There is a Facebook phenomenon that I, in my obliviousness to all things fun and social, only recently clued into called “Throwback Thursday.” Mostly on this day, people post pictures from their past. Instead of trying to sort through my mess of photos from before I learned to catalog them more efficiently, I decided I would do my own Throwback Thursday here on my blog. On Thursdays when I remember, I plan to post an old blog post from my former blog. So in honor of Throwback Thursday, here is one from September of 2008:
Service With a Smile
At our community group tonight (note to any readers not from our church: you may read “community group” as “small group,” “Bible study group,” “bunch-of-Jesus-freaks-who-hang-out-eat-and-pray-together group,” or whatever you are most comfortable with), we were discussing service. Interestingly, and very likely not coincidentally, God has been dealing with me in this area recently. Specifically, He has been working on my heart in the service I provide to my family.
I will be honest, I have been chafing at the bit a little lately. There are so many unfulfilled desires–time to work out, a house that stays clean for more than 10 minutes, hikes I would like to take, time to write, conversations I long to have or people I would enjoy spending time with without having to break up a sibling argument or find a lost headband… and plenty of others. I am ashamed to admit that my thoughts have dwelt far more on these things of late rather than on my husband and children. I turned these cares over to my Father in prayer, and He replied, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”
This is not what I wanted to hear.
“But God!” I argued, “I am so tired! I need to somehow teach these children, manage my household, minister to my husband, and the list just goes on and on and on. I badly want to get back in shape, but for that I need time. And sometimes such and such a thing irritates me so. I just don’t feel that I can deal with it anymore. Wouldn’t this scenario be a better one for my life? I really think I would have more joy if only You would change ______.”
“… let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”
“Lord, I feel like that is all I’ve ever done is deny myself! Remember this thing I did and that one and this other? Can’t I just this once ______?”
“…let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”
“Oh, but it is so, so heavy and I am so weak! I want to serve You with joy, but my cross is too heavy for me and I feel I am just trudging ahead numbly.”
“Heavier than the weight of all the sins of all time, past, present and future? Heavier than what My Son bore for you; He who was with Me since the beginning, enduring separation from Me–not because He sinned, as you have, child–but because He chose to bear your sins out of love? Is your service weightier than His, child? Deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow Me.”
So here I am again, absolutely convicted and not really liking it; praying for the grace to follow Him and for the desires of my heart to be aligned fully with His.
Father, please turn my heart around and make me Your faithful servant. Help me to carry the cross You have given me, not because I must, but because I love You so. Grant me the grace to take up my cross daily with an attitude of eager privilege, participating in some minute way in the sufferings of my Lord and Master. Give Your servant a greater love for You and a lesser love for my own comforts and cravings. May I yearn only for more of You. I ask for this grace in Jesus’ name, amen.