Deciding how to serve…

I’m pretty sure there is a badge of shame for stay at home moms who can’t cut hair. It saves a lot of money and it seems so simple—especially since I only have to do boy hair cuts. No major styling going on. But somehow, I mess it up every time. There’s just something about it that I can’t get. (I suspect it might be the same thing that makes me lousy at pool and incompetent to follow a map.) Still, I keep trying. After paying stylist prices a few times for cuts that grow out in three weeks, I tell myself it can’t be that hard. And so it is that another round of butchery commences.

I did this just two days ago. Now my youngest son’s hair is way too short in large, uneven, and obvious swaths over his ears—and a couple of patches have what look like rake marks running through them. I don’t know how I did that. The kid is currently a walking billboard for my ineptitude. Timing was great too. His fourth birthday was today. The new do was captured and digitalized with each and every adorable little Kodak moment. Sigh…

That freshly and awkwardly trimmed head energetically bobbing around my house (along with some free association on my part) brought to the surface an unlikely question that periodically rattles around in my head.

What determines how we should serve in the body of Christ?

I mean, we all have things we’re particularly gifted at…and things we’re not. We have things that are enjoyable and satisfying to us…and things that aren’t. But are those really the deciding factors?

For many years I was one of those who assumed that if it was something I enjoyed, it probably wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing. And conversely, if the very thought made my stomach turn, that was confirmation for me to step out. I’m over that now. But a realization that horror and incompatibility aren’t sure indicators of an assignment from God doesn’t answer the question.

I’ve heard it said that if you don’t love it, or if  it doesn’t fit like a glove and exploit your greatest giftings, then it’s not the place for you. I have a problem with that. I probably wouldn’t if we lived in a world where the was no sin or disobedience. But when the person who was best suited for the task gets greedy or lazy or rebellious and disobeys, doesn’t it still need to be done? Are we to assume that there is an infinite number of equally gifted people waiting in line for the job? In my mind, it seems like this situation requires that sometimes we step into roles that we are less than thrilled about.

I’m not advocating permanently filling a position that we despise or hammering away at a task to which we are so ill suited that it would be better left undone—especially if guilt, manipulation, or blind compulsion are among the motives. Still the idea that personal strengths and passions are the primary criteria for choosing who to love and how to serve seems inadequate. What do you think?

And by the way…it could be argued that I am so ill suited to taking scissors to hair that it would be better left undone.

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8 thoughts on “Deciding how to serve…”

  1. Yes, hair is obviously God’s special gift to your boys. You are clearly to leave it alone 🙂
    As for the question, I think our delights and gifts are good signs of what God has for us to do. But that he will only ever expect us to do what we love to do narrows the scope of his call somewhat. And sometimes I don’t know what I’m good at or love because I’m too scared to “get out of the boat”. My own disobedience also makes me less able to hear God’s call so, sometimes (often), I need to be pushed.

    1. I often think of Gideon and his unwillingness to do what God was calling him to do. God saw his hidden potential with God’s strength and called him to it anyway. Yes, do what you love for God’s kingdom, and listen obediently for His calls, too. : )

  2. I didn’t even notice the haircut because I saw the great big smile he was sporting in the picture with the cake : )

  3. This is for real funny! Thanks for starting my day with a big grin! There is a difference between being stretched in our faith or just being disobedient (Jonah to Nineveh) and just being plain bad at the “haircuts” in life. And God will give the wisdom and discenment to know the difference. We should use our gift and talents. What we are gifted at will draw others. You’re a wonderful writer. Maybe you could publish some of your stuff and make a little money for haircuts! Just saying. 🙂 Greg

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