Anyone else feeling a bit exhausted? Me too! This is such a bizarre season; there’s less to do which makes life simpler, but the things we want to do are more complicated and that makes life harder. I’m a really routine-based person and I’ve found all the short-notice changes of plan recently mentally exhausting. I’m also finding that having so many options of new things to do – especially online activities – actually overwhelms me a bit and leaves me not wanting to join in any of them even when they look fun!
At times I’ve felt really low about the lack of support we’ve been able to give our toddler group families, the limited resources we have or the restrictions that have prevented us doing things we’d like to do. It’s especially frustrating when we see others up and down the country doing some of these things and making a difference to people’s lives, and we wonder – why can’t we manage that?
Recently I read a quote from David Wilkerson: “We need to differentiate between our calling and the needs of the people around us. And no one is called to meet every need he sees.” He knew what he was talking about – some of the things David encountered in New York over the years were needs beyond what most of us can imagine. I think though during our current circumstances this has really been brought home to me because it’s been easier to see what others are doing. I can’t do everything, and everything is not for me to do either. Even within the context of my small work at toddler group, which is definitely part of my calling in life, I can’t meet every need.
I’m also reminded of the tree in Psalm 1. To be like the tree I should be delighting in God and especially growing in his word. But still the tree itself will go through different seasons – drought, green leaf, fruiting – and so we see that our ‘productiveness’ is not necessarily a reflection of how well we’re doing as we go through the seasons of life. The roots make us stable but they don’t prevent the changing seasons.
I’ve discovered that whatever’s going on around me there’s only one person I need to be looking to for leadership and that’s Jesus. Whilst the online (and offline!) world is full of great ideas, he knows what he wants me to do, the route he has for me to take and I think perhaps most importantly, the long term plans he has for me. So much of our experience this last while has been reactionary. It’s been much harder for us to look at the ’big picture’ and to be honest we’re probably pretty rubbish at that normally anyway! But I need to remember that God does know, he keeps that big picture in view all the time and I can trust him not to forget me or the families I’m trying to serve.
This season feels very long but the Lord knows the plans he has for us (Jer 29:11) and he plans things for our good (Rom 8:28), things that will make us more like Jesus (Rom 8:29) and things that will bless others too (Eph 2:10). Let’s step away from comparison with others, focus on God’s word and prayerfully look for the direction he is giving us as individuals and as toddler group leaders.