We cannot all do great things,
but we can do small things with great love.
To everything there is a season
and a time to every purpose under heaven.
It seems I am always fighting this finite-ness of time and energy and stuff. There is so much I want to do and as I write a little and garden a little and wait while a loaf of honey whole wheat bread rises on the warmth of the stove... it still doesn't seem like enough.
I wanted to do great things for God. I wanted to change the world. I wanted to grow all my own food and weave cloth and play a dulcimer and go to Israel and hike Alps to L'Abri with Stephanie. I wanted to write deep books that make people think and perhaps a poem or two or three and I wanted to embrace all that is Beautiful.
But the dreams of youth were awakened by the passing of years and the finite-ness of... everything. There were seasons with plenty of time and no money. Then there were seasons of abundance but everyone was too busy with everyday living. Just as Stephanie was old enough to appreciate Schaeffer's L'Abri... along came a surprise baby brother (albeit a nice surprise).
I truly believe eternity dwells within the heart of mankind (and womankind). We feel the frustration of limitations. Rarely are we satisfied with the time we have or the resources at our disposal. We were created in the image of the Eternal and have battled time since Eden.
So... my ponderings this week were a reminder to myself that I must spend time with Him... and perhaps write out some thoughts regarding what I want to do, what I need to do, what I have to do, and what can be accomplished given... limitations.
For I am certain God does not expect the impossible... the difficult, yes... but not that which can't be done. I cannot do it all. I found myself about a week ago with a cluttered house, too few things done on the "To Do" list, a lawn in serious need of work due to last year's necessary neglect, a garden to prepare weeks earlier than expected, not enough time to write, a host of e-mails and letters left parked with no attention, and that's just the stuff that needed to be done.
It was interesting how He finally got my attention and slowed me down to listen... a pulled muscle along with interesting reading about one of my favorite Christian leaders, Jonathon Edwards. I can't recall what exactly I read that gave me peace but I think it was just the atmosphere that came about by my reading... feeling myself inspired by someone like Edwards... which caused Wisdom to sift through my list.
The above verse in Ecclesiastes kept floating to the top of my thinking, reminding me that life comes in seasons and phases. Priorities shift with the days and months and years. Somehow He that is the giver of all Wisdom helps me sift through the list of all things to be accomplished and to prioritize them according to the day and the season. With it came... peace.
A week later the essential lawn work which is my responsibility has been accomplished. It looks pretty good if not perfect. Two of the raised beds are now hoed and raked and ready for hubby to mix in some compost as seedlings and seeds await their new home. However, the raised bed which won't be planted for weeks stands unattended, waiting it's turn in proper season.
There was even time available for a few Last of the Summer Wine episodes Friday evening and a couple Elizabeth George books perused Saturday night (her books are among those I reread for wisdom quite often). Each enjoyed after dinner was prepared and dishes were drying in their red Rubbermaid drainer.
A lesson learned this past week... I just can't do life without Him. It isn't possible. I'd be even more a mess than I am without God's guidance. I don't know why I'm surprised when He gives clarity in the midst of chaos. He tells us numerous times in His Word that we have but to ask for wisdom and it is ours. He reminds us there is a "time to plant and a time to harvest, etc.".
He knows we are made in His image to create and design and enjoy fulfilling work. He is well aware of our responsibilities, whether to bring home the bacon or to cook it (and for some people... both). He knows our longing to curl up with a good book or a favorite movie. He gets it. He wants to help and waits while we run around in circles.
Each day I have to ask for instructions for this twenty-four hours of my life. What is essential today? Given the season and my finite-ness... what must be done today and what can wait. How can I make time to fulfill my destiny as well as fill my soul with Beauty? How can I be true to the passion within, the God given desire of the heart? What can only I do, Lord?
Most of all, as the lovely quote from Mother Teresa reminds me... whatever I do must be done in love. Without it I am but a "clanging cymbal". The goal is not to check everything off my "To Do" list.
The goal is to accomplish the journey He has set before me and to serve Him by serving those He loves... my family, friends, and those He brings along my path. Sometimes that is easy to forget when the list is really, really long.