But I Am the Steward of My Time and Availability

I am the Steward of My Time and Availability - Visionary Womanhood

A couple of days ago I shared an excerpt from one of Elisabeth Elliot’s books. This little gem encouraged us to be available to God to do whatever He called us to.

One of the ways that the Enemy can really mess with our female heads is to make us think God wants us to be available to every Wemmick that calls out our name. Women tend to feel guilty if they can’t answer every single call. (Not every woman is like this – there are some people who don’t hear calls at all, but since I can’t relate to that, I don’t care to speak to that.)

What We Want From Ourselves

I’ve had a huge battle with this in my own life. It’s hard for me to just say no to people. As I’ve grown older, I’ve gotten better at it out of necessity (there are only so many hours in a day), but I still FEEL guilty. I FEEL like I’ve failed someone. I FEEL like I might have hurt their feelings.

As I’ve reflected on this issue in my own life, I’ve also had to come to grips with an uncomfortable fact.

I am a messed up, self-centered, prideful Wemmick.

The very thing I don’t want to be. The very thing I’ve worked my butt off to avoid. I prefer to think of myself as, well… a legend. A rock star wife and mom. A successful homeschooler/business owner/writer.

(Yes. I’m choking.)

But I have to level with you, and I completely understand if you unsubscribe immediately. I would. (Jeepers, I’ve tried. But I’m stuck in this skin.)

So that’s the first point I want to establish here. When we like to think of ourselves in this idealized fashion – and we work hard to get the “outside of the cup” to look real purty-like so we can imagine that our idealized self is our true self (and hopefully everyone else will also buy our creative fabrication) – we do that out of a sense of pride. Or to use an uglier word: arrogance.

Wemmicks like us can’t say “no.” To do so is to fail. And failing is bad. And we have to be “good” so we can like ourselves, and everyone else can like us too.

But accepting ourselves and our limitations is critical. And saying “no” is essential to success.

What Others Want From Us

Everyone wants something. We’ve all got needs. Some people are healthy and have learned how to get those needs met in healthy ways. Some people are not-so-healthy and get their needs met parasitically. (Think of a tick on a horse. Have you ever seen one of those after it’s been allowed to suck for a while? Not pretty.)

Wemmicks are thrilled to be able to inform us of how we can best use our time. They’ve got 3,890 ministry opportunities, 20,435 problems to unload on you, and 19,354 desires they would appreciate your fulfilling. Now, please.

And then you multiply that by 200,897,574,388,294,710 Wemmicks – and you’ve got yourself a serious job. You might be tempted to think your name is God. But it’s not. And that’s a problem right there. What to do?

What God Wants From Us

It’s simple, really. We absolutely MUST live, not for ourselves, not for others, but for God. He has the perfect balance for us. His yoke is built with just the right pressure and weight for us. Sometimes it seems heavier than we can bear – and those are opportunities to snuggle up real close to Him and NEED Him to help us. But when we simply take on what HE gives to us – and no more – we find that sweet spot of productivity and peace.

Let’s talk about this more next time.

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Natalie Klejwa is a Wemmick, loved by the Woodcarver, wife of 22 years to Joe, and mother to 9 Wemmicks ages 2-20. She is a business owner (Apple Valley Natural Soap), founder and administrator of the Visionary Womanhood blog, publisher and contributing author of Three Decades of Fertility, You Can Do it Too! 25 Families Share Their Stories, and The Heart of Simplicity: Foundations for Christian Homemaking.

You can hear her being interviewed on Kevin Swanson's Generations with Vision radio program.

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10 thoughts on “But I Am the Steward of My Time and Availability

  1. Yes, it’s all about understanding what God wants us to do. And there is a lot of opportunity for self-delusion, angst, etc in determining that. I’m glad that I have a husband who gives good feedback to my ‘what do I do?’ questions.

    • I agree with you, Annie Kate! My husband helps me to not get in over my head. Also, he is a great sounding board for many of my ideas. He always takes me back to what is already on my plate and helps me to see clearly what I can and can’t do. I love this!

  2. I deal with an issue related to this. I have to say no to a lot of requests because my time is COMPLETELY wrapped up in little ones. It makes me feel useless because there are so many ministries that I feel are calling to me, but, in this season, I just can’t do it. I know God wants me to be available for my children right now, and that is my calling, but it doesn’t erase the feelings of guilt and selfishness when I have to say no.

  3. Natalie, again your article was perfect for what the Lord has been impressing upon me lately. Every single one of your articles lately has been just what I needed to hear. Visionary Womanhood still isn’t failing as basically-the-only Christian women’s blog that I read…

    The topics in this post led me to think of the place of prayer in our lives. When I am diligent to make something a matter a prayer, the Lord is always faithful to guide me and give peace, or not, regarding a decision. Of course, not always right away. But I think prayer can be a much-neglected means of grace, as instead we try to make room in our lives for too many things that really are “good things”–just maybe not for ourselves and at this moment. Maybe someone else of our acquaintance would be perfectly happy to fill the same opportunity, if we pray for the Lord to provide someone for that need. I’ve seen this happen time and time again.

    If you need any ideas of what else to write about, I’d love to hear your ideas about how unmarried women can prepare right now for keeping the proper, godly mindset about responsibilities—as life will probably only get busier and start placing more demands on us.

    • Thank you for bringing up the subject of prayer. You are so right. And I will tuck your suggestion into my idea box for the future. Since I’m on a roll with this whole women and their work thing – it might be sooner than later. :)

  4. I needed this post Natalie. Right now I’m in a busy season and have been feeling, well, just busy I guess. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and while everything I’m doing at the moment I truly believe is from God, I know that I should not feel guilty for turning down more things to add to my plate.
    During this particular busy season though I feel like God has been telling me to depend more on Him and lean closer into His love and presence. When I read this post, especially the sentence about snuggling close to Him in these times, it gave me reassurance. Thank you!! God bless you!!

  5. I love this post. SO convicting. I’d love to hear you expound more on what it looks like to live “not for ourselves, not for others, but for God.” I know what it means in theory, but how does one really live it out? What does that look like? It’s more than just having a “quiet time” or going to church on Sunday. I was reading today about being a foreigner in this world, and I suspect living for God happens as we view life through that lens…

    • Yes. And sometimes living for God might mean making other Christians around us unhappy. I’ve gotten God and People mixed up a lot in my life. People love to play the role of God.

  6. This is an excellent post, Natalie! I have had to wrestle with saying no to a number of things, but the absolute hardest was with my parents. My elderly parents live next door and have needed care. However, my husband works 2 jobs and is a Pastor and I have 3 children home that I am homeschooling and I have a business on Etsy. The guilt came when I felt like I needed to pull back in caring for them. My sister (my only other sibling) didn’t understand and felt like I was leaving her to do all the care. As I cried out to the Lord, He gently said to me, “honoring your parents is important but just because you are not the one directly caring for them, doesn’t mean that you are neglecting them”. So we now have a couple of wonderful woman that come and care for them on a daily basis. My sister has chosen to continue doing more than I am, but I still have one shift that I do a week and this seems to be the perfect balance for us. I think that sometimes the reason we can’t say no, is because we want to “own” it. We can’t see that there are others that can do a wonderful job and sometimes even better than what we can do ourselves. It was a lesson for me in being a “home manager”. :)