting and Bible toting into James 1:27-action and actively care for orphans and widows, maybe there would be more solutions for people like the one my heart can't let go of. Maybe MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) groups wouldn't stress so much over finding childcare volunteers, and church nurseries and Sunday Schools would see more than the same few willing faces every Sunday. Maybe more homeless people would get hot showers and meals, and more troubled teens would find the love and acceptance they so desperately need from foster parents. More orphans would be adopted, more lonely neighbors invited to dinner and more elderly treated with the dignity of family care in their waning years.
I am a well-intended hypocrite. I type these words while a world cries "more," knowing I'm giving less than I could and should. I give too much time where it's not needed and not enough where it is. I want to do better, to be better.
I often hear, "How do you do it all?" As someone else wisely answered the same question, "I don't." I say "no" a lot. And for what little I do, I get lots of sleep, eat well, exercise and saturate my hours in prayer. I absolutely depend on God to keep from unraveling. That second-paragraph list of things I am and things I do? It's not a brag list. I selfishly wish I could settle into my comfort zone and be "just a mom," fully living out my homebody self. But it's not my life to live. I know God will keep giving me the grace to stay in balance, and do His will joyfully.
What about you? How do you "do it all?" Where should you say "no" and where can you say "yes?"
(Update 3/25/13: The situation resolved itself and there is no longer a need to consider a live-in arrangement. I am relieved and at peace, and thankful to God for working it out.)