Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Only Human

"I'm only human" we'll say when we want to explain why we can't do something. And it's not a lame excuse - it's true! Oddly enough, though, most women I know may say this but not really accept it. We often carry a lot of guilty feelings about the things we can't do, like make everyone happy, stop our children from suffering disease and hurt, pray for all the needs we know about on a consistent basis, and so many other things. We even kick against our finitude when we are physically incapable of doing the ordinary tasks of life. How can we know contentment and glorify God in our "not doing"?

One of my favorite sonnets is by John Milton, the author of the incredible Paradise Lost. When he discovered that he was going blind, he was heartsick. He had a profound faith and had been sure that God had given him his talent for writing so that he could serve God with it. How could he do anything significant if he was blind? How could that gift be of any use at all if he couldn't see what his hand tried to produce? Before he was completely blind, he penned this great sonnet.

When I consider how my light is spent,
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my maker, and present
My true account, lest he, returning, chide.
'Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?'
I fondly ask; but Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: 'God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best; his state
Is kingly - thousands at his bidding speed
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait.

That last line always stops me in my tracks. While being busy may feel more productive to me, it isn't always my calling. There are seasons where I "stand and wait". This, too, is good.

For moms with so many responsibilities, learning to "wait" and "rest" is an extremely hard assignment. You can read an excellent meditation on that here.

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