Limited Goodness

I have been toting around stuff in the back of my car for a couple of weeks now, each day waiting to have a spare hour that it takes to make the round trip to Habitat for Humanity.  Procrastination wasn’t the problem; sheer busy-ness was.  But today was the day where that task was the second of only two things I had to do today.  (Woot!Woot!)


So I start out the drive, and call a friend on the way.


{Side note:  I am not a talking-on-the-phone type of person.  I would rather text you or see you in person.  I hate the phone, mainly because of dropped calls and bad connections.  Annoyyyyyyyy-ingggggggg.}


Anyway….  I enjoyed catching up with my friend (we didn’t get cut off once!) and when I noticed that I was a little lost despite having mapped the address, I let her go.


After reconciling the fact that the HforH office isn’t located in the same building as the HforH Donation Center, I found the right place, only to pull up to the door being closed.  I circled the building to find the main entrance, only to see it spelled out in white letters that they were closed on Mondays.


{AAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH}


That’s the first thought that came to mind in that particular moment, followed by several expletives, most of which I’m not sure how to spell and even if I did, I wouldn’t put them in this post.  Because after all, we’re talking about stuff like habitats and humanity and donating and other noble stuff here…. (insert pious snort here)


The second thought I had was, “I better find a dumpster to put this ‘stuff’ (ahem) in because I am *not* driving all the way over here again!!!!!!”


The third thought I had was, “You selfish ‘so-and-so’.” (Again with the expletives)


I had the whole drive back to think about my attitude, and I started by asking myself a question: Is there a limit to the amount of kindness and generosity I am willing to extend to others?


The ugly truth of the matter, as evidenced by my gut reaction, is “Yes.”  I want to be nice only if it’s convenient.  I want to help someone only if it doesn’t interfere with my schedule.  I want to be generous to others only if it leaves plenty left over for me.


Thank goodness most of my life’s decisions don’t match my gut reactions.


My life is more joyful and my soul at peace because I try not to simply react to life.  Rather, I try to think about what God is asking me to do with my life.


Verses like these come to mind:

2 Thessalonians 3:13 says “…never tire of doing what is good.”
 
Philippians 2:3-4 says Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,  not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
 

I have no trouble remembering what I know that God is calling me to do with my life.  It’s the obedience part that trips me up.


I know that I’m not being asked of God to live a blameless life and make every decision with perfection, but I am sooooo thankful to have His word as a guideline to follow when I want to make the right decision as opposed to going with “what feels right” or even “what I want to do”.


I know from past experiences (unfortunately, that’s plural), that whenever I ignore what I know to be the right thing to do, and instead go my own selfish way, my heart hurts.  Instead of blessings of joy and peace, I feel regret, conviction, and ultimately, sadness.


Living by my own set of rules leaves me empty inside.  And I don’t like feeling empty inside.  It happens time and again, though, just like Paul said in Romans 7:15-16.  I love The Message translation here, because it’s like I could have written these same exact words:

 “What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.”
 
So, at the end of the day, the stuff to donate to HforH didn’t get thrown into a dumpster like I was tempted to do, but rather it’s still in the back of my car, waiting for me to find or make the time to go back over there.  Not because I want to.  Not because I’m afraid I won’t be able to live with the guilt of trashing perfectly good ceiling fans and 2″ wooden blinds.  And certainly not because I’m a good person.
 
The reason that I will make the time to donate the stuff I’d rather trash is because IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO.  And most of the time, that’s enough for me.

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2 Comments

  1. That is a beautiful post. So honest. My problem is that I do go out of my way for others, although become resentful when they do not return the favour. Therefore I question my motives all the time…or at least my expectations of people.
    Beautiful, thought provoking post 🙂

    Like

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