Living in the Boundaries of Faith

With the season of singleness comes great responsibility.

I start most days with multiple cups of coffee, too often the strong stuff from Starbucks. This lovely tradition, which is a fancy word for addiction in this case, stems from the need for something to jump start my energy. I need all the energy I can get every day, and coffee is one of my sources for that.

The funny thing is that my energy flows in such an inconsistent manner that I’m not sure the coffee does anything, and when I think about my most energized times it very rarely comes from an enormous amount of sleep or coffee. It has way more to do with what I am doing and who I am doing it with or for.

Right when I graduated from college, I lived at home without a job and found myself with an exorbitant amount of energy to outpour and very little responsibility. I experienced despair, darkness, creating toxic relationships, and feeding the mental battle that Satan was raging within.

“I experienced despair, darkness, creating toxic relationships, and feeding the mental battle that Satan was raging within.”

Now I am in a place where I am following the Lord and clear on expending my energy in ways that will further the kingdom of God. Having that knowledge and forethought plays a large role in my decision making on how I spend my time and use my gifts.

This is where the perfectly imbalanced scale of energy vs. responsibility comes into play. I learned the hard way that having too much energy and not enough responsibility paves the way for Satan to have a field day.

The tension I now feel fluctuates between:

– Having equal amounts of energy and responsibility leaving no room or need for the Lord because I can manage it all on my own.
– Having way too many responsibilities that stretch me so thin that none of my gifts or time are beneficial to anyone because I have very little to give to each.
– Having a few more responsibilities than energy allotted, allowing for a need to seek the Lord and space and opportunity for the Lord to move and work—this is living within the boundaries of faith.

We are called to empty ourselves and pour ourselves out for the sake of others (Philippians 2:7). Seeking out opportunities to live within the boundaries of faith will allow us to learn what pouring ourselves out really looks like.

I say that singleness comes with great responsibility because I feel the weight of this season of life that allows me to focus more of my energy in serving, in the church and in areas where I’m able to use the gifts I have been given. The most valuable gift in this season is time and available energy. We can do so much when single because a large portion of our energy is not being poured out in a marriage or into a home with children. Of course someone who is married or has children has much to contribute within the church, but the immediate needs for your energy look different.

“The most valuable gift in this season is time and available energy. “

Unfortunately, I find myself hanging out way too often in the second category where I am stretched and take on too much.

Being prayerfully intentional about the opportunities for responsibility that are presented to me is important when trying to decide if I should take on the next thing. I also have to make sure that I seek wisdom on which ones to take on and which ones to give to someone else. Having people who are willing to speak truth, who know when you are stretched too thin, and who know when you are not serving at your greatest capacities, is crucial to using your energy well.

I will always fluctuate between the different levels, but when you find that imperfect balance where your responsibilities are slightly greater than your energy, and there is this sweet dependence on the Lord—that is where you find the greatest sense of peace, clarity, and joy.

Caroline Reynolds

Caroline teaches 2nd grade in Greenville. When she isn’t educating the youth of America or babysitting, she can probably be found going for a long run, at a Clemson athletic event, maybe reading a book, or hanging out with her friends. She loves to travel and enjoys photography. Caroline attends our Downtown campus.