Busy Serving God? Really?

If you are like me, you have goals for yourself. You’ve thought them through, prayed over them, and planned them out for your week, month and year.

I sit weekly and plan on paper so I can see visually, in blocks of time, any discrepancies between my ideal priorities and my daily life.

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Sometimes the best laid plans get waylaid by the urgent: a sick child, a broken pipe, a family emergency. But too often, my plans get sidetracked by my own tendency to say “Yes” without thinking through the ramifications of that.

Maybe you can relate because I know we’re all busy. We fill our calendars with good activities which sometimes keep us from pursuing the best.

I’ve learned the hard way, there are a lot of good things I can do. And they all require energy and time which are in limited supply.

JUST because an opportunity presents itself, does not mean that it is God’s assigned task for me that day.

Do you find yourself jumping into activity without consulting God?  Yes, I’m happy to watch your kids, Of course I’ll oversee that event, Yes, I’m happy to speak at your event, and for sure I’ll bake goodies for that activity.

Did it ever occur to you that you can run so far ahead of God that you MISS His best for you?

FACT: You can be so busy doing good things that you are too exhausted and overbooked to do the ministry that He had intended for you!

You don’t have to try to do everything.

If we jump in to ministry/service without praying about it, {ministry wives, I’m looking at you! ;))

or say yes to baking cookies,

or to overseeing a function,

or to speaking at this or that event,

we are actually leaving God out of the picture. 

We’re so busy serving God that we’ve forgotten about Him. Oh, He’s back there somewhere, I’m sure, but I’ve hit the floor running and He’ll have to catch up to me later. That’s how we act sometimes. Like we’ve forgotten Him.

How strange, huh?

Is it possible that we’re really self-serving when we approach service like that, because a true servant waits for his orders. A faithful servant does what the Master wants Him to do and not the other way around. A humble servant wouldn’t assume the position of Master.

What, Lord, can I do for you? Who can I serve? Your plans, your purposes are my goals today. 

So how does a people-pleasing do-gooder get a grip on her calendar and resist such temptation?

1. Write out your ideals. What are the primary jobs you believe you’re most answerable to God for? Mine are here and they start with things no one else can accomplish like caring for my own soul and my family. Then they work out from there.

2. Set limits for yourself and know your limits. We tend to be off kilter as a family if we are out of the house too many days in a row. We’ve always had “go” and “stay” days because of this. Plan to limit shopping to twice a week if your tempted to run out every day and it’s interfering with other ideals. Plan to say no to extra commitments if you are not faithfully meeting your primary ideals.

3. First things first. Secondary things, second. I know this sounds simple, but when you live out your priorities and take care of first things first, then secondary opportunities are easier.

For instance, one of my primary goals is a clean house. When I keep a clean house as a priority, opportunities for hospitality are not monumental tasks. When the house is basically cared for, then I can turn my focus toward outside ministry.

Another primary focus is my devotional life. It’s my job to make sure I’m connected to God, abiding in His word. When I do this as a primary thing, it’s easier to help other women when they ask me for advice because I have something to give them from the overflow of my own relationship. I know what to say because I know my God.

4. Pray about it before you say you’ll do it. If your calendar is lacking white space, don’t assume because you are asked to do something that it must be God’s will for you. ASK God if it is His will for you or not. After you pray about it, check with your husband. He usually has a good idea of whether it’s necessary or not.

5. Be balanced. Check yourself often. Many younger women ask me how I balance ministry and motherhood. They sometimes feel stuck in the house with kids and sidelined. They wonder What can I do for God? I’ve also felt this way.

I can tell you from experience that opportunities for ministry WILL open up to you in God’s timing when you faithfully care for your children and home well first. It promotes the gospel and holy living and people notice this in such a fractured, unhappy world.

In my experience, being at home, caring for kids, nurturing my own spiritual walk has given me all kinds of opportunities, sometimes more than I could handle: helping younger mothers, encouraging teens, Bible studies and book studies, counseling women, praying with others, hospitality, bringing a meal to a sick friend, speaking opportunities and this blog.  I didn’t have to go searching for them–they came to me–sometimes more than I could handle!

One thing is for sure, if you are not connected to God through His Word and prayer on a daily basis, He can’t lead you and you can’t know His will. When we walk with an awareness of what God wants and what He is doing, we’re more apt to join Him in what He’s doing than to drag Him along behind us as we seek our own goals and plans.

Follow Him. He’ll lead you! It should never be the other way around.

 

4 comments

  1. Mrs. T says:

    What an excellent, excellent post. Something we all need to be reminded of. I was especially struck by this simple but completely accurate statement: “One thing is for sure, if you are not connected to God through His Word and prayer on a daily basis, He can’t lead you and you can’t know His will.” Sadly, from what I’ve seen, this includes a lot of believers. Thanks so much for sharing your heart!

  2. Excellent article, and something we all need to stop and re-evaluate periodically. Thanks for consistently sharing truth, Sarah!

  3. Tim says:

    A friend of mine long ago decided to identify the ministry area she thought would honor God best with her talents. If anyone asked her to start working on something else, she’d promptly decline with “Sorry, that’s not in my ministry.” If it fell within her general area, she pray about it. It’s not that she refused to even consider being flexible, but she wanted to be prayerfully considerate and seek his guidance.

    Gutsy move for a person who’s a pastor’s wife.

  4. [...] case you missed this weeks posts, we talked whether or not we are really serving God in our busyness, and balancing ministry and motherhood and sinful comparison that zaps your [...]

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