Thursday, March 15, 2012

Acts of Service

It is no secret if you know me at all - I am a "dooer." I like to do things. I'm not always good at offering advice or even a shoulder to cry on - I would much rather bake you an apple pie (or better yet, chocolate cake.) I'm not necessarily saying this is a bad trait - for those of you out there who might also be "dooers." This world really takes all kinds. But recently after listening to the Resolution for Women on CD, I have come to realize that what I do isn't as important as how I do it. Does this make sense.
There is a part of me that kind of thinks that I can "do" anything. I can solve a lot by doing more. But if the truth is to be told, I don't always do things with a kind heart or a servant's spirit. Sometimes I do things out of obligation. Sometimes I do things out of regret and sometimes I just do something to make myself feel better. Wrong attitude huh? But I'm just being honest. I am getting better and realizing that - again - it isn't WHAT I do, but HOW I do it. I don't want my children to see a stressed out, grouchy, over worked mommy doing things because she feels she has to. I want my children to see a humbled, overly blessed mommy who feels like in her heart she simply can't do enough. Life is good. Really good. Now that doesn't mean that my world is a bowl of cherries or that I don't struggle. I do. I have good days and I have bad days. I have ups and I have downs. I have days where I am a horrible wife and a mean mommy. I have days where I don't shower, bypass the laundry and forget that I have to cook dinner. But even on those bad days - they are still good.
If we stop and think for a moment about some of the events that are happening around the world, my life looks amazing from the outside. I am not in fear of my life on a day to day basis, I am allowed to worship God openly in the manner that I see fit, I have two healthy children that are well fed and well clothed, I have a house over my head, I have a husband who treats me respectfully and values me as an equal. I could go on and on but I am hoping you are starting to see the picture. Life is good.
And when I sit down and really think about all the ways that I have been blessed in my life, I can't help but think of all the people who have not been so fortunate. And that is where my wheels start turning. What can I do to change the picture for those not in my same position. What acts of service can I do to brighten someones day, or perhaps change the course of someones journey. I know at times it can seem like the task is too big. But truly, each little step gets you closer and closer to the goal.
I remember being a new mom and being overwhelmed with the simple task of cooking dinner. At the time, it was no simple task - it was HUGE. I hated to cook and I wasn't very good at it. I remember when a few of my friends pitched in and brought meals to my husband and I so we could sit back and enjoy our baby without the worry of dinner preparation. I have resolved to really help out new moms in this area. I will admit, I still am no Rachel Ray, but I am doing my best to offer that service to new mom's around me.
I also remember being the mother of two young and rambunctious children who at times drove me up a wall. The days seemed long and I remember counting the minutes until my husband would arrive home. There were time that I would sit in my toy room wondering if I would ever get a break -a breather to regroup and readjust my attitude. I now realize the importance of alone time with moms. I try to do what I can to off that break to mom's around me. I love the spiel that flight attendants give on airlines. "If the cabin should experience a loss of pressure, an oxygen mask will drop down." They proceed to instruct you how to apply the mask and remind you that you should adjust your own mask before assisting others. Hmmmm, sometimes an afternoon to yourself is that much needed oxygen mask.
There are countless other ways that I have made an effort to try and serve those around me. It can be in a global sense or it can start in your own home. I have definitely had to work on serving my kids and my husband. My kids - their service comes rather easily. I have to cook them breakfast, I have to wash their clothes, I have to give them a bath/clip their nails/tie their shoes/wipe their bumm..... But for awhile there, my heart was not right. I was serving them with an obligatory heart - frustrated and bitter. The same goes with my husband. I had to clean the house, I had to do the grocery shopping, I had to do the laundry/mow the grass/prune the flowers.....but I was not doing it with a kind and willing heart. I now realize - after a whole lot of maturing and prayerful consideration - that it is not about WHAT I do, but HOW I do it. I know from my own life, I now take joy in serving those around me. We serve in many different ways, and all of them bring me a sense of joy.
I would encourage my readers to take a step back and see if there are any ways - big or small - that we can begin serving the people around us. There are a bazillion different ways, some starting within our own home. They can span across the country and even across the world. But, if you are like me and feel like God has given you way more than you deserve, I would highly encourage you to look for ways to return the favor. Pay it forward.....

1 comment:

Steven Swihart said...

I love your heart and your openness. I too am a human "doing" who would rather be a human "being", but out is a hard habit to break. There is more control in doing. Being still and knowing God is God is hard.