It's been raining off and on now for three days.
Rainy season seems to be starting in earnest.
Water pours from the sky for hours on end, filling gutters and roads and walking paths.
I feel like I'm living in a rainy season of my own, opportunities and ideas dumping down on me.
Like rain water, too much of a good thing can be deadly.
I know the needs that surround me daily:
Sunday School class,
All important things.
But how does that old saying go?
When it rains, it pours...
A phone call from my mom telling me of a family member with a bad health diagnosis;
another family member struggling with some hard choices that must be made;
friends looking for answers on how to regain health;
acquaintances asking questions about schooling;
the desperate need for good literature for our churches and our children here in Ghana;
dear ones who need encouragement in their trials.
As each new opportunity presents itself, I think of a thousand ways I can help.
My already busy mind starts quickly listing what I can do for each situation:
I'll send along a copy of a favorite health resource!
I can skim another book I've heard could be helpful in so-and-so's situation!
Sure, I've got some recipes I can email!
I'd be thrilled to help with curriculum ideas!
I can squeeze in time for brain-storming sessions and book editing!
Let's have some people over for supper and encourage them!
This on top of my already full list.
None of it bad.
All of it good.
Service ~ it's how I love.
Just like rains that don't stop, won't stop, I soon feel like I'm drowning in lists of good things that should be done.
I can't make progress on any of it, because I'm being pulled in a thousand directions.
I hear the voices of those closest to me calling for attention, but I can't quiet the shouting of all the other things either.
I feel the rush of emotions begin to swell within my chest.
I'm only one person.
How can I do it all?
I retreat to a quiet place.
Maybe here I can find refuge from the needs swirling around me.
I put down my pen.
I stop making lists.
As I quiet my heart and mind, He gently whispers truth into my soul ~ ask Me.
It's a commonly repeated maxim in our house:
When you're overwhelmed, don't make a list.
Ask God what one thing He wants you to do right now,
and then do it.
I open my Bible, and there it is, waiting for me ~ A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directed his steps.
What one needful thing do You want me to do right now, Lord?
Please show me.
It's a simple prayer, but essential when I feel flooded by all the good things I could be doing.
When I seek God's will for the moment right in front of me, I can be all there.
So I take the time to rock the teether,
and snap pictures of muddy hands,
and give the third bath for the day,
and chase the baby who escaped out the door in her birthday suit to play in the mud puddles,
and do another load of filthy laundry.
I take the Skype call,
and skim the book,
and place an order for that resource,
and look for those recipes I promised,
and share the curriculum ideas,
and proof-read and edit,
I'm learning to stop planning my ways,
to let the Holy Spirit point out the next step for me to take.
Some days it's more things than others.
At times, He tells me to remove something from my list.
Other days, He adds unexpected things for me to do.
But as I seek to follow His will for me each day, the whirling, pulling, tempestuous floods of my desires for good are soon quieted into streams of His grace, flowing out to nourish the lives of those around me.
*Please include Accra, Ghana in your prayer list this week? Our rainy season is just beginning here, and there has already been severe flooding and loss of lives. They are predicting more rain through the end of this week and possibly the beginning of the next. Thank you.