I am sitting in the room where I live 80% of my normal day. I teach in this room, eat in this room, prepare meals in the adjoining kitchen, clean those meals in that kitchen. It is a wonderful room. I love my kitchen, with it’s attempt at 1950’s charm in a 21st century home. I love my homeschool/dinindg/family room. It has a double window, my dining room table (a cherished antique passed down from my mother-in-law), and my gas fire place. These rooms, which are not divided by a wall, are my favorite rooms of the house to be sure. But, there are times when my little world can feel very, very small. One home to maintain, one husband to help, and four little children to serve is wonderful, and consuming. Yes, I have my life with people in the church, and I have occasion to be with unbelievers periodically, but truly, my world is small.
There are two potential dangers I have in my tiny world. One is to become frustrated with the boundaries and try to make them bigger. I grow discontent with the little life I am leading, so I add to it. I broaden it. I take on tasks that make my world feel bigger. Often these are good things. But when it comes down to it, I can’t manage my little world well when I add too much to it in this season. If my domain here at home suffers, then I have tried to make my world too big. And if my efforts are motivated by craving significance and importance; appreciation or praise from men, then really I think it’s more like I made my world too small. So small it included only me and my feelings of worth and value.
The other danger is that I can get so caught up in my own little world, that I forget there is a whole planet out there with things happening that are important to be aware of. I know that I am to focus on my family, making them the primary beneficiaries of my energy and effort, but I must still keep an outward focus and understand things bigger than myself and my season. I get so caught up in my season, that I find it less natural to talk to women in other seasons and experiences. Why is this? Did my children kill certain social brain cells? I have no problem talking for hours on end about potty training, homeschool curricula, home management technique, infant care, pregnancy – but remove those common experiences and sometimes more effort is required. This isn’t bad, that more effort is required, as long as I’m making that effort…and that is the key.
God addressed both of my problems with regard to my world this week. Carolyn Mahaney’s teaching “Busy At Home” from her Titus 2 series addressed the issue of resisting my boundaries. She reminded me that I can either resent the boundaries set before me in this season, or I can enjoy all of the blessing within the boundary lines marked out for me. I listen to this teaching when I feel off-course, discontent, or like my world is too small (several times each year!).
God used two posts to help me with the problem of being too focused on my little world, to the exclusion of others either in various seasons, or even in various cultures. Carolyn McCulley, (who by the way, you must make part of your blog reading – she wrote two insightful articles recently about anxiety, and what we feel verses what is real) wrote last week about an issue that I would never have known about in my tiny world here in Abingdon, MD. The issue is that of female circumcision which happens most commonly in Africa. I never want to be insulated from the trials of the world at large. I am grateful for Carolyn who consistently keeps her readers informed about matters such as these.
The other post was that of my friend Libby Turek who being motivated by memories of older girls who invested in her life when she was a teenager, decided to do the same and had a 13 year old girl spend the night with her while her husband was away. What a great reminder for me to remember the young ladies around me…not just the young moms who are so near to my heart, but the young single ladies, the teenagers, and even the pre-teens. I was so inspired by Libby’s example.
God, help me to rejoice in the boundaries you have placed in my life. Thank You that they are pleasant. Help me not to make them bigger than You have ordained and in so doing, shrink my world of influence to only me. But help me also not to become insulated from the people around me. Let me see others near and far. Even if my work on their behalf is prayer alone, help me to be faithful to do it do it.