Oh Christ, do not give me tasks equal to my powers,
but give me powers equal to my tasks,
for I want to be stretched by things too great for me.
I want to grow through the greatness of my tasks,
but I shall need your help for the growing.
E. Stanley Jones
My ponderings this past week have been on the opposite sides of emotions... the joy which came with joining our family in exploring new sights and sounds and tastes... and the frustration with intense fatigue that always follows such a trip.
When one lives with distractions which keeps them from going about their tasks without discouragement... chronic illness, financial lack, not enough free time, family members, bad weather, difficult circumstances, outside the home commitments, anything and everything which all of us experience from time to time... we are tempted to just sit in the recliner with our feet propped up and a hot drink at our side.
For instance, our return coincided with the need to prepare the deck for cold weather and once it was complete, I decided to accomplish just a little seasonal cleaning inside the house. With my "a little at a time" way of doing extra housework, I cleaned the dining table with wood soap (Murphy's) and gave it two coats of lemon oil and a good buffing. It took hours...
But... I was so inspired by how nice it looked that I brought the box containing fall decorations inside and created an autumnal centerpiece as well as placed a few favorite seasonal items around the house. Just getting that much accomplished seem to be the catalyst to bringing the autumn dishes down from their perch on the top shelf of the kitchen cabinet, ready to create pretty tablescapes September through November.
I wish I could write that this all came easily to me emotionally. As usual (and I don't know why I have not conquered these feelings), I ask myself why I'm bothering with all of this. Why make the table shiny and create centerpieces and place the seasonal china within easier reach for spur of the moment use? After all, I am so tired that the thought of cooking special meals and inviting friends over is at the bottom of my priority list.
Hmmm... why bother spending hours perusing cookbooks and my favorite stack of food magazines when I don't feel well and finances are tight. Why decorate the house so it is seasonally pretty if it is just for the two of us? Why cut pretty white flowers (which are actually weeds) and place them in a blue vintage Ball jar and set it in a corner of the family room when I alone may notice it?
Well, besides the fact that we should have Beauty around us even if we live alone... creating and doing instead of sitting and grumbling are a form of spiritual warfare. I know how I tend to draw energy from an inner Source (that being God working within!) to do that which he is calling me to accomplish.
He is not asking me to move to deepest darkest Africa or the slums of a major world city to preach the Gospel and take care of the poor. He certainly is not telling me I must run a marathon, turn the entire back yard into a garden, or even become a chef as I once wanted to do. He is not asking me to do the impossible given chronic illness and circumstances.
However, He is not letting me just sit down and watch TV and have a pity party. Not the One who is always teaching me and encouraging me and wanting me to draw outside the lines. No, He breaks through the emotional gloom and cloudy thinking to give me ideas... creative ideas... longings for Beauty and knowledge and the realization that His mercies are new every morning.
I have come to realize that He never wants me to stop growing and He gently nudges me to do more than I think I can. Actually, more that I can without His help. Like going on the trip to Williamsburg when I didn't know how I would have enough energy (both hubby and I almost declined the offer). How many wonderful memories I would lack if I hadn't said yes and depended on the One Who Created Me to accomplish everything from planning to packing to participating.
I know as I write down a new recipe to try, get all the dishes ready for a nice dinner or tea time with friends, attend a cooking class to learn more, take pictures of tea time pretties to attempt at home, plant my small garden, pull out my sewing machine to try something new, etc... it is all done in FAITH that the One who has given those desires to create this year will also provide the wisdom and strength to do so.
When you decide you will not fear or doubt but you will do... that you will follow the Godly desires He places within you for beauty and creativity and order and family and friends... then from your home you have shed light into the darkness of an imperfect world.