Are you comfortable reaching out and serving others? If so, what is it you do to spiritually, mentally and physically prepare to serve others? Can you be ready at a moment’s notice? Is your life at a place where you need to schedule in your service time? That’s okay if it is the season you are in. I believe you can serve in many ways if you know and are at peace with the season you are in. But what if you aren’t comfortable serving, at any time? What if you mess up? What if the receiver doesn’t want your help? What can you to do to push through and learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable?
So, I ask this question: Are you a ‘goer‘ or one of the ‘givers and senders‘ that are crucial in seeing needs met? I think, no matter which one (or more) will be your answer, at any certain time in your life, we can try to be prepared no matter what situation is presented to us. I came across this quote by Robert H. Schuller and it spurred me to think. What is it I do and what is it I still need to do to be prepared to serve?
“Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation.”Robert H. Schuller
The longer I serve, I find it’s the everyday, and sometimes seemingly unspectacular things we do that can make us the most prepared for any situation that God presents to us. When you are presented with an opportunity, you will find many times you already have and are using skills that are second nature, just like breathing. Being made in his image, I believe we are hardwired to serve in some capacity. My act of service won’t necessarily look like yours, which should be encouraging to us. We each bring a different skill. I need you, you need me. So, what can we do to be prepared for situations God might present to us?
Reading, listening, meditating, sharing! Is your quiet time structured or is it a modge podge of different styles? Years ago, I felt so guilty because I could NOT wake up at 4:30 to have a quiet time and then start the day. My spiritual mom noticed something was up and I shared my frustration with her. She told me when does it work for you? Embarrassed I told her, “It’s never the same.” Sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the middle of the day, sometimes late at night. Late at night is my favorite. She told me, “Read Psalm 55:17. Does God only hear you at a certain time of the day?” “No.” “How about I take the morning shift, and you take the evening shift, and we’ll both jump in in the middle of the day.” she said. That was so freeing. It allowed me to tune in anytime, to listen and meditate on God’s word, listen to a podcast, reflect and then respond. Sometimes I have the time to get one of those 10 pound commentaries out. That’s a really favorite for me. What does that word, passage or chapter really mean? Does my life reflect what I just read or was reminded of? Now I want to share it with others, in lessons that I teach and the way I live. I love it when I’m in a serving or teaching opportunity and all of a sudden I realize God had prepared my heart just minutes, hours or days before for this moment right now.
I’ve been reading and listening now it’s time to watch. Our lives can get so busy that we don’t see opportunities that are presented right in front of us. Did I notice the friend’s demeanor? It was off. That student was too quiet today… what’s up? I haven’t heard from _______(fill in the blank) so I should check up on him/her. For example, my granddaughter cares about taking care of the earth. We have over an hour ride together in the morning and the afternoon going to and from school. There’s this cattle guard that you have to slow down and kind of squeeze through. About a week ago, it looked like someone had just dumped their trash there. She cannot stand it. In expressing to me her disgust at people dumping a whole load of trash, it brought to light that when she rides with her mom, they’ll stop and pick up small trash in the ditch. I love that. She is not just becoming aware (looking at something other than her social media on the phone) and being frustrated by the acts of others, she has been choosing to get out of her comfort zone and possibly be seen standing in a ditch picking up the piece of trash. This latest pile is bigger than picking up a can or two or an empty feed sack, etc. So, I went to the store and purchased big trash bags and thick gloves. We’re about to set out and tackle that pile, and I mean pile of trash.
One good thing about getting older is you can have experience in many areas that comes in pretty handy. Therefore, sometimes I feel I know exactly what to do in a situation. I feel like I am already prepared. I am also one of those people that it’s just as exciting to me to learn something new, to pick up a new skill. Between the help of friends, YouTube, and miscellaneous tutorials it can be easier to know what to do than it was years ago. I also try to be ready to learn as I go.
Make Yourself Available
Reach out. Offer your help. Sometimes you can plan. Sometimes it is spontaneous. Sometimes you serve anonymously. I find you don’t have to have all the answers. Sometimes, just showing up says, “I’m here” and is the answer.
Philippians 2:3-4 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.NIV
That brings us to the next thing already mentioned above. Am I willing and ready to give of my time, my money, my support, my expertise, my strength (that means physical too, you know)? It could be anything, small to large, like lifting those boxes, picking up kids, running an errand, you get my drift. This is where it can get really uncomfortable. About 7 years ago, a case worker I had met in Oklahoma on one of our Impact trips called me. He asked if I could find a friend or two and come to Hugo and help a family keep their three kids. The children were always sick because they lived in filth. Both parents were handicapped. We had one to two days to turn their house into a liveable situation. I truly had never seen anything like it. I talked a friend into going. I don’t even know if uncomfortable even covers the experience. However, when we would look at the faces of those three kids, and we taught them what to do when we left, it was worth every bug that crawled on us and every unbelievable cleaning situation we encountered. When we left, the mom and dad cried, the kids cried and the case worker cried. The family got to stay together, and we knew God had actually done more with our time that we thought even possible.
Warning: Be ready to go to plan B, C, D. I love what Summit’s Headmaster says, “What we learned in the military was, no one was lying… but the truth has changed!” And boy can it change… uncomfortably so!
Comfortable with being Uncomfortable!
Ask God to help you learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable! Then be aware as you prepare. Make yourself available, be willing to sacrifice in unexpected ways and you will be trusted with SPECTACULAR adventures with the Lord you never imagined.
Or… that’s what I’ve found.
“Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can.” John Wesley