I am living one of the busiest seasons of my life right now. As we speak.
I tinkered with my book for four years before I got a book deal. And during the fifteen months since then, I slammed myself into it. My days have been a whirlwind of trying to find the time and the childcare to meet writing deadlines. I wrote it. Revised it. Turned the manuscript in. Edited it. And then as quickly as I celebrated being finished, I began the process no one tells you about: marketing the book. This has shocked me with its time-sucking nature. It’s much more sneaky than I’d planned on. And it just won’t stop asking me to do stuff.
For the past two months, I haven’t gone to Moms Group, my bible study/book club/general friendship-lovefest at my church, one of the things I look most forward to each week. Instead, I’ve written. I’ve written articles and guest posts and answered interview questions, most of which will be published within the first week of my book’s release. There will be an explosion of Micha Boyett’s words on the Internet. And I keep wondering if it will be worth it. These months of work for one week of posts and articles. It all feels so fleeting.
One of the gifts of this season of my life is that I’ve learned how to draw hard lines in my day for priorities. I don’t go to Moms Group right now, but I do have one on one time with my kids. I do help my oldest with his homework everyday. I do go to bed much earlier than I used to. I’m learning to make time for play and rest and reading and prayer. Otherwise, I know the work will take priority and I’ll continually miss the things I love most.
I often struggle with whether or not I should be doing this with my time. I have so few extra hours in my life as a mom of little kids. Where am I caring for the weakest around me? How am I offering my time to the hungry and the lonely, the imprisoned and the beaten down? Is the life I lead all about me and my words? And is that a worthy ministry?
Then I tell myself that when my kids are older I’ll finally work with the prison ministry or serve the homeless or those in hospice care. I’ll do something with my other gifts. I remind myself that God has given me this calling to words and the opportunity to use it right now.
Then I get an email that a friend who is sick needs a meal. And I stare at it. I have become so used to drawing lines and setting boundaries to protect my time with my kids and my rest and my work that I get the email about a friend and I stare, wondering, Can I do this?
Where is the line between the knowledge that this season of my life is filled up in the best ways and the knowledge that everyone’s life is filled up and all of us are called to care for the hungry and the naked, the sick and the imprisoned, as if we are caring for Jesus himself?
I cannot justify my lack of meal-cooking. I may have a book coming out in two weeks. I may be deep-breathing through lists of words still left to write and radio shows to record and a new website to launch and on and on. But I live in a real world that is not simply digital. And in that real world, a friend needs a meal.
It’s an invitation. This struggle I’ve felt lately between whether or not I should do more–be more–for the people in my actual, physical life should point me, not toward guilt, but toward possibility. Toward the Holy Spirit, who directs me into this day.
Yes, it’s overwhelming right now. Yes, I need rest and I need to protect my time. And also, I have two hands and I can do some things. I can meet some needs in front of me. That’s the invitation: To listen to the Holy Spirit today. To respond, not out of guilt, but out of a flexible heart. I can’t do everything. But I can respond to this small need before me and I can do it out of love. I can sacrifice something of my time, not because God is demanding that I suffer, but because I’m invited to remember that there is a much bigger world than the one that revolves around my book.
We’re all invited to remember that there is more here in front of us today than our own stress, our own deadlines, our own child-rearing issues.
And it’s an invitation. That’s all. In the midst of the frantic pace of our culture. In the midst of the needs that pile on top of each other over and over. In the midst of the never-ending to-do list, God is offering an invitation to serve anyway. Not from a place of guilt or fear, but from the richness of love.
What better reason to respond?