I’m always working to reduce mental clutter and recently had an opportunity to clear some out!
In the past I’ve spent too much time feeling guilty and inadequate because I had the mistaken belief that I wasn’t doing enough to help others beyond friends and family. Reading the news daily and passively witnessing reported tragedies, seeing good people fall on hard times or lose loved ones to cancer or other horrible circumstances can be so disheartening. But oh! There’s a GoFundMe! Now multiply that by a thousand. Then there are community causes that I’m passionate about, I want to serve in church and also continue my annual donation to the animal shelter. Because of so many great needs, my donations of time or money can feel like pennies thrown in a can no matter how expansive my desire to be of service. Then, having to set limits by not giving to every good and compelling cause has left me feeling powerless and anxious. Worse, I’ve often compared myself to others who have more time, energy or much deeper pockets. Until now.
I recently bought a new planner (always Filofax for me!) to help with goal-setting this year, and there was something about seeing finite spaces for each day’s entry that brought me great comfort. That’s when I thought of my guilt about not being able to practice limitless giving being analogous to feeling guilty about not signing endless blank checks no matter how needy or noble the cause. Put another way: I’m not God! I’m a limited and imperfect human. As I’ve written before, it takes humility to accept that we’re finite.
The good news is that God’s reserves of love are infinite and God’s will is the one I give myself to completely. I always aim to do God’s will and I now know that God’s will isn’t for me to feel like it’s a sin to set limits. Self-care is very important! With a steady stream of disheartening news and challenging times for so many in our communities, country and the world, we can do our part by doing our part without feeling guilty because we’re part of a solution and not THE solution.
There’s nothing glorious about going into unsustainable spiritual, physical or fiscal debt. In fact that’s a sure way to be a future drain on others and, to continue with my check analogies, is like committing a crime of “negotiating a worthless instrument”.
Prayers, however, are limitless and free and I keep many people and God’s creatures in them!