Sunday, June 11, 2017

Find what matters

I recently read a blog about busyness and was reminded of how much "craziness" affects my life. It's not just the missionary me, all our lives are in constant transition as our children grow and develop their own opinions, as we experience unexpected twists and turns to our finances, or the death of a loved one or the addition of a family member. How do we stay rooted in the midst of crazy? How do I reduce my stress level in the middle of chaos?

We push ourselves to the point of exhaustion on many levels. Americans are living in a culture where we don't take the time to rest and get refreshed. Even our vacations are so filled with activities that sometimes we return home and actually feel more tired than when we left! We take vacations because we want to get away from our normal life, from the day to day busyness of work, family, and responsibilities. Yet getting away from all that means we only have that much more to do when we get back! It's like a constant cycle of work, vacation, work and we are always looking ahead to when the next vacation will be and where, and how much it will cost. It's exhausting!!!

What is the cost of chaos in our lives? What does stress do to our physical bodies, our emotions, and our spiritual lives? When we are tired, we don't want to go to church, we don't want to be around people...or maybe we want to avoid our responsibilities and so we cram too much into our day so we can take our minds away from what is causing us stress. Or...maybe we are simply not engaged with the things we need to focus on and are filling our days with emptiness.

I recently read this and think it defines my life completely: Many of us feel stress and get overwhelmed not because we're taking on too much, but because we're taking on too little of what really strengthens us.

This is me! I am so overwhelmed by the things that don't give me strength, that I fail to have the energy to put into things that matter. Like prayer. Like service. Like my family. Like reading God's word.

George Mueller said in his book, Release the Power of Prayer, "The Christian Vocation is to be in prayer, in the Spirit, at the place where the world is in pain, and as we embrace that vocation, we discover it to be the way of following Christ, shaped according to his messianic vocation to the cross, with arms outstretched, holding on simultaneously to the pain of the world and the love of God."

I want to be engaged in the pain of the world along with the love of God. I want to make a difference. I want to shine and pursue and have purpose in what I do. I want to help my kids to understand that they are not entitled to a life of ease. I want them to find what matters, to invest in people and things that matter, to travel and serve others, and to find peace in the midst of chaos.