Tuesday, December 10, 2013

When Service is Just Him

Service.  Ministry.  Mission.  Using my spiritual gift(s) in service to God is His plan for this world.

I guess I have always believed that true happiness comes in finding my spiritual gift and then using it to the utmost for Him.

Yes, that's what I thought.  Sounds lofty, doesn't it.  An honor to use my gift given to me by the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, to honor the whole of the Trinity, especially God the Father.

And so I have served:  teaching Sunday school, running a mom's group, writing stuff, producing newsletters, drama work.  Doing.  Striving?  Yes, at times.  But always looking to the next meeting, program, event to fill some unnoticed need in my heart.

Until this summer.

Six years ago He called me (& Hubby) to serve in middle school ministry.  A new wild adventure to let go of the stuffy adult world and play, pray, and sing with some mighty awesome youths!  We felt we were finally in the midst of God's calling for us together--even though we were both in our 50's!  

We were amazed to be used by God to touch the lives of kids who are in the in-between stage, between being children and not adolescents yet.  We loved the singing with actions and praise and many woo-hoos!!  We enjoyed the games--maybe, well, at first.  Each year has shown us that we are too old to dart and reach and tag and run without feeling it afterwards.  

And we loved those kids who could feel comfortable enough to say what was on their minds and in their hearts, who felt safe, not threatened, not judged.  Great questions!  Great sharing!  Great love poured out from God through us into these middle-kids.

Until this summer.

It wasn't a sudden slap on the head or a removal of any strength left in us.  But it was a feeling of discontent.  (See my post The Secret of Contentment)  It was a slow assurance that our time with youth was up.  Too Soon!! My heart cried.  Yet the assurance was there.

Yet, I'm in a doldrum.  "Doldrums" is defined by Webster as "a belt of calms at the Equator".  It's a stillness at the center of the world that sailors hate.  It means being adrift for hours or days, waiting for the next gust of wind to fill the sails and propell them onward.

Some ships could row out of the doldrums, toiling and sweating and striving to get back into the "shipping lanes" that would relieve their tiredness.

But rowing, toiling, striving to move back, forward into the winds is not what God wants from me.  At least I don't think so.

Then, today, July 23, Sara at
Every Bitter Thing is Sweet sara@everybitterthingissweet.com
wrote about this very thing.
 "The only thing I, personally, can uniquely do on this earth — that no one else can — is worship Him through my life. This worship is a construct of God’s, that in some seasons may look like keeping our hands still but our heart alive, and in some seasons it’s crazy messy with the dirt of another’s life in your story.
"This is a call to the mamas and the sick and the broken and the ones who, like I was once, are having their insides re-wired: you aren’t sidelined from mission — nor do you need to buck-up and make yourself do it to feel like you matter — you are invited. Now. To have private stories of encountering the living and active God that may, at times, make your public life look like it lacks impact."
Her words spoke to my heart.
If God is benching me, us, from youth ministry, then maybe it is a call to return to worship with Him in a more intimate way.
For like Sara writes, I am uniquely created to worship God in me.  Emanuel, God with us.  In my heart, in my very being.  He resides there, here, with me, next to me.
Liz Curtis Higgs is another favorite blogger.  I especially enjoy her weekly verse study.  You can find her at www.lizcurtishiggs.com.  Last week she wrote this:
“'The Lord your God is with you',… Zephaniah 3:17
"This is everything we need to know: his name, his relationship with us, and the assurance of his presence. The God of the universe, the one who claimed you long before you claimed him, is 'in your midst' (LEB). I’m telling you, he’s “right there with you” (CJB). Right. There."
Yes, He is right here with me.  And so I wait and worship.

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