Esther 4:14b

"...and who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this."

Friday, September 3, 2010

Exhausting Myself in Joy

There is a blog I read about once a week that always challenges me in my walk with the Lord. The author is a woman who was a couple years ahead of me at Covenant College. The college was small enough that I knew of her, but didn’t really know her; through her blog, I have come to know her as a woman of great faith who inspires me greatly in my walk with the Lord.

One particular post of hers stood out to me today and I want to share parts of it with you in hopes that she’ll inspire you as well:

When I stand before God at the end of my life,
I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left,
and could say, “I used everything you gave me.”
~Erma Bombeck

My prayer many mornings has been this: God, help me to enjoy exhausting myself for you.  A simple prayer.  Help me to really find the joy in service, the wealth in being poured out, the beauty in giving.  Help me if I burn out at times, to feel like I have burned out for a good cause.   And to be happy about it.   After all, I could run dry for a lot of trivial causes, serving myself incessantly, but what would be the fulfillment in that?

Serving is not just, and I realize that I do not want to live a life of justice.  Justice means you only do what is fair.  And who knows what the measuring-stick on that is.  Most people use their own measurements to determine fair: scary.  Grace is giving what is beyond fair, and enters the realm of service when there may be no reward and no appreciation.  Grace is measuring self against the riches of Christ and realizing that God’s Son trumps any of our efforts, so Who am I to complain?  Who am I to stomp my foot about this life I have been given, full of the people God has placed in it?  Grace gives and does so with the goal of not complaining (what a challenge!).  Grace pours out and does not need to report the good deed.  It does not criticize the response we receive and how much better I would have done it.   Grace is peaceful.  It is living with so much that is unseen, that clinging to the visible is simply less important.

Living busy life takes a heaping portion of grace, not justice.  Justice rants and raves.  Grace quietly perseveres.  And it is actually quite difficult to live graciously when we feel too tired or too busy.  But God does not give us clauses for behavior.  His standards are for all time and in all circumstances.

Which brings me back to my prayer of this year: to exhaust myself in joy.  Knowing with head and heart that God’s grace is sufficient.

An excellent reminder to myself when I’m tired of picking up the trail of papers and clothes my husband leaves from the front door to the edge of our bed. A great reminder to not take my mother-in-law for granted and the work she does around the house, but to find ways to help her even when I’m tired at the end of a long day. A wonderful reminder that even trivial things like organizing and cleaning and laundry and cooking, when done with an attitude of grace, bring peace, life and joy to those who are around me. Yes, Lord, help me to enjoy exhausting myself for you in joy.

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