For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to change the world.  Maybe not so much change the world, as somehow matter in it.  Or maybe even more specifically, to have mattered to someone.

A friend told me recently that in a large group setting a speaker asked how many in attendance could list the names of their great-grandparents.  In a huge mass of people, only two raised their hands.


What is mattering in a space where you’re most likely forgotten in just two generations, even by your own ancestors?  I oscillate between thinking this is terrifying and freeing.  If no one’s gonna remember you in two generations, might as well wear those comfy brown sandals with black pants, right?

Nerdy clothing choices aside (both now and in the past), this desire to matter is what led me to teaching.  In my small-town, many of the adult women who I saw working for a paycheck in a way that daily made a difference were teachers.  While this desire to make a difference, this desire to matter has led me to good things, it has also time and again shoved me into a state of numbness as I try to somehow achieve myself into mattering.  

In the last two-and-a-half weeks I’ve enjoyed teaching, meeting my new students, developing my classroom rapport, but outside of those class meetings, I’ve really missed the boat.  It’s like I’ve been zombie-ing through my days.  I’ve been tired.  I’ve been grouchy.  I’ve been annoyed at toilet paper rolls that don’t re-fill themselves.  I haven’t made time to create anything, let alone write a blog post.  Not that I have to be writing to matter, but my desire to create has always been a huge barometer that lets me know just how far I’ve wandered from God.

I know that when working full time I won’t be able to blog to the extent I have this summer.  That’s just a reality of commitments and hours in the day.  But. . . I know that just because I’m busy, that doesn’t mean that I’m truly living.  If the task list is loud enough I can’t hear anything else–let alone the sound of God knocking at the door.  What if I left a good friend standing outside my house knocking on the door for two weeks?  Wouldn’t all of my in-house activity seem silly?

I wonder if while I’ve been busy planning, grading, tasking, tasking, tasking, if God hasn’t been quietly there knocking, almost chuckling, saying, “Look at my precious Evi. . . there she goes again, spinning herself up, when only one thing is really required.”  I hope that God sees some progress in these fits and starts that make-up my life.  I want my relationship with Jesus to be so much more than a big re-set button that I keep hitting as I ask for forgiveness again and again.

I’m starting to wonder if the real superheroes aren’t the ones who are run ragged with trying to do the best they can.  I wonder if God goes, “There’s a SuperOne,” when we put all of those to-do’s in their proper place and take time to stop, take a breath, and answer the door.  God won’t just show up and distract me from the requirements with my life.  God will hang out and help out, if we’ll only quiet ourselves enough to realize the fun, enlivening, challenging, mind-blowing grace-filled, thought-provoking, heart-stirring, peace-enduing, ever-faithful friend quietly knocking, just waiting to come in.

saying no to say yes

“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” Genesis 3:6

I was pregnant the first time the Kirby Vacuum salesman came to my house. He had every sales-strategy in his arsenal as he built a convincing case for his dirt-ridding miracle machine. Prior to his visit I was content with the tidy/lived-in nature of my house, not at all in the market for a new vacuum.
“Do you really want your new baby crawling around in this filth?” he said in his final and most bold sales pitch.
God bless my husband who said laughingly, “I used to play in the dirt, and I turned out just fine.” Even with this comment to lighten the mood, I felt bad saying no, like I’d done something wrong. I wanted to say yes.
Eve seems to have the same problem.
Like Eve, I look around at what is pleasing, what I see as good and desirable and fill my life to the brim. My natural tendency is to add thing after thing to my already-overbooked calendar, until I find myself screeching into the end of each day. I commit to things that are not aligned with the ultimate way I want to spend my life. Notice that word spend? Just as in our finances, stewardship is needed with our time.
Saying yes is a good thing. But just because something is good does not mean that we should do it. Even Jesus said no. He didn’t equate business with virtue. Stopping to preach at every town would have been good, yet Jesus was focused on his calling, willing to say no. Jesus had a different pace in mind, and I wonder how God sees his children when they’re run-ragged with an over-booked life.
Sometimes it is only when we’ve courageously said no that we can truly say yes.