Every Sunday and Wednesday I serve in the children’s ministry. There is no “swapping weeks” with anyone. We don’t miss unless we just have to. Every. Single. Week. And I love it, but we often get asked how we don’t just burn out. And the honest answer is that we do. And that’s OK. We are human.
It would be nearly impossible for anyone to wake up every single Sunday with a big smile and be ready to entertain and teach children or greet someone as they come into the church or teach a group of adults that are perhaps struggling or preach for goodness sake! All while also dealing with deaths in the family, and work problems, and keeping up with our own children, and managing marriage problems, and so on and so on.
It happens to all of us.
Every once in a while, we wake up a basket full of grumpy cats and just not in the mood to serve. But it shouldn’t deter us from still serving where we fit into the church, and it also shouldn’t discourage others from finding their place to serve. But it did discourage me for a long while. Until I spilled my coffee on myself and had a near breakdown.
As I’ve blogged about before, I suffer from panic attacks. But far worse than panic attacks would be the fear of just having a panic attack. The mood was right, and I could feel the anxiety in the air about as heavy as our Alabama humidity. My heart was racing, and I couldn’t quite catch my breath.
Then my dear friend that serves with me stopped to talk and ask me what was up. I told him what was bothering me, but then about that time I managed to spill my coffee all down my white shirt. That was it. It was enough to push me over the edge. I quietly excused myself and called my husband to say he wouldn’t be seeing me in the kids worship that morning.
It wasn’t until the next Sunday that I realized what serving others is all about.
Being genuine and being transparent.
Our worship team leader called me over. Like a little child, I felt my face turning red and pins and needles all over my body. I thought I was in trouble … But just the opposite. He said something like, “Anna, you’ve worked up here a long time, and I know something was really bothering you last Sunday. I was worried and praying and I want you to feel like you can be transparent with us.”
Covered in calmness, I told him the very honest truth about last Sunday and even why I have panic attacks. Ya know, I’m not even sure he expected it all to so easily come flowing out.
But that day changed my view of serving others. If I can’t be myself … My TRUE self, then I’m not serving in the right area. And I’ve dropped a lot of areas of service because of that. But I’ve kept on in kids worship because we are real. We suffer together, we pray together, we live and learn together … as much as a group of men and their female sidekick can.
And it has made all the difference in the world to how well we serve.
I firmly believe that in order to be an active part of a church community, you need to serve. That’s how community works and that is what Jesus has called us to do. Wash feet. Feed the hungry. Visit the sick, the orphans, the widowed. Teach. Pray. Make others a priority.
Now this isn’t a PSA for serving in your church. But remember as you fill yourself up, it’s going to eventually spill over. But where? Are you letting your Jesus spill into serving others? And if you don’t feel like you are spilling over, well, then you need to fill yourself up, buttercup, because you are needed!! And the authentic YOU is needed. Not the church version or the “always in a good mood” version. You! Just how God designed you!
We all have our place that we fit, but we have to be willing to show up ... as our true selves.Click To Tweet
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13