Serving Sucks

As believers, we’re supposed to love and serve.

But serving sucks.

I mean, honestly, doesn’t it?

When all I really want to do is listen to a good audio book while puttering around my house, working on pet projects, I resent the intrusion of hostessing obligations or social functions into my schedule.

Or if I want to relax, sip a cup of coffee, and edit photos, it’s frustrating and irritating when my kids need something from me. I might respond like the loving, faithful mommy I think I should be, but inside I feel like the wicked witch of the west.

I’m not saying I shouldn’t rest, have space to be creative, or indulge in a little time to myself. Those things can be good.

But when I live for those things, my heart gets all out of whack.

If the goal of my day is to take care of duty so I can get to what I really want to do (things for myself), I will resent anything that gets in the way of that goal. And guess what? Things will get in the way. That’s just life—life with people, life in a family, life in ministry, life in Christ.

I can maintain the facade of the sweet mother and pastor’s wife, but inside I become a resentful, ungrateful, pouting version of myself.

I may serve anyway when I need to. And that’s good. People may still be blessed by it. That’s good too. But the people closest to me will feel it. And I will be robbed. There will be no joy in serving, and probably very little satisfaction. I will be ungrateful for the times of refreshing and rest I am blessed with, because I will be operating under a thwarted entitlement mentality.

On the other hand, it has been my experience that if I make it my honest to goodness intentional endeavor each day to love, serve, and build up the people in my life, those same obligations and interruptions feel like opportunities.

They don’t necessarily feel easy. They aren’t necessarily what I most feel like doing. But they definitely feel like opportunities to do what it is I am really trying to accomplish. And since I’m not trying to get pesky obligations out of the way so I can get to my own things, I have no cause to feel put upon or inconvenienced. Rather, I feel satisfied. Loving, serving, and sacrificing was what I meant to do.

This doesn’t mean sorrows and burdens go away. In fact, they may just increase. If I serve faithfully, God will trust me with more responsibilities, more hurting people, and more broken situations. But this is honoring. It is good, hard, meaningful work. It is partnering with God.

While I believe (perhaps controversially to some) that God uses the promise of future, heavenly rewards to motivate us to good works, I’m thinking here more of the immediate, cause-and-effect satisfaction of having intentionally given of myself for something that pleases God and edifies others. It’s both a right and a rich way to live. And though I’m not much of a resolution sort of person, it seems like awareness and intentionality in this area is a good goal for 2015.

Happy New Year!

“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”   – Matthew 16:25

To prove I’m not against enjoying good things when they’re given to me, I’ve included a few images of an unexpected time of fun and rest our family was blessed with this year. 😉

Sunset over the snow
Sunrise over the snow
Beautiful wintry day in eastern Oregon
Beautiful wintry day in eastern Oregon
Hot-tubbing in the snow
Hot-tubbing in the snow
Mountain in the sky.
Mountain in the sky.
Snowball fight!
Snowball fight!

3 thoughts on “Serving Sucks”

  1. Amen Crystal. The Christian life is upside down, counter-intuititve and paradoxical isn’t it? Every blessing in losing your life in 2015 – and having some fun and joy along the way!

  2. Good to hear from you. Patrick! Blessings to you and your family also–as you step into this new year together. Praying for an exciting and fruitful year for the school as well.

  3. Hmmm… I gotta say, “…thwarted entitlement mentality…” jumped out at me and made me laugh. I wish I could say I don’t know what that means. Great post. Thanks, Crystal. Happy New Year!

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