Can or Called?

In my goal of purchasing “no more books” for this year, I’m picking up and reading books I already own. It’s fun to pursue and finish a book I’ve been set on reading for some time.

As I write this, I just finished a beautiful little book titled, “Riley Unlikely” by Riley Banks-Snyder. As the back of the cover explains, “This is the story of how God took a thirteen-year-old girl and transformed her into a nineteen-year-old missionary. It’s the story of how he can take seemingly mismatched parts and fit them together brilliantly. It’s the story of how he can change our lives and dramatically shift our dreams. All this time, he has been tailor-making me for Kenya’s kids, and them for me” a perfect match from an unlikely story.”

As someone who has always longed to go to Africa, this book was a true delight for me to read. Riley’s heart to provide for practical needs paired with her heart to love and care for the children and orphans is simply beautiful. It hits so close to home. I have always been drawn to Africa, even from a young age. The brilliant colors, simplistic living, hard work, pure joy and contentment, full trust in God amidst the struggle, and the beautiful people there … yes, these are just a few of the reasons why I love Africa (even though I’ve only loved it from half way around the world).

There was one little paragraph in the book that seemed to jump off of the page as I read it. I have since read it over and over and over again,

When you’re serving just because you can, the work is useful and beneficial and good. But you’ll stay committed to it only as long as it stays convenient. By contrast, when you’re serving in a capacity where you feel called, you’ll move heaven and earth if you have to, to see it through.

So. Good.

Can or Called?

As I seek the Lord for what He has planned for my life (however great or small the journey), I believe this to be a good and helpful distinction to make. Am I doing ____ because I can, or because I’m called? It doesn’t have be grand doings, like going to Africa, but can be a simple way of serving, loving or helping others.

Doing things because we can or because we’re called, BOTH are beneficial and good, but one will compel us to keep pressing forward, despite the circumstances. As the author says, “you’ll move heaven and earth if you have to, to see it through.”

Does this bring to mind anything you are doing in your life because you can or because you’re called?

Perhaps you are serving locally, starting a new business or ministry, teaching your children at home, leading worship, caring for the orphans (maybe in foster care), going back to or continuing to work, furthering your education, cleaning bathrooms, doing laundry, writing books (or blogs!), serving your local government, traveling to foreign lands, or counseling others who are struggling? They may not always be fun at every turn, but we will likely feel compelled to and called to do this good work.

When passion wavers, our calling catapults us forward to see it through.

I experience this every year (or day!) in our homeschooling journey. I feel Papa and I are called to teach, train up and disciple our children at home. However, I struggle with various aspects of the process. Even after 10 years of homeschooling, I often struggle with feeling inadequate, like I’m failing, like I don’t know what I’m doing, and like I’m suffocating under the pressures of doing it right. Despite this personal battle within me, I continue to learn, plan, and teach our children. There is much joy experienced and many memories are created amidst the daily routines of our schooling. I know it’s what we are, what I am, called to do.

It is in this calling, that I do not give up.

I press on.

I stay up late at night and wake up early in the morning to do what needs to be done.

I sacrifice.

I move heaven and earth.

I will see it through.

Friends, whatever you may be facing, whatever decisions you need to make, whatever you are currently experiencing, whatever journey lies before you, rest assured, He who called you, is faithful.

You may still be discovering what God is leading or calling you to do, and that’s part of the journey, too! Be patient. Trust. It will likely come and unfold before you when you least expect it. Keep watching. Read His Word. Pray. Wait for His timing. Move when He moves. Follow where He leads.

It’s an exciting and powerful time when shifting from doing things because you can, to do things because you are called.

Wherever you are in the journey, I encourage you to trust Him in it.

To God be the Glory!

No more books is a wonderful site. I have been a member for years now, and continue to love their service. I can order any number of items and have them delivered right to my front door. With a houseful of kids, it’s much easier for me to click and purchase, than load ’em all up in the car and head to the store. I’d rather sip my coffee in my comfy clothes and get it all sent right to me.

So easy.

So convenient.

Unfortunately for this girl, it’s often too easy and far too convenient.

You see, I have a weakness for books. I love gathering, researching, owning and reading books. For whatever reason, it brings me great joy to buy books. I see people share the latest books they’ve read and I jump onto Amazon to read the reviews. More often than not, I order it if it catches my fancy.

I’m a sucker for a good book recommendation.

Case in point, just before typing this post, I went onto Amazon and looked at all of my orders for 2016. I scrolled through the pages and counted all of the books I purchased last year for my personal reading. To clarify, I did not count any cookbooks, school books, books gifted to others, or books for the kids to read. I simply counted how many I purchased for my own enjoyment.

Care to guess how many physical (not kindle-type) books I bought over the year?

I knew it was a lot, but it was quite eye-opening to discover the reality of my obsession.

If I counted accurately, I purchased 29 books in 2016. Twenty-nine!! Oy!!! This may not seem like a lot to some of you, but it’s A LOT for me.

To top it off, I would guess I actually completed only 4 of them. FOUR! [blush] I started many of the books, finished few, and didn’t even crack the spine of the rest.

Y’all, I spent WAY too much money last year on books to, essentially, decorate my shelves. It truly was (is) a guilty pleasure.

This 2017 year is going to be different.  I have put a hold on my spending and committed to purchasing ZERO books for myself this year. If I want to read something, I can pick up one of the books already sitting on my shelves that I ordered last year. If I really want to read a book that I do not own, I’ll borrow it from the library and read it for free. I’m brilliant, I know. haha!

I actually anticipate this no-more-purchasing-books year to be a fairly easy one. The main reason being, I was introduced to almost all of my new books via social media, and primarily through Facebook. Without being on there for the year to see any book recommendations, I won’t even know what I’m missing! YAY!

Now, to go look at my current stash and figure out what I’m going to read next …


(For those interested, I just finished up a beautiful book titled, “The Magnolia Story” by  Chip and Joanna Gaines. What an inspiring book. I highly recommend it and so do a couple of my kids who read and enjoyed it as well! My sister recommends the audiobook version as Chip and Joanna are the ones who actually read it aloud. How fun is that?!)