As Christians, we are called to live a life of service to God. This almost always means a life of service to other people too. The Apostle Paul talked about his life being 'poured out' on behalf of others. That is my goal in life, to allow God to pour out my life in service to others.
It is often difficult, but not impossible.
The first step always seems to be a realization that God did not give me this life to live selfishly. So instead of trying to find ways to make myself happy, I need to look for ways He wants me to serve others...then I find true joy.
Difficult, but not impossible.
How do we serve others? Well, sometimes it's kind of like our offerings at church, where we shouldn't let our right hand know what our left hand is doing... sometimes.
The reality is that our children need to see us serving if they are to grow into individuals who learn to love and serve God with their own lives. We should be setting an example. Then we can be like Paul, when he said 'follow me as I follow Christ.'
So how do YOU serve others? Think about that for a moment before you read on.
Maybe you watch another Mom's children so she can attend Bible study, maybe you cook meals for the local homeless shelter, maybe you give money to support a missionary. Whatever you are doing- continue on!
Then ask God: should you be doing more, or are you right where He wants you to be?!
This life of service is a balance.
One of my favorite passages of Scripture is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
'Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.'
My oldest daughter found it strange that this is one of my favorites, because she said "but you're always going and doing!"
True, I am often going and doing. But I am focusing on what God tells me to go and do. I cannot be disobedient to His will for my life and still find joy. I am so thankful for a husband who understands my need to serve. I keep a planner at home, and a calendar on my phone, and I trust God to give me the strength and time needed to do His work. My first desire is to serve God. He directs me to serve my husband and children, and then He blesses me with other opportunities as well.
So if my week looks like this: homeschooling the girls, paying the bills, working at night, running a 4-H meeting, helping friends prepare for conventions or speaking engagements, answering questions and giving directions at Conner Prairie, signing at church, and planning dinner every night... well, you might only see a part of it and wonder if I'm very organized or not. Wonder away, I'll continue to go where God leads and do what He wants.
Sometimes people think I am doing too much, sometimes they probably think I don't do enough. It really doesn't matter to me what YOU think, it matters what GOD thinks.
I have found that He is a much better organizer than I am. So I listen to His voice for when to say "yes" and when to say "no." Sometimes, I get tired. He understands my human limits. Often when I feel as thought I have been used up, He provides a wonderful respite, a small time of rest to once again focus on how awesome it is that God would allow me to join Him in His Kingdom's work.
I have learned that in order to be poured out in service for others, I need to first be filled up by the Holy Spirit. If you're not being filled, you run empty in a hurry, and your service is shallow and self-seeking, not God honoring.
So first- go be filled! Ask Him what he wants you to be doing, and remember that you are to do the serving with HIS strength, not your own.
Moms serve everyday. Sometimes that is all He wants you to do, to be a wife and Mom. That is enough.
Sometimes He calls you to have a job outside of the house to help with the family's bills. That is a three-way discussion between God, your husband, and you. (Know ahead of time that some people will not understand this calling that God gives some of us... that's OK, maybe God has called them to something different. Focus on what He is calling YOU to do.)
Maybe your children are older, or younger, and God has more planned for you. Don't be afraid to ask Him. He will give you the strength.
It may be difficult, but it is not impossible.
So whether you are being called to volunteer at church, with a 4-H club, at the local dance studio, or to tutor at the community center, know that He has the perfect plan for your life.
A final word of advise... expect that plan to change over time.
Serve in His strength, and find joy. Deep, deep joy that the world cannot comprehend!