Has anyone else ever felt like you are trying to serve more than you care about what kind of care you are able to provide? Walk with me on this for a second.
We are all so freaking busy anymore. Sometimes I feel like when I serve, I overcommit myself because I see it as all or nothing, and as a result, I don’t value it all that much. I still see it as holy, but if I was able to bring a fresh heart to my actions, I’m sure it would be much better quality time for both myself and the people I spend it with. I know that it isn’t about me, but it’s almost as if being busy distracts me from preparing my heart for God’s good grace and the communion I love with others.
When we choose how to serve, there is this idea that how much we serve matters infinitely more than how we serve. I just don’t think that can be true. I have seen people serve with their whole hearts and souls but only do it infrequently, and I have seen people serve consistently but bring to it a hardened heart and lack of focus for what it means to them. Maybe that’s what leads to burnout? What if it were as simple as forgetting to look up? I’m serious.
My mom has this wonderful habit of using words like “opportunity” and thanking people for things. I never noticed it when I was younger, but she has always gone out of her way to do things like buying people donuts or baking brownies or ordering pizza to thank the students that work for her or the people in the maintence department who help her with the greenhouses. I never realized how much her habit of thanking others had rubbed off on me until I started writing resumes and had to begin using language that generally gets listed under “words of flattery”. Now, my mom has to be careful to not get taken advantage of, but she still continues to give back. How she cares for others inspires me, and it is one of the ways that doesn’t make me afraid to grow older because I will grow into that trait if I’m lucky and how great would that be? I admire how she genuinely cares about people.
That being said, she doesn’t always have a ton of time. Like when she was our Girl Scout Troop Leader, we learned to leave places better than you found them, which is an excellent principle to live by. When any of us serves but does it solely from habit, we can’t keep such an annointed mindset with how we treat people. We let true giving fall by the wayside, and feel more drained than when we started.
You can serve with a genuine heart and not do it constantly. I get the feeling that God cares more about how honest and genuine we are in our giving than how frequently or how much we have to give. He knows our limitations. He just wants us to choose him first and live as if a few hours volunteering are part of a continuous attitude and lifestyle of worship. He doesn’t need us to proove anything.