Unnecessary

“No, that won’t be necessary.”

“No, really – it’s fine. It’s fine.”

“You don’t have to do that.”

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Have you ever said these things after someone is kind to you? I have. I can hear myself even now . . .

Today, I got a note in the mail. It was from a woman I admire.

She wrote me, thanking me for spending time on something that is important to both of us. She took pains to take out monogrammed stationary, hand-write her gratitude and encouragement, place it in an envelope, apply a stamp and place the note in the mail box.

All of this effort to say thank you for coming to her house for a couple hours on a Monday evening.

It was completely unnecessary. I was glad to have done it. I loved being there. I learned new things about people I enjoy spending time with and had all I could drink bottled water at my fingertips. It was special, it was encouraging – but it was nothing.  Not a burden – not an imposition.

It might have stayed nothing – if it weren’t for the note.

Maybe you live your life like I do – almost irrevocably busy. One thing to the next. I have my marriage, my kids, my job, my church, my people. It seems like most of the time someone or something I love gets missed because all the other people and things I love usurp me. I often feel reduced to only what I MUST do.

There is wisdom in not taking on things you need not do. Andy Stanley says it this way: “Only do what only you can do.” This is vital wisdom in determining what to take on and when. Only I can be wife to my husband. Only I can be mother to my kids. I only get one shot there.

With young kids and a busy life, I sometimes feel like there is little room for anything that can be deemed unnecessary. In fact, I often pride myself on removing the unnecessary from my life. I’m acting with wisdom, right?

There are unnecessary meetings, unnecessary conversations, and even unnecessary relationships. I feel so accomplished when I can narrow my scope to only the things that apply specifically to today.

And then, I get a note in the mail.

I think to myself, this was so unnecessary. And I’m so thankful.

I occurs to me that some of the very best things in life are unnecessary.

A good book on a rainy afternoon . . . a fire in the fireplace  . . . coffee with a friend  . . . gifts . . . seeing the sun rise . . . face to face conversation when you could text . . . marshmallows in your hot cocoa . . . forgiveness . . .

I want to do more unnecessary things. Deep down, these are the things which give me the most joy.

I want to encourage others when I don’t have to – listen when it doesn’t suit me – give without expectation – make phone calls and visits – serve wholeheartedly – and always dance, especially when there is no music.

This is the example of my friend who wrote me the note – and this is the example of my Savior.

We do not believe in a God of only the necessary. What a drab and dreary world that would be . . .

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.” Ephesians 2:8

It is completely unnecessary that I be freed from the brokenness that once claimed me – I cannot fathom the cost – It is completely unnecessary for God to choose me, love me and rescue me in spite of my failings . . .

It is completely unnecessary, and it is my greatest joy. 

I am thankful there is so much more to life than what we MUST do – we get to live freely and love deeply as we are deeply loved. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some notes to write. 

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