The Risk of Being Unavailable

"The Risk of Being Unavailable" by Claire McGarry (

Copyright 2019 Claire McGarry. All rights reserved.

Back before Christmas, my friend, Pam, texted me to ask if there was a day and time when all five members of my little family would be home. Her family had something to drop off for us.


Between my kids’ extracurriculars, my new job, and Christmas prep, there sadly wasn’t a day I could find when we’d be all together. Defeated, I texted back saying, “Don’t worry about it. Thank you for whatever it is. Can we catch up after the holidays?”


Fortunately, Pam was flexible, committed and resourceful. A few nights later, after carpooling kids back from some event, I came home to find two phenomenal corn hole boards on my family room rug. Pam and her husband had custom made them for us! They’re spectacular!


The whole exchange made me realize how much we limit ourselves by being unavailable.


I used to think faith and grace were things I needed to strive for. I thought the harder I worked pursuing them, the more of them I’d acquire. It’s taken me a long time to realize that we can’t strive, reach or grab for either.


Both faith and grace are blessings from God, given because He chooses us. They are gifts, and the rules of gift giving apply: All we can do on our part is become available, and receive.


When we’re moving at a hundred miles an hour, every single day, our vision blurs. Despite God being even more flexible, committed, and resourceful than my friend, Pam, we end up racing right by His gifts, even the ones He leaves right out in the open, like the corn hole boards on my family room rug.


It isn’t until we slow down, become available, and simply receive that we realize God’s been showering us, relentlessly, with what we’ve been pursuing all along. 


We’re halfway through summer, where the structure and craziness of the school year don’t apply. It’s not too late for us to clear some space on our calendars, slow down, exhale, and breathe in the blessings God infuses into everything.


Copyright 2019 Claire McGarry


About Author

Claire McGarry is the author of the Lenten devotional "With Our Savior," published by Creative Communications for the Family/Bayard, Inc. and All is Blessing: Finding God in the Tensions of Life, to be published by Our Sunday Visitor in the fall of 2021. Her freelance work has appeared in various Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Focus on the Family magazine, Catechist magazine, These Days devotional, and Keys for Kids devotional. The founder of MOSAIC of Faith, a ministry with several different programs for mothers and children, she blogs at Shifting My Perspective.


  1. Claire, I am in a season where I am continually reflecting on what I need to simplify. Some years back I realized the positive impact of feeling like I had some “breathing room” on my calendar where I mapped out the different projects I would work on at work, recognizing that often unexpected distractions come up or projects take longer than anticipated, so it helps to have a little extra built in space to accommodate that. During that same time I wrote the word joy on the corner of my mapped out plans so that I would remember if I was not able to serve with joy then I needed to rethink my commitments. It is definitely on-going work, but I agree with you, it is important to prioritize space for relationships and rest – making ourselves available. Thank you for your post. I enjoyed it.

    • Amanda, this is wonderful advice! I especially like the idea of writing “joy” on your calendar. It’s amazing how I do need to be reminded to do things with joy. I also think using the “joy” reminder to gauge whether or not you’re able to take on a commitment is another great piece of wisdom. Thank you so much for reading, reflecting and sharing your ideas!!!!

Leave A Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.