What do you value? Working hard? Me too.
From one workaholic to another, I write this. Much to the chagrin of my friends, I'm sitting home on my couch, cuddled up with my dog, listening to the rain fall on our metal roof. I should be at church, but I certainly can't stand to sit in my chair and listen to so much basketball chatter, of which our church (and yours?) is overflowing with. But hey, sometimes you need to sit and listen to the rain and write about your life and cuddle with your dog. Life's too short, certainly, and this year is the first that I've chosen life over work. That certainly sounds false after I just told you I gave up life to feed my workaholic tendancies.
Truth is, I'm behind. Truth is, God is blessing my business like crazy. Like crazy. Like nothing I've seen before here or could have even expected. But he's also blessing my soul. He's been so faithful to walk with me and push me and provide me opportunity to grow and serve; something I prayed fervently for. For. So. Long. I would pray and pray and pray for somewhere(s) to grow and put to work my skills. To take my images, my love for children and my heart for people and just give to a place or a people that needs my ability; that can use me fully for the glory of our Father.
I joined group after group on some sort of non-profit-type adventure, only to find a group of folks just sitting and disinterested in really serving. And letting big-idea, crazy people come in and serve alongside them. More interested in board sitting. You know what I'm talking about: "I'm on the so-and-so board and we do sooo much for this community. We are just the greatest." Sounds good on the surface until you find out that the thing they're really the greatest at is taking home their six-figure paycheck and living within the 64 rooms of their home. Safe. Safe away from folks who need served and loved and befriended. Safe away from things that are uncomfortable and scary and that make us uneasy. Messy, sinful lives filled with sin, disease, what's left of bad decisions, unfortunate circumstance - you name it. Lives just as messy as ours, but less polished. So yea. Board sitting. That isn't for any of the bones in my body.
Guess who's board sitting, y'all? This girl! Maybe not sitting. More like legs crossed, mind spinning, twitch in my eye that stems from the ideas in my head and the need I've seen and tucked away in my heart all-board-meeting-long. The Dorman Preschool Center just jumped into my life. With the help of an amazing Leadership Shelby class, we planned a carnival fundraiser and I challenged an awesome man that leads the center to back up for a second and let me try my hand at leadership, unchecked. Thank goodness for his smiling at me instead of rolling his eyes, and not turning me away or limiting me like all the other doors I tried to knock on. That has made all the difference. My life has flipped upside down and been emptied over and over again since August, when the carnival planning began. It was the easiest thing I've ever done. But you know what wasn't? Understanding why the Lord threw me in a preschool (hello! I didn't even like kids when I moved here) that serves special needs children by pairing them in classrooms with typical children. Special needs - my, oh my! Used to scare my socks off. Still breaks my heart, but mostly has taught me so much about ability and love. And living outside your capacity. And that difference can transcend anything if we choose for it to.
This week I taught at three different schools - one was a usual teach, another a complete honor and the last was the sweetest adventure of sharing Africa and special needs with high school kiddos. But as I spoke, I learned much about the hard work I've put in without blinking and the life I've missed out on a bit. This week alone I met with three brides, shipped 10 orders, flipped the window and shop display, vacuumed countless times and toned just over 1000 images. I twitched through a board meeting, painted walls with bible study friends, made things for my home, stayed up too late laughing with my dear friend only to wake up to early to share breakfast with another. I surely didn't drink enough water, sleep enough or clean my home enough, but I surely lived outside my capacity. I felt alive in taking the opportunity that presented itself. Finally.
I see God's hand over and over and over again, because I'm choosing, daily, to let Him lead and choosing to seek Him continually. He's given every good thing in my life. He's flown me to Africa to break my heart, He's given me quiet time in the mornings to read His word and restore my soul, He's given me the Dorman Center and the love that grows in me each day for the babies and ladies there. He's taught me to take dreams and turn them into dos. He's teaching me to buy plane tickets and just go. I'm learning to choose life and friends over work. To make homemade muffins for the bake sale, because doing it right is worth the extra time away from my desk. To present and complete the big idea, but only if I'm going to put in the most effort leading with integrity. Because there will always be dirty dishes (especially at my house!), there will always be more work, there will always be tomorrow for getting things done, but the opportunity I'm given to serve and love, I'm given because it's where God wants me. He's teaching me to value the things he values and to love the people he loves. Valuing people and serving over working constantly.
Are you waiting for your dishes to be washed and your home to be neat before you go and do and serve and get your hands dirty? Before you ask that person you watch walk by your office daily how they're doing? Before you get involved in a project? Before you give up the life of a board-sitter and change into a board-riot-inciter? Before your raise your hand to help? Why? Why aren't we making time and choosing living over the routine of work? There are only so many tomorrows.