I’ve started reading The Waiting Place by Eileen Button. And I can already tell. Six kindle “next page” pushes in (I wish I could convert it to page numbers), and I know. This book could change things, if I let it.
In a similar way, I could tell when I started reading Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker that the potential for change was there. First off, let me say that that Jen Hatmaker is a riot. I like her. We haven’t met, and I’m pretty sure she’s about 1200 miles away from me (how far is TX from here, anyhow?), but I like her. The book, well, I don’t know that I can say I liked the book. Let me first say, that Jen’s book, Interrupted: An Adventure in Relearning the Essentials of Faith, is a dynamo. Now, it might sound like a snooze-fest, despite the enticing words like “adventure”. I think they get washed away by the boring brush with words like “learning” and “the essentials” (sorry Jen!). I don’t even remember why I picked it up. Perhaps Heather recommended it
ASIDE: That might be a total and complete fabrication, but Heather & Jen should be friends, if they’re not already. They’re both funny, and on the same page. Again, not that I really know these people, but… vicarious living – the great triumph of the interweb. Thank you Bob Dole..
Either way, I did pick it up. And then I took the next logical step, and I began to read it. It took me nearly 2 weeks to read, which is a record for me. The Fountainhead, I can polish off in a mere 4 days, assuming I continue to eat & do laundry but not much else. But I took my time with Jen’s book, because she was speaking a truth to my heart that I had been wrestling with for some time, and I wanted to hear, to really hear, what that truth was saying. I wanted the change that the book talked about.
It is frustrating to me, 3 months hence, to sit here and write this and, upon examination of my life, find little of that change I so desired. Part of me thinks, “Well, I’ll just read it again.” But, as my wise childhood pastor said, and I now realize to be true, I have been educated beyond my level of obedience. I know what the changes need to be in my life, and I know how to make them happen, but I just… haven’t.
I haven’t really changed much at all. Sure, there’s a small extra weekly donation to our church’s initiative to start taking care of the “least of these” in our own community and in the world. And that’s a good start, it is. But it’s not enough. No one else is telling me that it’s not enough; it’s my heart that says I am capable of giving so much more. Now that we’re purchasing a new house (details later), I may not be capable of much more cash for the basket, but there are other ways to give.
The one thing I’ve held out on most is my time. I hate to give my time. No, scratch that, I hate to promise to give my time. Once I actually get around to doing as I promised (like the 2-year old room on Sunday mornings), I love to give my time. It’s the threat of an impingement upon my schedule which keeps me drawn back, keeps me from giving joyfully. When the idea pops into my head, “why not volunteer with _______ like you’ve wanted?” or, “Hey, someone should _______, why don’t you go do that?” and out pops the excuse master. Or perhaps he’s an excuse monger.
ASIDE: I love to use the word monger. Like fish monger, or peace monger. In 11th grade, I wrote a poem called War Monger, but I don’t remember what it was about.
Either way, Mr. Excuses becomes my middle name, and I talk myself out it.
“What if something comes up and I can’t?”
“I don’t want it to cut into my & H’s time, we only have so much…”
“I don’t know if I can keep up the level of commitment once school starts…”
“I’m pretty tired… someone else will probably take care of it”
You might not think that “meh” is a very convincing argument, but I’m embarrassed about the number of times it has been the deciding vote in me staying home rather than giving my time to help someone.
Welp, I’ve had enough. I’m tired of my crap! I don’t care if I’m tired, or if Handsome has to spend one of his nights off with the guys rather than sitting on the couch with me (a big sacrifice on his part, no doubt) I’ve got to get up and do something! I’ve got hands that work and legs to carry myself places, and that’s more than a lot of people. There are folks who need things, and I’m done sitting around getting, as H calls it, “Office-chair butt”.
And, in the midst of my self-inflicted crap-calling, as in, me calling me on my own crap… (sorry for saying crap so much, I’d get out my thesaurus to mix it up a little, but I’m not allowed to read those words), I want to say “No More!”. I want to say that I will get out there and do and help and serve and give, but I’m scared that I won’t. I don’t want to say I will and then not. Especially not on here, with all 14 of you readers looking on. I don’t want to lie.
So I won’t say “no more,” not just yet. I’m thinking it, though. I’m thinking it a lot. And I’m going to pray it, and probably even write it on a piece of paper and look at it every day. If you’d pray it too, that would be awesome. See, I know myself pretty well, and this method is 13% procrastination and 87% necessary process, so as to make a legitimate change this time, and not just feel changed. I know that God’s got greater plans for me than a couch and a bag of chocolate chips. Not that there’s not a time & a place for everything… its just that I’ve been on the couch too long.
Things are going to change, because I know God wills it. The part that remains to be seen is if I go willingly, or swinging. I can be a scrapper at times, but I’m hoping it’s the former, rather than the later option my stubborn self-serving will goes for.
My parent's church just got back from a trip to Haiti. To say their stories pull at the heartstrings is like saying that I enjoy a good slice of cheesecake once in a while; i.e.- a ridiculous understatement. If nothing else, check out the gallery and pray for these orphans. And then pray for me again, too, please. For their sake and mine, things need to change.
Exercising my "Do things you don't feel like doing" muscle,