A year ago life was family, work and getting used to the school run. That seemed pretty full-on then, now that feels leisurely!
It feels like every so often God has raised the bar and then given me the capacity to reach it. Suddenly though my diary commitments seem to have gone exponential.
I’m reading at every opportunity: baptism, prayer, leadership and a book you may have heard about called the Bible. I have so many thoughts weaving in and out of my consciousness.
Then there’s those opportunities that God seems to be sending my way. I now lead a home-group and meet with a Spiritual Director every so often. I try to meet with my Prayer Triplet occasionally too and will be meeting with my vicar as he invests his time in mentoring me (see The Ministry of Doubt).
Let’s not forget some of the essentials. A wife, son and daughter need me to be there for them. I have to work to pay the bills. The house needs attention too.
I’m not boasting or saying that I’m super-spiritual and a model to follow, far from it. I’m just struggling with understanding how my life went from being busy to “whoa, how’s that all going to fit in”?
This week the pressure of so many things going on in my family’s life has set off the warning lights. There are simply not enough hours in the day to do everything, or at least to do everything well. I am in danger of spreading myself too thin.
I was supposed to have met with my spiritual director this week but knew it wouldn’t be a productive use of our time. The books I am reading are on one hand providing the answers to some questions and on the other hand they are highlighting new issues that I will need to wrestle with. Essentially, I realised that I need to finish reading the books on baptism and prayer before I meet.
So whilst postponing the meeting means that I won’t be able to use it to prepare for my meeting with the DDO next week, it will mean that when we do meet I can hopefully answer the questions I haven’t been able to through reading, conversing or praying.
My wife and I have also realised that some of the things we wanted to get involved in, some that we had said we would get involved in, will have to go on without us. Having been blessed through marriage mentoring ahead of our wedding we were keen to be able become marriage mentors ourselves. When the opportunity came, when our church reinvested in that ministry, we were exited. Now that excitement has turned to a painful disappointment as we realise we cannot give the time needed to do that ministry and the couples justice.
It isn’t just God who answers with a yes, not yet or no, sometimes we have to as well. Maybe marriage mentoring is a ‘not yet’.
With each opportunity that has come my way I have tried to discern God’s will. Sometimes it has been clear I need to say no, others less so. It is as though God is testing my willingness to do as He commands, as well as my ability to trust that He will provide all that I need for the tasks ahead.
In the chaos and noise of our busy lives it can be all to easy to look sight of what is important. Sometimes we need to be taken to the edge to be able to see what God’s and our priorities are or should be.
Right now the path towards ordination is my main focus. I am being prepared for a future and as yet undefined role; if something doesn’t help me on that path it may have to go. Marriage mentoring is one of those things, for now at least, it could be a ‘not yet’.
It feels like I am being horribly selfish and self-centred but maybe in order to serve others I have to be serve my own path first.
As I return to the joy of delving deeper into prayer and baptism I am left with one burning question: should I have said no, not yet or yes to the School Governor opportunity? Whatever the answer is I am praying that God will provide me with what I need to do that position justice and use that role in preparing me for the future.
Oh, and I’m praying to hear God speak directly to me and through others, books, and plain life. Clarity would be good as well. Discerning God’s will, best not forget that.
There’s always one more thing, it’s a good job God doesn’t mind.