When is there time to help?

Recently, someone asked a really good question in the Adventist Activism Facebook group. I’m sure the person is not alone, so I decided to post it here.

My husband and I work 10 or 16 hour days… My question is this.. How do you guys find time to do this kind of work? Both of [us] have the desire do this kind of work… We just feel dead on the weekends. How do you balance your schedules so that you have more time for this stuff? It IS important to us and we do small things but nothing major.

With a few spelling and grammatical corrections, this is how I responded:

Ha. Well… First of all, I’m not working 10 or 16 hour days! And to confess, I’m still tired by the weekend. :) So my first thought is that maybe your jobs are your focus right now. Maybe God has something else for you, but the jobs sound like a big commitment in themselves. Showing all the love, patience, compassion, peace and joy that the Holy Spirit grows in you may be the best mission for this stage of life.

Second, I’m not as active as you might think. So that’s my confession. Others like Ryan Bell, Jeff Gang, and Victor are doing a lot more than me. So I’m curious how they find time to do so much.

Third, peace or social justice is my area of study. I’m in grad school right now, studying peace (shalom, social well-being) and international development at a Mennonite seminary. So I just write about things online that I’m studying in class. I’m all talk. I’m just amazed at how much my classmates do. They’re on Christian Peacemaker Teams, on the board of MCC (~Mennonite ADRA), working with gang members, etc. I’m humbled.

Fourth, small is BEAUTIFUL! Jesus valued the cup of water, the widow’s coin, and mustard seeds. I’m guessing the people around you working 10 to 16 hours are also tired, so I’ll bet they notice when you do anything small either at work or outside. I like Chris Rice’s song “Power of a Moment” —  http://www.rhapsody.com/chris-rice/short-term-memories/power-of-a-moment/lyrics.html.

Fifth, maybe God is growing a desire in your hearts to do something that he’s preparing you for. I probably should have stopped after point four, but I’ll just add this one as a thought, a possibility. He knows your limits, and I don’t think he’s in the business of wearing us down. So if he has something to draw you to, maybe it will take some time and prayer to find it and keep health and sanity along the way. The Imago Dei church in Portland grew out of 6 months of praying for local needs. The PDF attached here tells their story — http://pacificador99.wordpress.com/2011/02/26/imago-dei/. And one Adventist lady I know prayed 5 years (um… 7?) before she found her place (started Amistad Intl — http://www.amistadinternational.org/). She tells her story in an up-coming edition of the Journal of Adv Education (I interviewed Karen a few months ago for it).

And believe me, even though we’re in a little different place, I do understand a bit of where you’re coming from. We recently moved to a new city where we didn’t know anyone, so we’re starting to reach out and find our new place, discovering how much time and energy we have at this point to give either to a church or to the community through something like CCDA.org. It’s a journey we’re all on, always finding the new balance for our specific stage in life. It’s no coincidence that a majority of volunteers are students, retirees and unemployed. We each just need to do what we can when we can, no more and no less. God bless! And I’m curious how others might respond.

So what thoughts would you share with the questioner?

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