I have six kids. Four are still at home, and we homeschool them. Three of them are teenagers and require all the time and emotional energy this season demands. With just the responsibilities inside these four walls, I hardly have time to keep us in clean underwear and fed.
I don't have time to write. I don't have time to teach. I don't have time to speak. I don't have time to plan a women's retreat. I don't have time to visit with friends over the phone or coffee. I don't have time to help my neighbors.
To commit to all these "extra" tasks and more seems irresponsible with my current plate full to overflowing.
Responsibility. It's such a responsible sounding word. Responsibility is a high value in our culture. To make irresponsible decisions is highly frowned upon. Control. Safety. Order. These are all maintained by our responsible decisions.
Is it responsible to adopt four foreign siblings when you have three of your own, you homeschool, and suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome? When one of the children has a cleft palate and all of them will most likely struggle with attachment and learning challenges? (My friend Kathleen and her husband did.)
Is it responsible to go to a poverty stricken third world country, live by yourself, and open your home to sick strangers when you are a twenty year old American woman? (Katie did, and she wrote about it here.) Is it responsible to leave wealth, family, and the known to follow the voice of a dream into the wilderness? (Abraham did this.)
Is it responsible to put a baby in a basket and put the basket into a crocodile infested river? (Moses' brave mother, Jochebed)
Is it responsible to take a trip into the city where people are plotting your death? (Jesus)
Might responsibility be an excuse to maintain a safe, protected, selfish life? I know the Bible tells us to count the costs before we build a house. But a high cost is not an excuse to walk away from the house we've been called by God to build. Living beyond our means in terms of time and resources may be irresponsible, especially if we're doing it out of a selfish, consumption mindset.
On the other hand, living beyond our means may be an act of faith, humility, dependence, and obedience to a call that requires us to think beyond our own "kingdoms" and invest in the invisible, eternal kingdom of God.
Maybe this is true responsibility.
"If you view ministry as a job, you will always have limitations. But if you view it as your personal responsibility, you never have a limit."
1. remembering this: Psalm 103:19 2. social media and the way it lets me interact with friends from my couch 3. grey skies 4. rosemary, onions, carrots & roast 5. apples & squash 6. celebrating my boyfriend's 52nd birthday
7. encouraging, heartfelt words of love and affirmation shared round our table 8. a friend who brings me coffee AND takes my boys . . it doesn't get much better than that 9. George Winston's Autumn