I know parenting small kids is difficult.
I know the days are long and exhausting at times.
Believe me, I know.
And I know being in school is hard.
I remember those long hours spent juggling studying and two jobs.
I remember the lack of sleep and the abundance of coffee.
I know what it’s like to run on empty.
I know what it’s like to feel that I have nothing left to give.
But you know what?
I have a challenge for you: Just show up.
This phrase isn’t original.
I learned it from a friend at Audiofeed festival.
It was something her pastor has said that left an impression on her.
Truth is, she didn’t feel like going to Audiofeed this year.
She’s an introvert and the fest is non-stop people, music, and stimulation.
Not to mention all the behind the scenes work she does on top of that to help the fest run smoothly.
I can hardly imagine the festival without this friend.
Yet sometimes the enemy will attack us right before something significant.
Sometimes we’ll feel spiritually exhausted at the mere thought of showing up and serving.
That’s when it’s important to resist.
Just show up.
It’s a lot like working out.
They say the most important workouts are the ones you don’t feel like doing.
Just get to the gym.
Just put on those running shoes.
Once you’re there, your body knows what to do.
Any trainer will tell you – getting there is half the battle.
Just show up.
Time for a disclaimer.
This isn’t the same as overdoing it.
I believe you will know the difference.
When you’re already showing up for everything and wearing yourself thin, maybe it’s time for a break.
There is a natural, healthy rhythm to life that you should find.
You won’t do anything well if you’re trying to do everything.
This is different.
This is for when downtime and self-care are the norm.
Then it’s time to stretch yourself.
Venture out of your safe, protective box you’ve built up.
Just show up.
See what happens.
See if God shows up.
Fight the urge to self-preserve and self-serve.
Try dying to yourself and see what God does with it.
This is for myself as well.
I’ve found myself at both extremes at different times.
Right now God’s challenging me to step out more.
Parents, this is for us too.
The hard truth is that we sometimes use our children as excuses.
Excuses to not go out after 7pm.
Excuses to not volunteer.
Excuses to not open up our home.
Excuses for our nuclear family to be our only focus.
But maybe we’re not just called to be great parents.
Maybe God is calling us to be great citizens, brothers, sisters, friends, ministers, teachers, counselors, community leaders.
Maybe with God’s strength we’re all capable of more than we think we are.
Maybe our fatigue is a barrier the enemy put in place in an attempt to stifle our full potential.
I know it isn’t easy.
But serving isn’t always something we do in spite of our children.
Serving can be something we do alongside our children.
Having people over for lunch, hosting foreign exchange students in our home, visiting refugees, offering free childcare to single moms, or picking up trash in the community are all kid-friendly.
Maybe host a potluck every now then.
Maybe start a Bible study or prayer group that meets at your home after your kids go to bed (if they’re early to bed and early to rise like mine!)
If showing up is too hard, invite others to come to you!
Whatever you do, and however you do it, I think you will come away filled.
The incredible thing about just showing up is that it usually is the very thing that fills us up.
That’s my challenge to both you and myself to build a stronger community.
Community cannot happen in isolation.
I know it’s hard. I know you’re tired. I’m right there with you.
But just think of all we might be missing out on.
The “God moments” you could never have planned.
This week – Just show up.
Just see what happens.