Leading up to the teacher’s weekend in Georgia, I was completely absorbed in what I was doing, how well I was doing it, and how long it was taking. That is an exhausting position to hold in life. During the first general session at Hartwell, sitting on those hard, metal folding chairs, the main speaker shattered my entire mass of things-that-must-be-done-perfectly-right-now-no-matter-the-cost. God cares about how I’m doing.
Mr. Brian used the example of the prodigal son. “God sees you as a child before he sees you as a servant.” When the prodigal son returned home, his father rejoiced. Most likely the following day the prodigal son went into the fields with his father and began working, but first his father just reveled in having a son – and the son in having a father.
God doesn’t love me for what I can manage to accomplish in 24 hours, but for my adoption into His family as a daughter.
When we left for the teacher’s institute on Thursday, I felt a cold coming on from somewhere behind my nose, in one of those facial passageways that doesn’t seem to exist until I’m sick. I secretly wished for the cold to put me under so that I could stay home for the weekend, lie on my sofa, and breathe. Life felt crazy and overwhelming.
We had a teacher’s meeting at school the Tuesday prior to discuss all the upcoming event. Most of the teachers emitted sighs throughout. Teacher’s Institute, revival meetings, PTM, school program, achievement tests, Kindergarten beginning, report cards – everything back-to-back, one right after the other.
And then over the weekend at teacher’s institute, we sat under the wise teachings of people who know the road of service and the exhaustion of giving and giving and giving. The main session speaker discussed the roles of the servant and the Master. The servant is a vessel for the Master – only a channel – receiving from God in order to pour out to others.
Before we were an hour into these teachings, I was grateful my cold hadn’t kept me at home.
God cares about how I’m doing.
I push into life with abandon. There is so much to do and so little time. I need to plan an art class for Friday, prepare my students for their part in the school program, get chicken out of the freezer for supper, cut off the dead grass plants, sweep the front porch, sign up to bring food to the chorus supper, wash my hair before church, respond to text messages, and ask my husband how his day was. As long as I get all of that done, God will be pleased because I’m working for him, and I’m managing it all. I’m mentoring children at school by day, running a smooth household at night, and showing up at prayer meeting on time.
But he cares about how I’m doing.
If I’m doing all these things, but hanging on by the skin of my teeth, he cares. He is standing by with what I need to fill my depleted store of strength. He is asking me to stop trying so hard to meet every need and be willing to receive instead – for my own sanity and peace of mind and to make me a better servant next week.
If I just keep pushing and striving on my own strength, I shoot myself in the foot. My service becomes useless. If I stop and allow Christ to fill me with his power – even if it means not contributing to all of the worthy causes that come up this week – my service becomes an outpouring of Christ rather than a desperate scrambling to please.
Two days after being reminded of this truth again, I already struggle to remember it and make it practical. We have entered a week of revival meetings – I’m excited and exhausted at the same time. I am prepared to scramble through this week so that I can make it to each evening of revival meetings. I’m prepared to sit on my front porch after school instead of trying to clean the house so that my heart is at rest when we drive to church. I’m prepared to pick up KFC for supper, let my to-do list slide for a while, enjoy the first sip of a hot latte each hazy morning, and ask God for his strength every minute of this week.
God cares about what I’m doing;
But He also cares about how I’m doing.