I can really get caught up in the doing. List must be made. List for home schooling. List for moving. List for grocery shopping. List of books I want to read and the important "to-do" list. And then, after you have written the list you must do the things on the list, so you can check then off the list. It is important to accomplish things. The children's education is important, we will be moving and everyone must be fed. Usually they like to be fed 3 times per day, go figure. I love home making. I could be very happy at home for a very long time. I love to stand at the counter and chop up vegetables, glancing outside the window to see the children playing. I'm social or I have developed the ability to socialize with other people, I even enjoy it, but I would be happy in my own little world. I could walk through a store and be so involved in my own little world that I completely miss the people around me, many of which are hurting.
So you can see reaching out to others is not my strong point. It is something I work at. It is not hard for me to put myself aside to "serve" my family. And I don't mean serve them, as in weight-on-them-hand-and-foot and cater to all their needs. I mean, using my time in doing things to make my home sweeter, to help them become the people Gods wants them to be. Things like read to them, cook for them and with them, study with them, read the scriptures with them, let young ones "help" me when it's really not convenient, make German chocolate cake from scratch on their birthday and greet them warmly even when I'm tired. For my husband and children this is not hard, but when it comes to others I often find myself lacking.
It's not because I don't think this is important. I think reaching out to your church family is an important way to encourage one another and reaching out the world is a commandment. In my Bible it's written in red letters and it is the last words spoken by the Savior before he ascends to heaven.
My sweet husband is the exact opposite of me. He is constantly on the look out for people to minister to in anyway possible. If he had his way, we would have company three times a week. I do regret we have not had people over more, those that have come, didn't seem to mind the small quarters we now occupy. If Sam finds someone at the store hurting or even willing to talk, he sets everything aside and spends the time needed with that person, even if it means the ingredient he was sent to fetch sit in his cart, while I push supper back and wonder where he is.
So it has gone on now for 14 years, me understanding and admiring his gift of reaching out and him understanding my focused mind and tendency toward solitude. He tries to ask me or give me notice before he invites someone over and I try to be more flexible when it comes to "serving" others. I try to make sure my Bible reading is not an item on the list to be checked off and that I put people on the list a lot more.
If there is one thing for which I feel ill prepared, it is being in a foreign culture and bringing people into my home. I found myself thinking of this often. I have images of a home were others are welcome at all times. I know this seems ludicrous to some, especially those in the ministry here in the States. You have to "protect" your family and your time with your family. I hear that, I do, I think it is tempered with wisdom. Still I can't get away from this thing, this calling, this "word from God". God has it worked out already, because I can't imagine how to work it out. I can't make a list for it. I can't make a schedule for it. God knows exactly what we need to do to reach out to the city of Jerez, I just have to be willing to step out of myself and follow his direction.
There is a place for quite refuge, for alone time, but it seems the modern day mantra of "I must take care of myself" has been terribly, humanistly distorted. Really our Bible teaches, and the example we are given in the life of Christ, is a life of dying to self. It is so easy to get so caught up in this world that we forget it is very temporary, solely a pilgrimage.
Our family is reading through the Bible together this year and it is giving all of us such broader picture. I encourage everyone to join us. It's still only January.