Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wanting to Matter.

Have you ever had those days where you've just sat back, and wondered if your life really matters, or if everything you're doing is in vain and will ultimately just be forgotten? I've been thinking about that a lot recently. For the past couple of years, I'm seen myself get caught in this pattern where I feel as though I'm being ministered to more than I am ministering to others. When this happens, I begin to feel like my life doesn't matter, and I'm not doing anything worthwhile.

I then have to stop and catch myself from this line of thinking, because it can be very dangerous. Who am I to say if something I do matters or not? I don't have to be like Mother Theresa, or even like anyone else on the earth.

This truth really sank into me last week during Moody's Mission Conference. The very first speaker did a wonderful job opening up the week by saying that our lives are not about how much we serve the Lord, but rather about our hearts for the Lord and how much we love Him. Let me explain.

In our American culture especially, I really believe that we get so caught up in the "go" aspect of our faith. We feel like we have to constantly be doing things to serve the Lord, and if we're going through a dry spot in our service to Him, then we've backslidden or we're more focused on ourselves and we're not doing enough. We compare ourselves to other people to gauge whether or not we're doing enough to serve Him. But honestly, have we really thought about whether or not that's the right attitude to take toward things?

I have done this more times than I can count. Especially at Moody, it is so easy to get caught up in comparing myself to other people. I know multiple people who are involved in several ministries besides their required PCM (Practical Christian Ministry), and here I am, only involved in my PCM, and that's it. And I hold babies for it. I mean, what kind of ministry is that? I'm not working with the homeless, I'm not teaching English to refugees, I'm not working with inner-city kids. I'm just holding babies at my church for an hour once a week. That can't possibly be enough.

But honestly... It really is. My heart's desire is that I would be more available to be involved in ministry, but sometimes life just doesn't work that way. I have a total of 20 credits that I'm taking this semester (including internship things), I have a job that I work at least 15 hours a week at (or more), I have a long-distance relationship to keep up with, and I now have a wedding to plan. That honestly doesn't leave a lot open for organized ministry, except on Sunday mornings.

God doesn't judge me based on how many hours I take for organized ministry during the week. Too often I make the mistake of thinking that's the case, but it's really not. What matters is my heart. What am I doing to care for it? Am I spending enough quiet time with Him that I'm able to hear His voice in my life, and I'm willing to follow Him? Am I really taking the time for "soul-care"? I think that's a really important question to ask.

Again, it's still not about how much you do. It's not as if God is going to be happier with me if I read the Bible for 20 minutes a day versus 10 minutes, or even if I spend an hour in specific prayer versus 15 minutes. What matters is my focus on Him. Do I keep Him at the forefront of my mind every day and talk to Him more than just when I close my eyes and fold my hands? Do I talk to Him when I'm doing well in a class just as much as when I'm praying for a really difficult exam to go well?

I think it's also the little things that we do in our lives that really matter to God. Organized ministry is not as big of a deal as we've made it out to be. What matters is how we are treating our peers and those who are in our sphere of influence every day. Though I can't be in more organized ministries this year, I've really become intentional in the relationships that I build with people, and I've been doing my best to meet with at least one person per week for coffee (it usually ends up being more, not to say at all that I'm some amazing Christian), and I do my best to encourage those that I bump up against every day.

I used to be a very self-involved person, and I only cared about my problems and how others could help me. But with God's grace, that's beginning to change, and I'm really wanting to learn more about others, their lives, and how God is working through them.

And what's great to know is that, though meeting with one person each week isn't much, I know that it's enough. God doesn't require me to do more for Him. He just requires that I love Him enough to actually do something, and not just do it as an obligation, but rather do it out of the overflow of my love for Him.

I'm definitely not perfect at it, or even great at it, but that's why we serve a gracious and merciful God. :)

So, that's it. I guess my ending question for you all is: What does your heart look like? Are you trying to do more for Christ, or are you trying to love Him more and take care of your soul?

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