My heart is wrung by the images of refugees on the nightly news and the texts I receive from friends whose marriages are struggling, whose children are ill, and a world that doesn’t know the hope of Jesus. About four times a day I think, “I wish that I had time to…”, or “maybe next month we can support [insert ministry] more regularly.” Combine that with the daily demands of our busy home and I can quickly become overwhelmed. But I can also grow frustrated when my good-intentions go awry because I have over-committed myself.
How do I discern if I should make room for something new? How do I learn to admit when I have reached my capacity?
The Fall and Our Limits
As image bearers, we were created to tend the garden and “be fruitful and multiply.” Adam and Eve were created to care for the world that their Maker designed. As a daughter of Eve, the Fall can’t keep me from caring about the world, but the Fall does impact my ability to do it well. One of the curses of the Fall is that the work I do will be hard and difficult (Genesis 3). I also have physical limitations and a set number of hours in my day. I want to help and serve other image bearers but I can’t help everybody.
This weekend, as our family strolled down the aisles of Costco for our weekly rations, I was aware again of my limits. A quick review of my budget and freezer space forced me to prioritize my purchases. As I considered buying the ginormous bag of frozen broccoli, I remembered that our freezer is still jammed to capacity by the large box of mini bagel pizzas I bought in response to my rumbling tummy last week. That ignited a new trail of thought, “How often do I fill my life with momentary impulse buys that crowds out space and time for what is more important?”
With four kids, a church plant, and a full time job, I need to cut out activities or other investments that many of my neighbors are able to enjoy. Some of them are great, but often, we just don’t have room for whatever it is in our life. To add it on would be like overfilling my freezer and ruining everything inside.
Making Room for Kingdom Work
My husband and I regularly tell our children that we want to spend our time “doing Kingdom work.” The trouble for me is that there is plenty of Kingdom work to be done. Because the world is broken, there are many things that I would love to make room for. Sometimes this thought leads me to moments of despair, but other times, this reminder brings me to my knees. Over-stuffing my freezer also forces me to get on my knees and review the contents to assess what needs to be discarded.
Recently, I was at a conference where speaker Bob Goff stated, “If we keep making it about us, we aren’t making it about Jesus.” If my freezer continues to be filled with my favorite junk food, I am not leaving room for anything else. But what if my freezer is full of good things, like broccoli? What do I do about the other things that are still on my list? I should start with the broccoli. Many days, the broccoli is my family, and on other days, it is my neighbor, a friend, or someone in the church. I need to face the things that are right in front of me first— the tasks God has given me. Then, I need to pray about what to do next. I need to ask the Lord to direct me and give me discernment to know what else I ought to make room for in my life.
When Jesus came, he reminded his disciples of their calling to be fruitful and multiply. He told them to “go and make disciples,” but he did not just command them to that work. The command was sandwiched between a promise the He would be with them always, and that He had authority over heaven and earth (Matthew 28). When we live out His command, guided by His promises, we bring Him glory.
So this is why I pray. I pray as Jesus taught, that “His Kingdom would come.” I pray that I would be able to discern and see those things I am filling my day with that is crowding out what is more important. I pray that I will see the person that is “in front of me” and that I will spend my time fruitfully.
Waiting on God in prayer is a very active pastime. As the farmer is patient and trusts the Lord when he sows his field, we too ought to be intentional and engaged with the things of the Lord, trusting Him to be the One who brings the rain and the harvest. He is Lord over heaven and earth. He is Lord over my freezer and the filling of my days.
Meaghan loves her husband Paul, pastor of King’s Cross, a PCA church plant in Northern Virginia. They have four precious children. Meaghan began a MABS degree at RTS Orlando while her husband was completing his degrees. They have been in church ministry together for sixteen years. Meaghan currently works full time for The Good Book Company and enjoys exploring all of the wonders of the East Coast with her friends and family.