Means or ends?

A friend (who said I could share this if I referred to her as my "talented, beautiful, witty friend") sent me the following text earlier today:

"Do you get tired? You do so much. Mother. Wife. Girl on the Roof. Employees. Writing. Do you ever want to run away from your life? Or the responsibilities? I am trying too hard to do it all - keep all the balls in the air - and I get so tired. But you keep adding. I don't know how."

I responded with a series of cartoon emojis:



and then a groveling I GIVE UP!

But then I said, this:

"That 'I GIVE UP' feeling is always my response when I find myself trying to rely on my own energy to get through the day. I have found that God gives me more energy when I invest in other people. It seems counter-intuitive, but I guess it’s sort of a loaves-and-fishes thing. When I look up, I find myself a lot better oriented toward what God is calling me to do (and more comfortable identifying and declining that which He isn't calling me to do). When I feel anxious or resentful, I have learned that it’s because I am looking at myself."

Then I sent her this paragraph from Beyond Surviving (the work in progress): Sometimes we stumble upon the means in our lives and tragically forsake the ends. We were not created just to do work, run errands, respond to emails, volunteer at school, or even raise children. We were created to glorify God and to be in community with each other. What we perceive as responsibilities are simply means to those ends. Our to-do lists are God’s mechanism for putting us in community with others. Your job is not just your job; it’s a place where God has called you to be love and light.

My "smart, witty, captivating" friend then said:

"I wish you could compile this down to like 3 Greek words. I would get a tattoo of it.

I mean, who doesn't need a CONSTANT reminder of this? Seriously? What I do so easily slips from sacred work to an almost suffocating pile of tasks. The line is so blurred that I don't realize I've crossed it until I'm in a pit of selfishness."

Don't we all need to be reminded of this truth? Maybe instead of a tattoo, we should make an effort to welcome people into our lives who remind us of why we were created. Of course, that requires community, which is why God created us. Funny thing.

Carol Reeve Christian writer on women's issues

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