At the end of every year, I ask God to reveal a word to me for the upcoming year. (Click here for last year’s word.) I was in the kitchen cooking something back in December when I asked and a word just came:
I’ll be honest, the word scared me. Serve? Serve who? And how? Where? Questions buzzed around me like a swarm of hornets. I was cringing and waiting to feel those stings.
Would God ask me to serve in similar ways I’d done in the past? Lord, You know how that turned out.
Would He ask me to take on a variety of those heavy tasks like I’d tried to carry before? Lord, You remember how I used to cry at night, begging You to rescue me.
Again, I’m being honest here: I wanted to ignore God. I really did. I didn’t want to think about serving because of what happened in my past.
But then something wonderful happened: God began teaching me what He meant by the word “serve.” He revealed it through the time I spent with Him reading His Word, through sermons I’d heard, and through my past, those things I’d tried that didn’t work.
I think I needed to learn that failing isn’t like wandering through a muddy, dark valley where we hang our heads low and whimper as we crawl out. (Oh, it can be if we want to see it that way.)
Failing can be an experience we share with God, one where He picks us up, pulls the leaves from our hair, and puts His arm around us as He leads us out of that dark valley; all the while giving us eyes that see some good, some lesson that we can learn from the mess we got ourselves into. (If we ask Him to help us.)
Something I needed to learn from my past failures before I could really move forward to “serve” the way He wanted was to listen to Him. Really listen to Him and stop trying to look for a detour that might be faster. And I really needed to stop trying to figure things out, stop trying to fix things.
I make such a mess with all of my “fixing!”
When I finally stopped running in circles in my muddy valley, when I finally stopped trying to fix everything, and when I stopped ignoring God, He explained what He meant:
If I’m being honest again (which I am), I breathed a sigh of relief! Maybe that sounds strange, but I remember the Scripture that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. (Matthew 11:30.)
God doesn’t want to burn us out. We do that enough on our own.
Our loving heavenly Father has wonderful plans, wonderful purposes for us. That’s why it’s exciting, not burdensome and NEVER boring, to serve God.
But what does that mean exactly?
Well, I know what He has revealed to me for my life: I am supposed to stop running away from God’s calling (my name isn’t Jonah!), stop making apologies to the world because I’m “JUST” a stay-at-home mom (which means I stop acting like a dog with its tail between its legs like I’m lazy and doing something wrong and should be ashamed – but that’s a whole other topic!), and be the best wife and mom I can be. And it’s time I step fully into my calling as a writer. No more doubts. No more wavering. It is my calling. It’s time I take it seriously.
I’m so excited to see what He’s going to do through my finally-surrendering-to-His-will heart, what things He will pour into me that I may spill out and share with others. And really, I’m honored to serve Him in ways that I can love Him even more.
Serve. What a beautiful word.
“But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.” (1 Samuel 12: 24 NIV.)
“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” (Romans 12:11 NIV.)
(Photo from Pexels.)