Thursday, September 4, 2014

School or Church

School or church. That was the choice. 

Our sons were in grade school and as a former grade school teacher it seemed natural to respond to the call for parent volunteers. 

And then there was my desire to be involved in the women’s ministry of our church. I enjoy leading Bible studies and I think I’m pretty good in that arena.

And then the rest of life—hospitality, neighbors, extended family—there was always something good to give my time to.

With so many options presenting themselves that fall, my husband stepped in and suggested I choose between a more formal commitment at the boys’ school or at our church. That was hard! I wanted to do both. I wanted to be super-woman. 

In the end, I chose our church.

But with my decision, I felt a bit of awkwardness, a bit of fear even. What will the teachers and other parents think when I’m not volunteering at the school carnival? That people-pleaser tendency is very real.

I felt a bit guilty as well. I really should be helping. 

This crazy thought kept circling, I should be able to do it all. Ahhh, should the key that unlocked my predicament. The word that when heard steers decisions. Possibly in the wrong direction.

Years later as I ponder other involvement opportunities, I finally get it. Our sons are grown and married now, but good opportunities continue to abound. Should does not enter the decision. 

Desire does; capacity does; calling does; but not should.

For years I meditated on the first words of I Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession,” and that’s where I stopped. Today I looked at the rest of the verse, “that you may proclaim the excellences’ of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (Emphasis mine) Out of the darkness of confusion, out of the shoulds, into his marvelous light!

I love the way Eugene Peterson in The Message Bible sums up the fruit of the Spirit verses in Galatians 5, "We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely." (Emphasis mine)

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give your rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”                                                                                                                       (Matthew 11:28-30)


  1. It is so easy to just keep sayin yes. That is what I use to do. But God was trying to get my attention. But I don't listen so well. Therefore, He had to lay me flat on my back. Literally. I was an RN . About 15 years ago a patient,who was high on angel dust, while lying flat on his back threw me over himself and the bed across about 10 feet into the wall. I have had surgery after surgery since then. Most of the time "I was flat on my back". I had alot of time to think. This summer has been the best I have had since then, physically. I still have to fight the urge not to say yes to everything. But I do a quick rewind of the last 15 years of God's teaching. Then I pray & ask God to tell me what I should say yes to.