THE TAKE AWAY
God is Sufficient
By Kersley Fitzgerald
I am not sufficient.
A year ago, two different friends moved in to town so that family could help with their kids as their husbands deployed. Christine, whom we hadn't seen in over a decade, showed up at church several Sundays before I saw her and recognized her. Amy, we knew was coming and had actually seen a month before at their new assignment.
In the last year, I haven't seen Christine except at church. I haven't seen Amy at all.
The worst part is, I know how horrible a friend I've been because I went through the same thing. When Dev was deployed, exactly one friend had us over for dinner — and she was our next-door neighbor. Tons said they'd call and never did.
My backyard is even more abandoned than my friends. Grubs and drought have killed the grass — heck, it killed the dandelions! Our trees were irrevocably damaged in a wind storm, but only one's been chopped down; the other just looks sad with half of its branches bare and dead. I killed the mint. The blackberry bush is doing well, but last year it only gave us about twenty berries. The rhubarb has already bolted. The only plants that are thriving are the wild pansies, which pop up in the rocks, and the rose bushes, which are so hardy they will nourish the roaches after the bomb drops.
And then there's the fort. JT and I started building it two years ago. Its walls are still painting tarps, stapled to the frame. We have plans! We have plans now to put in real walls. It's my hope that we finish before JT gets too tall to use it.
What else? I couldn't be there when my sister had her baby. I never visited my friend in Mississippi, and now she's in Turkey. I don't have time to go to Dev's softball games.
The only reason I've seen the inside of the gym in the last three months is because that's where our church meets.
Pathetic, I know. Several months ago, one of the elders' wives asked if I'd cook a meal for a friend. "Or do you not do that kind of thing?" she asked, truly with all grace.
"Cook?" I asked, completely misunderstanding the subcontext. "I can cook. I just don't have time."
It wasn't until recently that I told her I have two jobs and a look of understanding flooded over her face.
Yes, two jobs (one big and one little). Two volunteering gigs. Two boys at home. And, really, sadly, very little time to see my friends outside of small group.
Bemoaning my failings to Dev one night, he brought up the time issue. Which just brought more conviction because if I couldn't take care of everything, obviously I wasn't being a good steward with my time. Which made me ask God, "What am I supposed to cut out so I can do what You have for me?"
To which He answered, "You tell Me."
I thought about it. "Everything feels like what You want me to do, and almost everything I really enjoy. I can't think what I should cut."
To which He said, "Can you think of one thing you should be doing that you're not?"
Dev would have got this one in a heartbeat, but it took me a while.
To which God said, "Ya think?"
Once upon a time, way back in the long-ago, when I was just starting to run track, I was racing in a miler or a two-miler with another teammate. She got a Charley-horse in her leg. I stopped and offered to help her get back. She told me to keep running (I was very new at racing). This really brings to mind Hebrews 12:1b: "...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." We tend to look at that verse with a vague sort of feeling of inadequacy. But tonight, the last five words catch my attention: "that is set before us." Our world is criss-crossed with "races," but only one of them is ours, and that is the only one we're supposed to run.
Turns out, my sister's mother-in-law was an absolute brick in the delivery room and after. We're waiting on the backyard until a friend has time to chop down the tree — for free — and then we do have a plan. And this Sunday, when I tried to talk to Christine, she was always surrounded by people, so involved in conversations I couldn't get a word into edgewise. As for working out? Actually, maybe that's part of that "rest" God was talking about.
I am so not sufficient to meet all the needs I see around me. I'm not even sufficient to live my own life! As long as I stay abiding in Christ so that He can show me which race I'm supposed to be running, I know He'll carry me. But there is no need for me to run what He hasn't given me. He's got it covered.
Image Credit: sean dreilinger; "rachel returns to her high school cross-country race course"; Creative Commons
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