Dream Builders have to have Helpers (Part 2)

serve

I’m going to chalk this up to being sick since the day after Christmas. A day after I posted my article last Monday on Dream Builders have to have Helpers, I remembered a whole other point I was going to include in the article. Like I said, I’ve been sick. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 🙂

Service.

That is the point.

Think about the quote. “If you don’t build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs.”

Do you hear the implied concept that it would be a bad thing to be hired to help someone build their dream? This quote is saying it is evil or at least bad to help others build their dreams. How self-focused can you be? Is not helping others a worthy way to spend your time?

Service is a worthy way to live life. We should always be serving. We should pour ourselves out in service.

How much do we hear about ‘me time’? Now, I understand that a few minutes to re-focus, time to think, and doing something you enjoy, or even just taking a hot bath can make it much easier to serve. I know. I worked retail for 14 years. You wanna talk about service. We made service the hallmark of our boutiques. We demanded it of our employees and I set the example at every step. I have spent hours at other people’s beck and call. I know how taxing it can be. I know how it can eat away at your soul to do that every day. So, I’m not talking about the things servers do to rejuvenate so they can face the next day of demanding customers. I’m not talking about the mom who needs a break so she can tend to her family, or the caretaker who needs a few days away in a cabin somewhere to refresh herself.

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I’m talking about a me focused culture. A culture that is all about what my needs and wants are without any concern about other people. We have a whole generation growing up who were never taught that the world doesn’t revolve around them. They were never taught to serve.

Why? Well, there is a humility to services. There is, if you want to serve well, a forgetting of self. There is an attitude of I don’t matter, you do. There is a laying down of self.

We don’t like this. We instantly rage: What if someone takes advantage of me? What if no one ever appreciates what I do?

That may happen. Think about it. Think about Christ dying on the cross and how many people don’t appreciate that, even believers at times.

Listen to the messages of media, music, art, television, and novels. How many of them preach that you are significant? How many of them teach our children that they are the most significant thing to come along, ever? But are they? No. They are sinners just like us in need of a Savior. There is only one truly significant and important person ever born—Christ. And what did he do? He washed the apostle’s feet. He served in all humility. He came, lived, and died for us, to save us.

Instead of worrying so much about living a significant life, following our dreams, making sure everyone thinks well of us, making sure we never care what anyone thinks about us, we should lay it all aside and seek to serve one another. Yes, you may not be appreciated, but if you are serving for Christ’s sake than you can trust that he sees the work of your hand even if no one else does. Yes, someone may take advantage of you, I’ve seen it, I’ve experienced it. But, Christ sees. He knows. And He is trustworthy. The joy of watching Christ work outweighs standing up for our rights any day.

Standing up for rights is short-sighted and often selfish. (I’m not talking about constitutional law, I’m talking about the constant demand for me and my rights.) Instead of waiting on the Lord, quietly and meekly, trusting Him with our souls, we loudly demand our rights, our acceptance, our significance. Dear believer, if you will wait quietly you will see the hand of Christ in your life. Trust your heart to Him. Is He not mighty enough to protect it?

Don’t worry about your dreams, whether they are being built or not. Worry about serving your church and your family and trust your dreams to the one who gave them to you. He is far more creative about how those dreams are fulfilled than you ever will be. And remember, this life is not all there is. Oh, if you can only grasp that one little concept. This life is not all there is. You don’t have to try and fit every dream and desire into this one life time. Serve Christ and his people and trust yourself to Him. Get in there and do the hard work of service and you will be blessed to watch Christ tend to you and your needs. You are His and He won’t forget you.

Okay, rant over. I promise.

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God’s Generosity Praised

All that is gold does not glitter

All that is gold does not glitter…

I don’t usually post on Thursdays, but this struck me so strongly this morning that I just had to write about it and share it now.

There have been several times in my life when I’ve had a choice between what I want to do (also what the world would tell me is following my dreams) and what the Lord commands me to do.  This has happened three big times in my life.  In these three big moments, God has blessed me beyond anything I could have planned or imagined.  God isn’t beholden to bless me with things or events that make me happy, but I’m thankful He does.  Of course, God is multi-tasker, so while He blesses me with a happy providence, He also sanctifies me through that providence.

I want to share one such situation for our mutual encouragement.  I’m a writer.  I would love nothing better than to hide in my house day after day and write stories of imaginary people.  Then, I would like to be able to take those stories and share them with others.  To be honest, I long for a day when I can walk into Barnes and Noble and pull a book off the shelf with my name on it.  I long to write a story that millions of people read.  I long to write a story that reverberates through people’s’ lives.   I long to write a story with the impact of Tolkien, Lewis, King, and Koontz.

But God.  God has providentially placed me in a life where that is going to take time, and lots of it.  First, we had a business were I was the face.  My husband was the brains and I was the brawn, so to speak.  Now that we’ve sold that, my focus is serving my church and maintaining my home.  (Clean, cook, upkeep, remodel, budget, etc.)  This is a full-time job.  My writing has changed, further hindering publishing.  I’ve gone from medieval fantasy, to urban fantasy, to YA and children’s stories without a book to hand to a publisher.  I’ve switched blogs and I’ve switched focus.  These things  set me behind every time I get close to the publishing wire.

God has commanded me to submit to my husband as to Christ.  Part of this submission is working to stay on board with his life.  His life, my husband’s, has changed focus in the last year or so.  It has gone from business to theology.  To be able to serve our church through study and teaching, he needs me to tend to lots of matters.  He has also asked me not to make writing a second career.  I’m in full agreement with him.  But, this leaves me with being a writer who can’t spend her days writing and marketing.  I get a few hours here and a few hours there.  I have limited time and resources.  This struck me when I tried to share my blog on Goodreads and realized I can’t unless I have a book published.  There are limits to what I can do.  I read other successful writers who talk about the amount of time it takes to be a published author and I think to myself, “I can’t do that.  Not now.  That’s not my focus.  God has called me to serve my church and obey my husband.  I can’t do those things well if I’m also trying to have a career in writing.”  So, I leave it alone.

Don't let me fool you, this is not me.

Don’t let me fool you, this is not me.

Please don’t think I left it alone like some Elsie Dinsmore type.  It wasn’t a calm folding of the hands.  It was a storm raging in my heart.  It was a battle between desire and command.  It was a weaning from this world.  It was a war of trust.  On one side sits my yearning to be a published author.  On the other side sits the commands to put the church and my husband first, to pour myself out, and leave this world.  I so want to go to the published author side.  I so want to forsake everything and do what I want.  The world screams at me that anyone standing in the way of what I want is an enemy.  But over on the other side, stands my humble Savior who gave everything for me.  Over there, stands my mighty Captain who died for me.  With Him stands all of eternity.  With Him stands my family, my church and my husband.  With Him stands everything I would forsake for my own gain.

This is more what I feel like inside.

This is more what I feel like inside.

The world shouts, “But this is your dream!  Follow your dreams!”

Christ holds out His hands, scarred for me.

Only by His grace, only because of Him and nothing else – family, church, husband – do I take His offered hand and flee to Him ignoring the world’s cacophony of noise.  And what do I find on the quiet, gentle side of the war in my heart.  I find love.  I find hope.  I find joy.  I find peace.  I find my friends, my family, and my church.  I find my husband.  And in God’s grace, I find people to write for and to.  God is so good to me.  Early this week, through His providence, a guest post I wrote was shown to a well-known reformed writer (Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Vidal!).  This writer shared my guest post with his audience.  So many people came to read what I wrote.  So many to me anyway. 🙂 The next day a blogger who only posts quotes from men like Calvin and Bunyan posted my article on his blog.  I was dumbfounded.  I was elated.  I was humbled beyond belief.  (Which is funny cause the article was about humility.)

God didn’t owe me one single reader.  I would have happily followed my Brother, my Captain, my King without another word written or read.  But God.  God who is rich, rich in mercy, saw fit to do this for me.  How can I not love and trust Him?  He not only saved my soul, not only adopted me, not only sustains me, which is far and above anything I deserve, but He also blesses me.  He takes care of me when I obey Him,  when I trust Him, just like a tender father.  How mighty a King, how kind a Lord, how generous a Brother, I have.

He has preserved me and is continuing to make me more like Christ.  I lay all that I am, all my dreams and desires, at His feet and trust Him to do with them as He will.  I praise Him now for the increased exposure and encouragement, and I will praise Him still even if no one ever reads a word I write.  It’s not about me.  It’s all about Him.

Just had to share it.