Last week my brother-in-law, Jeff, called with a special request. He and his wife, Crystal, had been given a chance to go on a missions trip to Joplin, Missouri and they needed to find someone to watch their son Zach.
Having just moved to Michigan, their list of possible babysitters was pretty short. At first I felt a bit hesitant. In terms of “babysitting,” a week seemed like a long time, but then I realized what a special opportunity this was.
Jeff, Crystal, and Zach have lived in Pennsylvania for the past two years, and my time with my sweet nephew has been limited. With this in mind, my hesitancy vanished as I became excited for this time with Zach.
When I broached the subject with my husband I was surprised that he didn’t seem as excited as I was. I could tell he was questioning my sanity and wondering how I was going to handle three children, four and under, all day, every day, for a whole week.
In need of some advice, I sent a text to my sister:
I know you are often willing to help out your friends by babysitting their kids, and sometimes I tell you you’re crazy for doing it, but, ultimately, I know you do it because you want to be a blessing. Do you think I’m doing the right thing by agreeing to keep Zach?
My sister wrote back with the words I needed to hear:
Yes, you are! And everyone will survive. You will have your moments. Breathe deeply, smile, and find something to laugh about.
The Lord has been working in my heart lately on reaching out to those around us. It has been neat to see some of the opportunities He has brought my way. They are never convenient, but if I wait until a time when they are, I will live in my own little world.
I am SLOWLY learning that often times I perceive things to be overwhelming when really they don’t need to be. I can put a lot of pressure on myself when I set the standard at perfection.
My sister’s response encouraged and challenged me. I began to question what my own standard tends to be. When opportunities to reach out to others come my way, I, too, tend to feel overwhelmed or caught by the standard of perfection.
As I thought about these tendencies I remembered God’s command in Luke 10:27.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and Love your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27 (NIV)
In the end, love is the standard. Love for God, love for myself, love for others. It really is that simple.
Perhaps my decision to take care of Zach was a little crazy, but sometimes “crazy” is a good sign that you’re doing the right thing. Sometimes the only craziness we need to worry about is the craziness of our love.
After all, it’s crazy love that is willing to:
Keep your neighbor’s kids for a Saturday afternoon so that she can get caught up after a long week at work
Invite the co-worker who is going through a difficult divorce over for coffee or even to church
Mow the lawn of the elderly couple down the street
Spend that bonus check buying groceries and diapers for a single mom
Clean a friend’s house as she recovers from an illness
Use this year’s vacation serving others on a mission’s trip in your part of the globe or across the world
Say, “I’m sorry” or say, “You’re forgiven”
I know I have been loved with God’s crazy love. I know I can crazy love others. And this is the economy of God: When I am willing to be the blessing, I am the one who is blessed.