It seems as though my life is one long line of confliction – I think nowadays it’s called ambivalence. I am and have been conflicted about so many things. I’ve been conflicted about big things such as who I am, what I want, where I’m going, what my calling in life is. I’ve been conflicted about lesser things such as should we buy a new(er) car, what color sto paint the living room, what to do with clothes that still fit and are fine but no one wears, where to store the mixer, what to do with all the birthday cards I’ve ever received, and on and on.
Spending time in third world countries and witnessing the desperate poverty in which much of the world lives, only to come back to the world of wealth and decadence in which we live increases my sense of ambivalence. How then should we live? How do I justify a gorgeous house with comfy couches and all the latest gadgets when that money could be used to feed many hungry kiddos? Seriously, I’m stressing about the color of my walls when millions of mothers would be so grateful to have four walls to protect their little ones? I’m stressing because the cheesecake cracked when millions would be so grateful for a bowl of rice even once or twice in one day? I quickly feel paralyzed by it all. How to reconcile the reality of the world that is out there and the fantasy that is my world?
Now for the confession. I struggle with meeting the needs (or are they wants?) of my own family because any little thing I do to make us more comfortable just seems so selfish. And now that sounds just down-right prideful right there. Oh my, I think we have a problem. Is all of this nothing but false humility? Has the enemy been having a heyday with my feelings and emotions? Has he achieved his goal of drenching my soul in false guilt? I don’t know! I think I’m even conflicted about this. Maybe I should talk to a wise woman. Or my husband. Or both. Or none of the above.
Or maybe… I should talk to God. Hmm… I wonder what He would say?
I just think there must be a delicate balance in reconciling these two worlds. Do I know when I have enough and when I’m living in excess? Am I doing for my own family what I would do for a family halfway around the world?
My mind goes to Romans 12 as it does so often lately. It’s a matter of sacrifice, is it not? I must be aware that everything the Master has entrusted to me could be required of me at any moment. Do I hold it loosely? Does it possess me or does He possess it? What does He require of me? To give everything back to Him, and to remember that none of it was mine to begin with. It has only been entrusted to me to use well and to bring an increase.
I pray that God will give me wisdom and insight as I the balance meeting the needs of my own family and also giving what I am able to alleviate the suffering of those around the world. He has been showing me that as I fully engage in the needs of my family He will multiply the opportunities for our family to reach out together. It becomes less of a balance between two worlds and more of a continuum as we move toward a life of wholehearted service, using what God has given us to be a blessing to others. Let me not lose sight of this!
End note: With the help of God and wise counsel I have been able to recognize that this line of thinking has come from believing the lie for many years that if I only did for my family, I was selfish. While there is some truth in that, I realized this had become more than that, to the point where if I did anything more for my family than necessary, I would feel like I was being selfish. God has been doing a great work in my heart and with His help I am moving toward what this should really look like.