Sometimes it Takes a Toddler

As I have demonstrated over and over again through this blog (and many other life circumstances), I tend to be a little slow on the up-take.

Yes, I am a college grad. In elementary education.

I was on the Dean's List.

I have a long list of resume-worthy descriptions of myself. None of which make me immune to the density that sometimes overtakes me. I guess maybe it's not so much density as plain old self absorption.

Let me give you a perfect example.

I may have mentioned that I recently read the book Crazy Love. If you haven't read it, you should. It will change your life.

Now, I tend to exaggerate...just a tad...every now and then, but I couldn't be more serious about this. I am pretty sure it was the most challenging book I have ever read. When I say challenging, let me clarify: it was an easy read, but it made me rethink so many things in and about my life. You should go buy it/borrow it/check it out. right now.

One of the main points that Chan conveys in the book is that we need to take much more literally Christ's command to love our neighbor as ourselves. How? Well, it's obviously going to be a different call on everyone's life. I appreciated that he acknowledged that. It could be through giving money, serving, sacrificing time or comfort of resources. He gave a lot of good real life examples.

I also really appreciated that Chan was bold and unapologetic about saying that, for some people, it would be a very radical call. He says something along the lines of "I'm not saying that everyone is called to quit their job and move to Africa to be a missionary. But, are you? Maybe." The point is that we are quick to claim that we are "called" to only things that we want to do and feel comfortable doing.

Enter: me.

I could give you hundreds of examples of how I am a lot of talk and not a lot of walk. I am an outright hypocrite about so many things. In all reality, until I read that book, I didn't think too much of my lack of faith-in-action. I am easily caught in the trap of comparing myself to everyone else and thinking I'm ok.

You know how it goes.

You put your life up next to someone else's and you start tallying.

"Well, at least I don't struggle with _____".

"She might be better about_____...but at least I am doing ______".

"Even though he has_________...at least I have my act together when it comes to _______".

And, seriously...what's the point of that??

We are called to:

Feed the hungry
Give drink to the thirsty
Clothe the naked
Shelter the homeless
Visit the sick
Visit those in prison
Bury the dead

(Matthew 25)

It doesn't matter if I feel like doing it.

It doesn't matter if it's not convenient.

It doesn't matter if other people don't make it a priority.

It doesn't matter if other people don't think it's a good idea.

It's what we are called to do.

Why is that so hard for me sometimes?

So, all of that to FINALLY get to the real story.

The other day I was driving somewhere in Ames with the kids. I saw a man walking on the sidewalk. I have seen him before. I don't know his story, but I know he's homeless. I passed by him without a second thought.

Until about 30 seconds later.

Remember the part where I am slow??

So, after I realize that I am an idiot...about 1000 things start going through my head.

"What should I have done? I have kids in the car. I don't know if he is mentally stable...some people say he's not. Other people say he is. How much should I consider my own safety? Maybe if Joe was in the car...would that have actually changed things? Does it matter? I didn't do anything. I could have at least bought some food for him. Is that lame? Shouldn't I be taking that verse in Matthew 25 literally? Does that mean I...like...bring him home with me?"

Ridiculous, I know. It's hard to be in my head sometimes. (To be quite honest, I am still a little confused on what this should look like - especially when there are kiddos involved. Any ideas?)

About this time, Roman pipes up from the back, singing a song at the top of his lungs, from the Veggie Tales movie, "Jonah".

"If you believe God's love is true then you should know what you should do"

And I actually start thinking about Jonah's disobedience.

I know, I know.

If I claim to belong to the King, then I need to be serious about people being able to see Him when they come in contact with me.

I should know what to do.


  1. Wow. So true. We know what we should do. And I agree... sometimes it just takes a toddler/preschooler/other kid to remind us. That's one reason why they are such blessings!

  2. Great post, Ruth Ann! Really... very challenging and a lot to think about. But don't beat yourself up too much. God will give you opportunities to serve that won't put your children or yourself at risk. Perhaps carry granola bars or another self-wrapped food item in the car with you for the next time you see this gentleman. Something easy you could share with him without getting out of the car, etc. I dunno. It's tough to decide how to help sometimes.