Wednesday 17 August 2022

Letting God's work be God's work

July was incredibly busy for me, with my brother and his family visiting from the UK, a whole bunch of unexpected fuss associated with Just Kai preparing to be at The Justice Conference in September, and supervising a student (a first for me) doing a commissioned (paid!) research project for Just Kai.  At the end of it all, I badly needed a holiday!

I'd really hoped to do some research into coffee, so that we could combine that with existing research into biscuits, sugar, tea and hot chocolate to make a 'morning tea guide'.  This felt like a useful resource to offer at The Justice Conference, where most people attending would be church members, and most churches serve morning tea!  But, we also had a holiday scheduled for the middle two weeks of August and, a day or two before that started, I realised I had to let that go.  Hopefully we'll be able to work on that after the Justice Conference instead.

So, Saturday 10 days ago, we drove up to Whangarei to visit Martin's parents.  It was good to see them, but I initially found I was still doing so much Just Kai work.  I was super-stressed, and didn't at all feel like I was on holiday :-(

I was thinking about this on the Monday, and felt God say to me really clearly: "You're not acting like it's My work".

I don't often hear such clear words from God.

So, on the Tuesday, instead of getting stuck back in, I took some time with my journal, writing out stuff I was worried about.  Just then, I'd learned that the panel I was supposed to be on for The Justice Conference had been scheduled at a time of day when my brain is usually fried.  It just didn't feel possible to do it then; but what would happen if I said that?  There'd already been a bunch of hiccups with the panel - would they just give up on it?  Would they say there was no choice?  I felt a huge responsibility to do the panel, and didn't know what to do.  But I couldn't forget what God had said, either.  So I said to God: "I want to be on this panel to get the word out about slavery in food.  But you haven't given me the energy to do it at that time.  So I'm going to tell them that I can't do it at that time, and if that means they say I can't do it at all, you'll need to find another way to get the word out."

And we were in the process of getting T-shirts printed for Just Kai.  The person who was doing it was highly recommended on the Avondale Facebook page but, at least in English, was not at all communicative.  So, I'd surrendered my expensive blank Joyya T-shirts to him, paid him a remarkable amount of donated money, and now had to trust he was doing what I wanted with them!  I was really stressed - what would I do if they were all wrong?  Would it be OK to get other T-shirts printed elsewhere by someone who I could communicate with?  But how would I find the time or energy to do that?  And, even if I could, how could I slot 'ethical' T shirts into that?  So again, I said to God: "I wanted Just Kai T-shirts so we could better convey your message - so we'd look professional and people would trust us, and so our team was easily identifiable so people could ask us questions when we were out and about at the conference.  I've done my best to spend the money donated for this responsibly.  But if it all goes wrong and we don't get usable T-shirts out of it, then you'll need to find other ways to achieve those goals, because I just can't see how to try anything else with the time and energy remaining."

It was super-hard.  I cried a lot writing those words - it felt huge to 'give up' and not take responsibility for those things.

But it was needed.  And those things are true.  Just Kai is God's work, not mine, and He'll give me more energy if He needs me to give more energy to it.  So I don't need to push myself to give more than I have.

After that, the rest of the holiday was more holiday-ish.  There was still a bunch of emails that needed answering.  I was interviewed by Radio Rhema on the Wednesday (a recording which will go to air on the 24th - I think between 5 and 6pm).  But Martin and I also borrowed his parents' bikes and spent a morning mooching around town and eating yummy food, and on the Friday we took his Mum out for a picnic at the (remarkably scenic) local water reservoir.

We came home on Saturday, but are still on holiday this week.  I'm still struggling a bit, I think just because I'm really tired - there's heaps of 'tired' to come out, which isn't much fun.  Sunday and Tuesday I just had no energy and was quite struggly, but Monday I enjoyed going for a swim, and then made po'e for the first time in years.  And today Martin and I watched a joyous wee documentary about the puppeteer who plays Elmo, then went out for a yummy lunch at a northern Chinese BBQ place in Avondale.

It turns out Martin doesn't much like po'e, so there's been plenty of helpings for me :-)

On Tuesday, Martin also picked up the new Just Kai T-shirts, and they're really well done.  And the panel for the Justice Conference was re-scheduled with zero fuss...

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