Do you know what this is a picture of? Go ahead and guess.
No idea, right?
It's drying dung on a house in Tibet. Seriously, when a person sends you a picture of drying dung on a house in Tibet, you know they have something to say.
Today's Share Your Story guest, Amy Young, asks herself (and us!), "Am I lining my house with drying dung?"
Here's Amy, author of The Messy Middle.
When I first saw Sarah: Plain and Tall I connected instantly with Sarah. I understood why she’d pack up and leave a life she’d known to move from Boston to Kansas. She was responding to the pull to invest in something MORE.
I understood because I too have felt the pull. I’m guessing you know just what I’m talking about because you’ve felt it too. I wanted to live in such a way that at the end I could look back without regrets. And so I invested in response to God’s leadings.
I am now midcourse, no longer the young, ideal woman following in Sarah’s footsteps.
Moments, days, years of investing. Nearing half a life lived.
Hope spoken into brokenness
Children built into
Work done diligently and faithfully
Bible studies attended and taught
Environment cared for
Physical exercise done
From the outside it looks like I’m on the right path. That I’m living a life of significance.
But from the inside of my life, I wonder. Am I?
I hear of building houses for the disenfranchised, freeing those trapped in human trafficking, educating poor students, changing racial and cultural interactions, teaching adults to read, working at soup kitchens and pantries, helping with after school problems, fighting teen suicide, adopting orphans, caring for widows and the abused, teaching new trades, loaning money for micro-loans, and fostering children. The needs seem endless.
I am deeply moved and encouraged. So many opportunities. So many needs met and evidence of redemption.
I am deeply troubled and discouraged. Have the ways I’ve invested truly made a difference? Instead of a life well invested, am I living more shallowly than intended?
I cannot help everyone.
What if I’ve picked poorly? What if at the end I regret where I’ve invested and wished I had helped more to combat the sex trade? Or teen suicide? Or fed more poor people? In small ways I’ve been involved in all three.
But where is the line? When am I underinvested and too focused on self? When am I over invested and living in flagrant disobedience to the limits God has placed on me?
Others say I’ve given so much, lived so well. I wonder.
I wonder if Mother Teresa had these same thoughts? Or did she have a deep sense of what she was doing that other needs registered but weren’t like sirens calling to her?
Ah, the sound of a warning bell. I am comparing myself to Mother Teresa. Do I stack up? Do I measure in the eyes of others to what she did with her life? Part of this is normal wrestling and I’m OK with that. But part of it is not really about serving but being admired. Wrestling (and even changing courses mid-path) is not the problem. It’s ultimately an issue of where I’m focused and whose “Well Done” I want to hear.
Like Sarah, who didn’t listen to her brother when he thought she had chosen poorly, I must ignore the critic in my head. Eyes on God. Ears tuned to the spirit, trusting that He made me for significance and will guide me.
Thanks, Amy. For those of you interested in reading more of Amy's writing and hearing details of her life in Beijing, make sure to click over to her place.