Thursday, October 28, 2010

When needs are overwhelming...

Today I’m tired—mentally more than physically.

It’s easy to allow the needs of India to become overwhelming. For that matter it’s easy to allow needs anywhere to become overwhelming. At every turn the world is filled with broken people. Yet India flaunts her brokenness more openly than the West—beggars sleeping on the streets, children that don’t go to school, families that can’t get enough to eat, temples at every corner that steal the devotion of millions and leave them empty-handed. It would be easy for any secular human to feel natural compassion for the needs of India. Discerning the additional spiritual needs makes the tug upon my heart so much more intense.

There’s a fine balance to walk between feeling compelled to pick up all the burdens of India it is possible for me to carry and the opposite, which is steeling my heart with indifference.

This week I’ve fallen on the side of carrying too much. I haven’t had a day off in nearly three weeks because I go the slums four days a week, the schools two days a week, and I lead worship on Sundays. Plus there are always smaller tasks that crop up into my evenings—piano lessons, drawing flashcards, preparing for kid’s clubs. If each of my leaders had their way I would be giving more time than I already am.

It’s hard to say no for several reasons. One, Indians can be very blunt and simply tell you what they want you to do rather than asking (and I haven’t mastered the art of navigating the culture and being just as blunt in return). Two, my time grows short and I want to offer everything I can while I am still here. Three, I came to serve in whatever manner would be helpful. Yet now it is hard to discern between what God has laid before me to do and what people are asking me to do.

If I could craft my own ideal of how to spend my time, I’m not sure exactly what it would be, but I know it is not what I am doing now. Yet, God’s ideal is a far cry from my ideal. The places he has laid for my feet to walk these past months have taught me priceless lessons that are worth every moment of inconvenience and frustration.

So this weekend I’m going to do the only thing I know to do. I’m going to shut up the protesting voice of responsibility inside my head and take a day off. I’m going to rest and ask God to realign my heart with his. Abba, come and be my shepherd because I know when my heart is heavy I’m carrying burdens I’m not meant to carry. Show me each place in the next five weeks where my feet are ordained to walk, and may I not take one step to the side.

“Indeed the Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its produce. Righteousness will go before Him and will make His footsteps into a way.” Psalm 85:12-13

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