Serving Tired or Tirelessly?
Recently, this question was asked of me: "In what capacity of ministry could you serve in almost tirelessly if God were to open the door?" Almost tirelessly...hmmm. That is a hard question, because I think I've been in a cycle of some state of tired for a few months now. (Thank you very much, COVID-19!) Oh, I still have moments of celebration and joy, and I still see the blessings that God brings daily into our lives. But, when everything is said and done, we've all been living under extra stress - because we've all been dealing with something that we've never experienced before, and we don't know when it will end.
Perhaps, you’ve had some special months this year to rest and reflect, be with your family, do a DIY project and spend time in God’s Word. Or, maybe your reality has been that you’ve been giving 100% since March 2020. Your job is more than demanding, your virtual world is anything but easy to navigate, you can’t work from home and you need childcare or tutoring to just get through the next week – let alone the next semester. On either end of the spectrum, life has not been normal.
In fact, were you aware that there is something called “Pandemic Fatigue”? Yep. In fact, a friend of mine wrote an article for her employer that listed the symptoms that show up after a period of “prolonged or chronic stress.” Check out this list…
- Tired of COVID-19 guidelines?
- Feeling exhausted, or lacking motivation?
- Eating or sleeping more or less than normal?
- Having trouble focusing (brain fog)?
- Snapping or arguing with others?
- Withdrawing from others?
- Feeling edgy or nervous?
Whether you can relate to the specifics in that list or not, the reality is that we’ve all been under stress over the past six months. Shopping has changed. Church has changed. Simply getting gas or a quick bite to eat has changed. (I mean, when was the last time you had to walk back to your car to get a face covering so you could enter a public space?) Yes, we’ve all had a few new things we’ve had to adjust to – whether we wanted to or not. The good news is: We’ve survived! But, sooner or later, it gets harder and harder to keep up the pace.
So, back to the question at hand. If I could serve in any capacity, what would be the way in which I could serve almost tirelessly? What about you? Take a moment to ponder. Get rid of the brain clutter. (You know, the things you “have to do” and even the things you genuinely “want to do.”) What is the area where you can serve in almost tirelessly? You may even think of it as the ministry of your heart or a driving passion in your life.
When I considered what my overriding passion in ministry is – the place I can serve almost tirelessly – God opened my eyes to His view of my life. For the first time, I saw how all the links had been fitting together, and the easy answer for me was found in the ministry of encouragement! Even from a young age, I have always loved listening to others and finding ways to encourage them. I find great joy and personal fulfillment in this area of ministry and would love the idea of doing it all day, every day. Tirelessly!
Then God took me a bit deeper into how He had been using the gift of encouragement in my life. The revelation was totally unexpected, and yet it made so much sense. God had been stretching my gift of encouragement into the ministry of teaching. Wow! I didn’t see that coming, but God showed me how He had bridged that gap in my life.
While those in our first church thought that the new pastor’s wife would be the perfect new teacher for the teen Sunday School class, I had absolutely no experience and no desire to serve in that capacity. Thankfully, my husband had no problem with me declining this request. A few years later at our next church, God opened that same door. I was still clueless about teaching, but I was now open to the idea of temporarily taking on the High School Sunday School class. (It couldn’t be that hard, right?) Amazingly, I stuck with that class - and later taught the Middle School class - for a total of over 25 years, and I can honestly say that I loved nearly every minute of it! During those years, I also discovered great joy in discipling women through a pretty intensive Bible survey class. It’s still incredible for me to consider how God used my gift of encouragement and translated that into teaching. Wow! I was encouraging people with God’s Word!
So, my challenge to you today is this. If you’re tired, rest. It’s okay. Carve out some uninterrupted time for you. (Even 30 minutes can make a difference!) If you need a change of scenery, take a walk or work in your yard. Enjoy some of this cooler fall weather – and breathe deeply! If you’re feeling spent and empty? Read something new in your Bible, or grab a devotional book you haven’t used for years. Ask God to refresh your soul with His words. Sometimes meditating on one word (or verse) is all that’s needed to gain a new perspective on life. Then, take a moment to ask God to bless you with opportunities to serve in the area He created you to serve “tirelessly” within. Trust Him to answer that prayer and watch Him show you how He created you for His glory!
“…Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…Do not be afraid, for I am with you…everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”