For When You Forget Why

3/06/2018

I recently volunteered at a young adults conference (Fluid) and it almost blew my mind how spiritually dry I felt coming into it. Contrary to every Christian camp pep-talk or youth group spiel you've ever heard - sometimes a spiritual high is the TLC you need to get back on track and open your heart up. A little wash in God's goodness and mercy, seeing what he's doing in the lives of others - and dare I say it - cool lights - get me really pumped up and energized. And at this point in time, I really, really need it.

I've been talking on the blog lately about losing track of my purpose - the why I do what I do. When you're involved in ministry (or really, if you genuinely love and want to serve any kind of human being at all), it's very easy to become familiar with the kind of numbness people feel when they're dedicating a lot of their time to helping others. Disappointment is something you know all too well. Heartbreak is common. The sleepless nights, the anxiousness, the effort that it takes to keep your eyes open and your heart wide - it can be crazymaking and devastating when kept up for a long time. It's really easy to tune out and just say what you need to say. Textbook answers that generally help but don't quite hit the nail on the head require less energy than speaking into an individual as an individual. And we all do it. Or - even worse - we take the time to care and minister and speak life into someone, and it makes no difference. As I said in my last post, loving people is really hard. Especially when you're weary, and they're the third person to have a crisis that day, and you feel like nobody is really, actually, hearing and valuing you. You get into a rhythm of service that's really just glorified puppeteering. And when I get to that spot, it eats me up a little inside.

I've been reading in II Corinthians, and I find myself relating to Paul's words.

11 Oh, dear Corinthian friends! We have spoken honestly with you, and our hearts are open to you. 12 There is no lack of love on our part, but you have withheld your love from us. 13 I am asking you to respond as if you were my own children. Open your hearts to us! - II Corinthians 6:11-13

 The context of this plea comes after Paul is describing a lot of the difficulties and struggles that a lot of us know really, really well in ministry.


I don't know about you - but when I read this, I can feel it. I understand Paul's desperation. Why aren't my words making a difference to these people? Why isn't my heart enough? What more can I do before I fall off the edge? I may never have been beaten, put in prison, or faced angry mobs... but everything else? Sounds pretty familiar.

There's a lot in this chapter, but two of the things I'm trying to hold onto as I grow are that 1) God's power is continuously working in me, and 2) Even though my heart aches, I can still have joy. Neither of these are rocket science, or new information, for that matter. It might not be the revelation you were looking for. But every so often, I know that I need a bare-boned and simple reminder. I need to go back to the why of why I do what I do. I need to know that God hears me, God sees me, and I will be okay.

When you forget why you're doing it, let Paul's honesty wash over you. Nobody said it was easy. Anyone who says its comfortable is probably high as hell. Sometimes you have to push away the platitudes and get to the heart of the matter - we live close to death, but we are still alive. If you're in the same place I am, I would love to encourage you. Your faithfulness is not in vain. You are making a difference. You have everything you need.

If you need to talk to somebody who might know what it's like to be in the same spot, please reach out at purposeofgraceblog@gmail.com or send me a DM on my Instagram. You aren't alone.

xoxo, Beth


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