Last week we talked about the general concept of putting others first, above your own needs and wishes. This is the desire of our heart for many of us, but I believe it is a hard one to live day in and day out.
I know I have caught myself with thoughts of “What about me? When will it be my turn to get what I want?” When I get in this place I have to remind myself that serving others is a privilege, not a task. It isn’t something that we can accomplish, check off our to-do list and not do it again for awhile. It is an opportunity to love others like Jesus modeled.
Jesus was constantly giving and serving. He would stay longer when the people wanted to hear more wisdom. He would take the time to heal those who believed. He fed those who were hungry, both physically and spiritually. He loved on those who were unlovable. Jesus modeled the ultimate servanthood. This is something that I am constantly striving for. At times it is easy. Other times it is more difficult.
This last year I had found myself struggling to lay my life down for my husband. As you have learned over the last year, Nate is a wonderful man. He is the most servant-minded man I have ever met, and I am spoiled by his love!! But even in the middle of all his love and service I found myself withholding some of my love. I wanted him to prove that he loved me and not just once, but over and over. I tricked myself to believe that once I was satisfied with his proof then I would open up that last door of my heart and let him in. But the proof was never enough. For some reason I could never allow him into the innermost part of my heart.
As I was starting Priscilla Shirer’s Gideon I realized that our problems are often related to something that we haven’t dealt with in the past. Sure, you may have addressed it, but you didn’t actually get down to the root. You didn’t get complete healing; you didn’t rid yourself of the hurts and guilt. You kept a little of it hidden in your heart, and now it has come back with a vengeance.
As I meditated on this, I asked God to reveal to me things that I am holding on to. He began to replay different scenes from my past. It was like I was watching a movie of my life, but it only contained moments that had a similar theme: One of trust being broken and walls being built. It began in high school when I was dating a guy – one that I probably shouldn’t have dated anyway, but that is beside the point. I had given him a part of my heart and had shared some of my inner thoughts. He then shared those thoughts with someone else, who threw them in my face in the most ugliest of ways. Most of the damage was done by the second person (to this day I do not know what part my boyfriend played), but my reaction to that painful experience was to build my first layer of walls around the innermost part of my heart.
Then, as Nate and I started dating we had one specific conversation that allowed seeds of doubt to enter my mind. For years I battled the thought of “Am I good enough for Nate? Is he satisfied with me?” I allowed Satan to twist Nate’s words and mess with my mind, and therefore I allowed another layer to be built onto the wall.
Then several years ago I was deeply wounded by someone I loved with my whole heart. This person meant the world to me and helped me become who I am today. But by the choices that they had made, I built my wall even higher. Not wanting to let them, or anyone for that matter, into that part of my life.
The next scene that played was a combination of several events in the last three years. Nate and I have been involved with 3 separate couples going through the disaster that an affair will cause. As we counseled, prayed with, and encouraged these couples, my eyes were opened to the weakness of a human’s flesh. All of us can fall and will fall if we are not diligent and purposeful in staying alert. That is the only way to win our battle against our lying enemy. Unbeknownst to me, fear was causing more layers to be added to the walls around my heart.
Then finally one day, the roof was placed on top and the key to the door was thrown away. Nate, nor anyone else, would be allowed back in.
I was amazed at how all of those different events created the struggle that I was now dealing with. I didn’t want to serve completely, because I feared my heart would once again be trampled. But then it dawned on me. Complete service, even to the point of death, is what Jesus did and what He is calling us to do. Not so that we could be taken advantage of, not so that we could be wounded, but so that we can have inexpressible joy. God wants us to live out Colossians 3:23-24 NLT “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.”
In serving others, you are serving Christ. In serving others you are allowing God to bless you and take care of your needs regardless of how the other person reacts. Even if they never say thank-you, or even worse, treat you like dirt in return. Always remember: God sees, and God is faithful! When He calls you into service, He will equip you to do all that He has called you do to. And He is a loving Master who wants to bless those who are obedient.
I know that this isn’t necessarily a “mom” post, but I do believe that if we do not deal with our innermost wounds, hurts, and guilt, we will not be able to serve those around us completely and wholeheartedly. This includes serving our children.
This week’s assignment is simple. Spend time in prayer. Ask God to reveal to you situations, feelings, and hurts that are preventing you from serving your children and husband with everything that you have. Was it a parent that wounded you? Are you mad at God for something that has happened in your past? Have you been burned by too many friends? Whatever it is, God wants to speak truth to it. Confess these walls to God, or even to your husband or a trusted friend. Getting a lie out into the light is the best thing you can do. He wants to heal your hurt and help you to know that He has you covered, if you just trust and obey. I am praying that this is a week of freedom for me and for you as you spend time with your heavenly Father!