Last week while hanging out with some friends, we discussed whether God had called us to a specific missional ministry here in Greeley, as opposed to the possibility that our desire for such a ministry had manufactured its own calling. Tammy said something during that discussion that I’ve thought frequently: “Some days, all I can handle is my kids and managing our day – just getting through the day.” That’s a paraphrase, but it’s close.
She preceded that comment with an expression of appreciation for my wife, Renee, and her frequent attitude of skepticism and “slow-cooking” kind of thought processes. Renee has 10 kids, Tammy has 2, as Tammy mentioned, and many days Tammy is overwhelmed. Renee is definitely overwhelmed most days and just managing the day is a common mantra at our house. It’s important to just break the demands down to the immediate and urgent (sometimes important) issues just to see a clear path for navigating the constant demands. Most days, the stuff that can be put off to tomorrow has to be put off, just for survival’s sake. Consequently, Renee (and Tammy, and all of us, really) is usually skeptical when someone is suggesting a commitment to more. No one blames her, and yet no one really lets her off the hook.
What’s up with this over demand for our time and energy? What’s up with the lack of hours and the constant barrage for more, more, more? Movies, books, schools, parents, bosses, pastors, leaders . . . God – always asking for more, bigger, better, faster!
And yet . . . we want more. We know it’s right. We’re driven. By what? A calling? I hope so. The only thing that could justify a response to this demand for more would be a God who knows the roles for which we’ve been designed. He knows our capacity. He knows our best use, our right effort, our optimal activities. God sets the bar high, calls us – builds us – to attain it, continually corrects our path, and expects us to reach it, and that’s what we truly desire. We long for it: to be superheroes, to say the right things all the time, to be the most efficient, most productive for the Kingdom, to be all that we can be, to live the abundant, overflowing, savior kind of lives.
God wants it, we want it, the world wants it. But most days, we only want to crawl in our little holes with our little worlds and say, “God, this is all I can handle today. The rest will have to be your responsibility.” Ignore the phones, the email, the neighbors, the co-workers, the mail. Ignore everything but three square meals, the diapers and the laundry. Take a day off, maybe two. But it never lasts.
The God who built us for abundance, built in some kind of anti-contentment-with-small-things system. As much as we appreciate the possibility of low standards, even though there are days the lows are too high, we want the abundant life. God is responsible for all of it, really, and he’s more than capable, but he’s calling us to step into the roles for which we’ve been made. As much as we get frustrated with him, especially on the hard days, we really just want to be where he wants us to be. We know that’s the best place.