Tuesday, August 9

what if i just want to take a nap?

i like to help people. some of you who know me might think this is not true, but it is. i really do. especially people who are disadvantaged, hurting, over-looked. and i'm very thankful that i've found a lot of opportunities to do this in little rock.

teen mops comes with all sorts of people who need help and love. all the time. which is great, because i'm a stay-at-home mom and i have a lot of time and a relatively flexible schedule, so i can help them a lot. but i've thought a lot about boundaries lately. and i wonder how to draw the boundaries between helping and saying no because i'm really tired and need a break, boundaries between helping and enabling, boundaries between helping out of love and helping out of guilt.

Jesus told us to love others. He told us to feed the poor, clothe the naked, take care of orphans and widows. He told us to go the extra mile, to give the shirt off our back if we were asked for it. and i think He really meant those things. i want to live a life that is not attached to my things, a life that reflects a heart of service. i want hiba and matthias to see that jason and i love others with actions, not just with words or money in the offering plate. but it's hard. because sometimes i am tired. sometimes it is inconvenient. and sometimes i need a break.

there is one girl, j, who needs a lot of help in particular. she actually got a job this summer, which helped her a ton and made the requests go down, but she still always needs rides to get places, needs help getting food stamps, often needs to "borrow" money to get formula for her baby until her next wic check comes. and she never plans ahead. so this is how a phone call usually goes.

j: uh, hi. are you gonna be busy at 3 today?
me: (in my head): that depends on how you define busy. matthias will probably still be sleeping, which means i will either be watching some awesome show like grey's anatomy or sleeping on the couch and i don't particularly want to give up either of those activities, but i guess that's not really busy....
me: (out loud) well, i'm not sure. what do you need?
j: i need a ride to [insert something important here like pick up a check, go to the doctor, get food]
me: (in my head): crap. that seems more important that what i will be doing.
me: (out loud): uh, well. ok. i can come pick you up. see you at 2:45.
j: [hangs up the phone without really confirming our plans, so i'm not entirely sure what the plan is]

so now i have to re-arrange my morning plans so that matthias can go down for a nap early, even though i know he won't really go to sleep, so i can wake him up before he is ready which means he will be super cranky which means i will be super cranky which means we won't get to go to the pool which means hiba will be super cranky, but hey - i'm doing a good deed, right?

or am i? this is where i just don't know. Jesus took time to pray by himself. He fell asleep in a hurricane because he was tired (ok, maybe it wasn't a hurricane because i don't think they have those on the sea of galilee....). he clearly took time to be by Himself. which means that i should also be able to draw some lines, but saying no to take a nap just doesn't seem to be a good boundary. so where is the line between sacrificing your time and energy and saying no? or is there a line?

i don't really know where i'm going with all this. i don't have a grand point or conclusion. it's just something i've been thinking a lot about. so what do you think? what does Jesus mean when he says to serve and love others? is there room for boundaries in that call? or do we just always have to give up our nap?

1 comment:

Carol said...

I am quite certain this is one of the hardest questions to answer in life if you really want to serve others. I have no answers - just letting you know that I have some of the same questions.