I was talking with a friend the other day about how limited we can feel some times, but in a different way than I was describing in the post called Two Hands. It has more to do with the concept of enlarging our hearts, expanding our capacity to give and enjoy, to handle interruptions, to meet needs, to adjust to change, to give some more.
For example, some women adore having lots of people coming and going all the time, and it refreshes and rejuvenates them. Others can only take so much before they need a little time out. And some women are completely undone at even the thought of having company for dinner. It’s as though we each have a container of a different size, and we can only take in so much before we start to spill all over floor. Some have a teaspoon that is threatening to spill over any minute. Others have a gallon jug that can take quite a bit of jostling before it slops over.
The Christian life involves community, and that can’t happen without a lot of coming and going. Call it a blessed chaos. Mothers certainly have to have the means to deal with many things all at once all the time. I believe that God equips us to do all that He calls us to do, but sometimes we start thinking we have the resources in ourselves to do it ourselves. Ha! Those are the times that we trip up and slosh all over the floor. But God has infinite resources and He wants to give us more and more. So we should ask Him to increase our capacity, increase the size of our containers (so to speak), so that we can handle all that He gives us graciously and gracefully.
We’ve probably all seen how some elderly people can become a little set in their ways. They may not like their schedule to be disrupted, or they may like things quiet and calm. Now I’m not blaming them at all. We should defer to this without question. It may be they have lost their former flexibility just like they’ve lost their hearing or their short-term memory. This can be a sweet limitation that comes with the territory. But in other cases, this limitation may be the result of many years of inflexibility that has ripened into fussiness, sternness, or even crankiness.
I don’t think this is inevitable. I have known elderly people who still have a large capacity. They have not grown stiff-hearted at all, but nevertheless, they are not able to do all they used to do. I think another metaphor might be helpful. It isn’t as though they have run out of gas. It’s just that they don’t get as many miles to the gallon as they used to, so they need frequent fill-ups. Having a house full of noise and people just runs their engines right into the ground. This is the way God has made the world.
It’s good to see our limits and remember we have them. At the same time, as long as it is possible for us, we should be asking God to increase those limits, to open our hearts more and more,Â to give us the stamina we need on order to keep up with all He has given us to do.Â As we age and become more frail, He lightens our load. But all along the way we need to be asking for bigger containers to receive more grace and goodness so that we will have a greater capacity to give. And the more we give, the more He blesses us, the more He gives back to us.