Saturday, September 15, 2007

When You Care Enough

It has come to my attention that I care too much. This is good news and bad news. The good news is that I have a heart, and I really care about people, especially my family. The bad news is that I struggle with worry and fretting over them, and I care too much, plain and simple.

I don't normally write on a Saturday morning, but everyone is gone today. My husband and teenage son are at a soccer tournament, and my daughter is out with one of my sisters "sailing" in the neighborhood.(That's our term for going to garage sales, or tag sales as they call them in Connecticut. You never know what you'll find at a garage sale and thus the joy and exhilaration of it all).

But they didn't all leave on a nice lovely note. First, my husband- who normally sleeps like a log- wakes me up at 3:45am. He can't sleep. He tosses and turns, gets up, walks around, and while I debate TRYING to fall back asleep, the other part of me is asking, "What is wrong? Why is he troubled?" I go out to the kitchen and we make coffee and talk. And talk more. Pray. And talk more. We're trying to tackle the issues of what we are called to, how we'll make a living, where we flourish best, where we have gone off course.... nothing heavy!

Then we race around, remembering our son has a soccer game and it isn't close to home. At the same time,my daughter is going to be picked up by her Aunt, and wants to grab breakfast before she leaves. It seemed my job was to launch everyone- as I was the only one not going anywhere that morning. But I felt stressed out over a certain child's lack of preparation the night before which meant that certain tasks were falling to me and I was trying to push them back on the rightful owner of those tasks. (Interpretation: teenage son was lazy and unprepared, and I was too available to help but didn't feel I should be!) I felt frustrated, raised my voice, and everything got done, eventually, BUT everything was a hectic mess.

Oh, they're all off, and the house is now silent- but what have I accomplished? It has become known to all that I care so much that it becomes a crutch for those who don't care enough about their life and, thus, their details, their outcome.

You know what verses come to mind? Two passages: one where we are told in 1 Peter 5:7 to cast all our anxiety on Him for He cares for us; and the other where Jesus tells Martha she is worried over many things, but only one thing is needed. She is admonished to care about one thing: seeking time in His presence while it is available (Luke 10:40).

Guess what? The word for "care" can be positive or negative. (merimnao, merimna) It can be godly concern, or it can be worrying , a distraction, preoccupation with something or anxiety over a matter. It obviously has a positive side to it because GOD CARES FOR YOU. God is perfect- So if He cares, He must be "caring" in an appropriate manner.

Cast all your care upon Him for He cares for you. (1 Pet. 5: 7)

I am supposed to care about my family but not care so much that it turns into worry or anxiety over every little thing. Yet God can care, about us, and He cares "perfectly"- When God cares, it never turns into worry or anxiety. He cares perfectly. Think about that.

I think there is a way for us, as Moms, as Wives, to care enough that we show godly concern-but not care so much that we are overly invested in that person's decisions and therefore the outcome. It can be selfish, really, when we "care" so much about someone and the decisions they're making. Sometimes it's just that we care that they choose well so that agony and problems over bad choices don't also spill over into our lives.

But if I care perfectly about someone, the way God does, I would care enough to pray, care enough to confront when I need to, and then after that?....I would take a walk, read the funnies, paint my toe nails, take a walk in the sunshine- all that because I know how to care just enough to love, but not so much that I kill myself in the process.

I do care- it's just that, for everyone's sake- I've got to not care so much.

Now, I'm off to paint my toenails a bright bold color, and then take a walk in the Son light.


Old Fashioned Girl said...

Well said!

Nina said...

Wow -- I'm e-mailing this to myself. I'm also one who spends way too much time worrying, and jumping in where I shouldn't, especially with my oldest( I think with teenagers we feel a greater sense of urgency that they "turn out OK "), and not enough time in prayer for him.

Amydeanne said...

I think I care too much as well! I think it's perhaps a womanly curse! lol j/king
anyhow, love your blog! I used to live in CT a few years back, worked in Fairfield and loved it! a lovely part of the USA! (I'm in Canada now)

Renee Swope said...


I have decided that I have an overactive "responsibility" gland. It's kicks into high gear because I, too, care so much. When others don't carry their weight my "care" kicks in and I take too much responsibility on myself. It's especially hard as a mom! My son has a project due this week and needed my help. It's so hard to help but not do it for him - yet the only way they learn is to be coached not coddled. Thanks for sharing your story and your heart! I love your blog and I love when you stop by for a visit. You spur me on to keep writing. I hope to have a new chapter of our lovestory written soon. Thanks for encouraging me! Hugs, Renee