I've found something to be true in me at times, and the more I talk with others, equally true in them as well. It's this idea that my busyness is something to brag about, as if it were a badge of honor to be worn so others can see how important, productive and crucial I am to the world around me. "How have things been going?", I'm often asked. "Man, it's been crazy busy lately.", I often reply.
Not only do I, and perhaps even you, sometimes tout our busyness around like a trophy, we also use it as a scapegoat. It's not me, we say, it's my busyness that is preventing me from really engaging my neighbors, pursuing my dreams, plugging into my church or really giving myself over to worthwhile things I'm passionate about - things we would most certainly do if life just weren't so crazy busy all the time.
The Right Kind of Busy
Don't get me wrong, there are seasons of life that are nothing short of chaotic and hectic. We've got a lot on our plates and most if not all of it is important - responsibilities we can't neglect and things that just have to get done. These are very real and legitimate places that people frequently find themselves. Busyness is not a trophy for them, it's actually a ball-and-chain.
But there's also times when, if we're honest, our problem is not that we're busy; it's that we're busy with things that don't really matter. It's not the responsibilities in front of us that take away from other things. It's actually the opposite. It's choosing other things - lesser things - that take away from the greater opportunities before us. I don't believe being busy is a problem; I believe being busy with the wrong things is. I don't know about you but I want to lay my head down every night exhausted, not because I spent my energy that day on things that don't matter, but because I spent myself on things that do. The first is exhausting and unfulfilling. The second is just as exhausting but far more satisfying.
It's possible that the perfect season of life you are waiting on before fostering or adopting will never come. When will the crazy busy of life really slow down enough for you to then make it crazy and busy all over again by fostering or adopting? Have you considered that perhaps the parameters you have set to define when you're "ready" may be too narrow? What if they leave no space for you to actually ever feel "ready"? What if you're more ready now than you realize?
This is not to disregard the very real and legitimate things you need to consider before fostering or adopting; things like the health of your marriage, your kids, your finances and your own emotional capacity to bear the weight of broken stories and love the children who come from them. These must be taken into account when considering the best timing to foster or adopt. However, I find for most people it's an issue of time, of busyness and of margin. "We want to foster or adopt," many say, "but life is just so busy right now." Again, sometimes this is valid, but sometimes it's a smokescreen. I'm not one to tell you what it is for you right now - only you, through an honest examination of your own heart, can really determine that. However, I am suggesting you take the time to ask yourself the hard and pressing questions and consider that in the grand scheme of things, there's never really a perfect time to foster or adopt; just a lot of opportunities to say yes despite the many reasons you may have to say no. I suppose faith, on some level, can be defined in that way - choosing to say yes despite all the no's around you.
Let me encourage you, then challenge you
First, the encouragement. Your life is probably crazy busy. But you are far more brave than you realize to say yes despite all the reasons you have to say no, and you are capable of handling far more than you could ever possibly imagine - even if it doesn't feel like it right now. The good news is that Jesus does not call you to control everything in the foster care or adoption process, nor does He expect you to. He actually wants you to be okay with the fact that you can't. Your success in this is not measured by your capacity to keep everything in order; it's determined by your ability to trust that even in the chaos Jesus is beautiful - and even in the mess, so is what you are doing by loving these kids the way that you are. He doesn't expect you to understand it all now; He's simply asking you to trust Him with the next step, and then the next, then the next...
Now, the challenge. Kids in crisis can't afford to wait until it's most convenient for you to care for them. They don't have that luxury. They need you to stop rationalizing what you know God is calling you to do - and just do it. Your "no" is a lot more difficult on them than your "yes" will ever be on you. Perhaps these kids needs your family as much as your family needs these kids. One is given comfort and security for likely the first time in their life while the other is freed from comfort and security, and as a result, actually finds life. Jesus Himself said, "Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it." (Matthew 16:25) In perhaps one of the most counterintuitive and countercultural statements He ever made, we find what life is all about - losing ourselves for the sake of someone else's gain. Hard? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely. What you stand to lose pales in comparison to what everyone, including yourself, stands to gain. There's never really a perfect time to foster or adopt; just a lot of opportunities to say yes to losing yourself despite the many reasons you have to say no.
Jesus Is Better
Before someone pulls the Jesus-juke on this post and says that there is in fact a perfect time to foster or adopt - when God says to - let me be very clear: I agree, the perfect time to foster or adopt is when God says to - but be aware, He may tell you to when it's not the easiest, most convenient or comfortable for you. Obedience for you, then, is about considering the costs and choosing to believe that Jesus is better - that what He wants you to do for these kids is worth it and that He will take care of you every step of the way.
Let me end with this: If you're someone who keeps wondering about it, talking about it and praying about it then you're probably someone that just needs to do it...and most likely somebody that would be great at it. And I understand this post may not be written to your particular circumstances right now. No book, blog or article ever can address the uniquenesses of everyone's situations. It is, however, written to those who are right now, or who have ever been guilty of, rationalizing, justifying and delaying obedience for the sake of their own personal comfort and convenience.
Really, it's written to myself, the chief of all rationalizers and delayers.
But maybe also it's written to you. Only you know.
- Counting the Costs of Fostering or Adopting
- Three Things Foster Parents Don't Have to Be
- Developing a Holistic Orphan Care Ministry in Your Church
- Wrapping Around Foster and Adoptive Families
- Foster Care is Spiritual Warfare
- Diversity, a Guilty Conscience and Finding Your Something in Orphan Care
- To Foster and Adoptive Parents: Reframing Your Season of Struggle
- The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Marriage in Foster Care
- Defining Success and Failure in Foster Care
- Foster Care: Loving a Child That Might Leave
- Foster Care and What I Fear Most For My Own Kids
- Raising the Next Generation of Foster and Adoptive Parents
- Ten Simple Ways Your Church Can Serve Foster Families
- (Re)Humanizing Foster Care
- Foster Care: Why the Church Can Stop Outsourcing Child Welfare
- Rethinking Some Common Foster Care Concerns
- The Sovereignty of God in Foster Care
- Six Things Foster Care Has Taught Me
- The Other Side of Foster Care
- The Beauty and Brokenness of Foster Care
SUBSCRIBE HERE TO BE NOTIFIED WHEN A NEW BLOG IS POSTED:
(Note: You will receive a follow-up email asking you to confirm your subscription.)