My tulip beds, at the end of May. Planted in the dark so many months ago, shovel plunged at the last minute by flashlight into fall-hardened ground in a desperate attempt to bury pregnant bulbs before Colorado’s first blankets of snow came, they defied planting dates and gravity to bring us joy every day this spring.
The season has come to an end, though. Several have dropped, petal edges bending downward, beginning the return piece by piece to the ground after their weeks of display.
This one, she doesn’t want to let go.
When I caught her nodding at me a few weeks ago, I had to smile. That color defies description. It’s caught somewhere between hot pink and orange, too vibrant to be coral, too sunny for fuschia. And she may have one fringed petal heading south, but she’s gonna blaze in all her glory until it’s time to go, baby.
Reminds me a tad of myself.
I think I’ve felt like “too much” pretty much all my life. I read too many books, too late at night. Talked too much, made too many messes, wanted too many things.
Now, as an adult, I’m labeled too idealistic. Too busy. Too cerebral. Too scattered.
I’m still too messy. And that’s for real.
Trying to tone it down hasn’t worked for me so far. Time and its inevitable disappointments and difficulties have worn me down a bit, I suppose. There are probably more than a few fringed petals heading south.
But I still have a blaze at the center of my heart.
As we’re working on developing the non-profit we’re directing, The F4Foundation, people keep encouraging me to narrow things down. Focus on one area. Get more concentrated.
But plugging into the heart of God has been like attaching to a fire hydrant. There’s just compassion for so many things. Jen Hatmaker put it like this in a post for she and Brandon’s new outreach, The Legacy Collective …
“We meant to only care a little, or just about one category at any rate, but the crazy thing about opening your eyes to the marginalized is that you can see them all. You meant to only see the abandoned children but you accidentally see their economically disadvantaged parents. You planned to just address the regular homeless guy on the corner but you soon crash headlong into the under-resourced mentally ill. We said yes to kids and then adopted their whole communities. We committed to local and picked up Africa.”
Yes. That, all day long.
When people tell me I need to narrow my focus, I’m afraid all I can do is blink. A little coral, a little fuschia, a little fringed and drooping a bit, I’m still ablaze. And the tricky thing is, God’s heart is BIG. It’s not narrowly focused. When Jesus walked the earth, He taught–but He didn’t just teach. He fed hungry people. He calmed storms. He raised men from the dead, blessed widows, spoke words of life to women, and took children on His knee.
Have you ever felt like you were too much, too?
I have news for you: You’re perfectly you. If you’re a writer and speaker and painter and horseback rider and singer and baby-whisperer and gardener and surfer … well, that’s just right. And if you love the poor and the marginalized and church people and prostitutes and children and the elderly and somehow you want to do something about all of it, don’t let anyone tell you you’ve got to narrow it down and put your empathy in a box.
If God’s heart beats within you? It’s bound to leak out all over the place.
And maybe, just maybe … that’s a good thing.
If you’d like to learn more or join us in being “too much” at the F4Foundation, click here!