To be quite honest, I don’t have a lot of fond memories of serving. I remember feeling overlooked, unappreciated, not entirely trusted and limited. It was as though there was a low ceiling that often made me feel that I couldn’t grow beyond its height. Yes, a lot of this could’ve been how I perceived things to be (which could be self-sabotaging) but nevertheless, I still felt these things.
Not to say that the entire experience was bad (because it truly wasn’t) but there were some moments that I didn’t feel valued or loved. No matter what I did, it never felt like it was enough.
Throughout the years, I’ve heard many similar stories of those who have served at different capacities and have felt the same way. That the amount of work you do, never equivalates to what you get back and this has caused many to ask the following questions:
“Is there a point of serving at all?”
“Why continue helping others when there’s nothing to gain from it?”
“Why allow yourself to be used and taken advantage of until you feel like you have nothing more to give?”
These may sound like very selfish questions- because serving is not about what you can gain, but what you can give. However, questions such as these are very real and obvious concerns for those who have and will serve in the body of Christ.
I for one, have the tendency to get consumed with serving. Give me an assignment and all I want to do is focus all of my attention on what I’ve been given. I’ll get tunnel visioned, and work very hard to accomplish what needs to get done and ignore something as important as self-care. Often times, we can get so busy doing things for the Kingdom, that we don’t see how much is being poured out. We do things at our expense, and eventually, we get burned out. And when you’re running on E, the littlest thing can and will set you off. You’ll begin to lose focus on why you were serving in the first place and get stuck functioning in a way that doesn’t serve God and others well.
You’ll begin to make comparisons with those around you and start to wonder,
“How come I have to do this and they don’t?”
“How come this person is given more (fill in the blank…… guidance, support, positive reinforcement, responsibility, opportunity…..and I’m not?)”
“What am I doing wrong?”
I wish that no one thought this way, but a lot of people do. We’re all human and have insecurities and individual weaknesses that the enemy plays off of. And when we neglect to pay attention and have the necessary conversations to prevent ourselves and others from falling into the traps set by the enemy, eventually, conflict arises.
Sometimes, when battling these negative emotions, you need to take a time out and pray to God in how to best deal with your feelings. We observe and take in a lot while serving, and not all of it is healthy for us. Some of it is just plain toxic and will cause anyone to stumble. You might try to serve in spite of what’s going on but sometimes you’ll have to let some things go just because they’re heavy. Not because you don’t care or don’t feel like serving anymore but because an answer to what’s been plaguing you was never found. And when there doesn’t seem like a reliable person to council without bias, and no one has taught you how to deal with such conditions, you will buckle under the weight of your assignment.
Which leads me to two questions:
1). How do you distribute the weight of so many things and still find the ability to serve God and people well?
2). How do we address this private dialogue within ourselves- this uncertainty that has caused increasing discontentment while serving?
John 12:26 ESV states “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
1 Peter 4:10 ESV states “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
Truth be told, serving others, depending upon your outlook can feel belittling and quite unnerving. Heck, you can’t always choose who you will work with. I know I’ve tried this before. I would only work with those who were easier for me to get along with. Those who already respected and valued me. However, learning how to serve others, places a higher requirement on us than we would like. Sometimes you’ll have to serve alongside some difficult people, and we ourselves may be one of them lol! But serving God with your whole heart and a willing mind doesn’t revolve around how people treat you but flows out from the truth of who you are in Christ.
1 Peter 2:9 NASB states “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
One of the best things about serving is knowing that you’re pleasing God the Father. That you’re working towards a higher goal, that will be rewarded in this life or the next. He’s given us all gifts and talents to serve Him well. As we use those gifts, we begin to serve Him not only out of obedience but with a willing heart. As sons and daughters, we should care what is on our Father’s heart and do what we can to please Him.
Philippians 2:13 ESV states “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
When God gives you His heart, you will have the desire to accomplish His will. You will be motivated to do what He asks, in spite of how you feel. You’ll have the strength. The mindset. The courage and stamina, to do what He has called you to do. But without God’s Yes, Grace and Supernatural Empowerment to undergird us, we will eventually fall short in our doings.
Really, your serving should have more to do with God moving within you than it has to do with any external motivation. No convincing, guilt or manipulation is needed. Our serving should not be reward based but done out of love for Him. And as mature Christians, we should be able to recognize the Holy Spirit moving within us and yield to His voice. Moving at His word, to fulfill what is being asked of us. One thing we have to remember is that we should never serve God religiously- going through the motions just because we’ve grown accustomed to moving that way. But instead, serve God fervently, understanding that there are many ways He has called us to labor for the Kingdom of God. Your work/service is not limited to serving any one person or institution- and there’s nothing wrong if you choose to do so. You’re free to serve within your local church, just as you’re free to serve outside its walls if God instructs you to. But always remember, all instruction should flow from the throne of God, and when it does it’s our responsibility to respond accordingly.
So while serving always remember,
To wait on God’s YES…..
Don’t serve for approval.
Don’t serve to get pats on your back.
Don’t serve for financial gain but serve because God has given you the will and command to do so.
With His will comes grace. And with His grace, you can do anything!
*God is calling each of us to serve Him in a new way- with understanding, purpose, commitment, and a sense of community.
Always remember- God sees what you do. The time you’ve spent. The words you’ve spoken and He has heard your cry for a better way of functioning and serving others. You may not see quick results as you’d like, but you can choose to continue working towards seeing this change manifested through the works of your hands.
You could choose to look at your serving, and think that nothing you do matters.
For example, I could look at my blog and see it as a waste of time. Minimizing the reasons to which God has called me to serve in this manner. Or, I could see it as an opportunity to develop a stronger relationship with Him, as He continues to lead and direct me to do what He has called me to do. I could drag my feet along the way making the journey more intolerable by thinking that nothing I do matters. And at times I have, but I always have to remember that whenever I feel conflicting emotions, I have to make sure that I silence that internal dialogue. Recognizing, that it’s the voice of the enemy. I have to understand that any uncertainty that presents itself is demonic in its intent. Attempting to bring confusion and to create a distraction to keep me from doing God’s will.
While serving, we must remember, that God’s will is our primary focus. Not our own. And although we may face many difficulties in serving, we must continually be reminded of God’s truth found in His word.
Serving is similar to giving an offering. Give what you have prepared in your heart. Give your time, energy, and focus to the works God places in your spirit to do. Use discernment. Have boundaries. And, be very prayerful about each assignment you decide to take on. Serving isn’t easy. And sometimes God will ask more of you than you’ve been accustomed to giving. And although we all can be strong-willed, when God calls upon us, we must learn to purposely yield. And let Him rule and reign over our lives.
At times, you might have to humble yourself like Esther and have an “If it pleases the King” kinda attitude.
You might have to be like Abraham, and lay down something valuable to you, not knowing if what you lay down will get back up. Yet, do it out of obedience to God.
*Serving can be a beautiful experience when you know your why!
While I was in prayer about this topic the Holy Spirit said this to me
“Throw it out as though it never happened”
What is “it” you may ask? The bad experiences. The painful memories. The unfulfilled areas of your life. All the things that allowed you to develop a hesitancy to serve, that wasn’t there before. Rather than accumulating reasons of why you shouldn’t serve, decide to start anew. Build upon a solid foundation. Serve once again, but this time God’s way.
God will give you the grace and will to do what pleases Him even when it feels beyond our natural capabilities. We’re all called to serve God in one way or another, and the truth is that the enemy would love if you decided to never serve again. To be determined to hold onto past experiences and stand your ground. However, that ground is not one that is based upon the word or will of God.
Now, I’m not saying this is only for you. Every word within this blog post applies to me too! This isn’t a point your finger, shake your head sort of deal. We’re all accountable for how we choose to respond to God’s promptings, but even as you discover what to do and which way to go, never stop seeing God as the ultimate prize.
Remember in everything you do, do it unto the glory of the Lord.
Serve in your marriage.
Serve at your job.
Serve your children.
Serve the ministries, within your church and outside its four walls.
Serve carefully and willfully.
Discern when to say YES. When to say NO. And, when to REST!
Now is a good time to clear out the clutter. If this post bears witness with your spirit, then this might be a season where God may have called you to a specific assignment. Your assignment may not be the same as everyone else but embrace it. His direction may require you to start from scratch. Placing new soil down on the ground. Sowing new seeds and then in time seeing what He allows to grow. Or, it might be a season where God wants you to stop everything and lay some stuff down, in order to do some internal work within you. Whichever it is, do it by faith.
Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV states “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
If you don’t remember anything else from this blog post just remember Trust, Acknowledge and Lean:
Lord, I’m going to TRUST you.
Lord, I’m going to ACKNOWLEDGE your promptings.
And, I will LEAN on you to direct the course of my life. And serve you the best way I know how.
There will always be lessons to learn. And things to change within ourselves. But don’t get discouraged. Let your service be honorable before the Lord. Serve Him well. Then allow Him to show you how to serve others.
Continue to let Him use you for His will and purpose and be a light in the midst of darkness!
Shine bright loved ones 😌❤ Be Blessed!