Thursday, February 16, 2012

What Keeps Me Going When Life is Overwhelming

Do you ever feel like everything happens at once? Last weekend I had two different sets of houseguests: friends from another city in Turkey who came to speak at our team retreat and friends from out of country who stayed in our home while we were away. In between packing and leaving for our retreat, the weekend included making a birthday cake and hosting a quick celebration, preparing a few meals for different guests, and stripping the beds twice to change sheets.

I was honestly happy to see dear friends and open my home to them, but rather than being motivated by genuine love and hospitality, I felt harried and stressed. I was in a “Let’s Get Through This” mode.

At the retreat, God’s voice broke through to me loud and clear:

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1, 2)

These verses made me think about what motivates me and reminded me of three truths:

1. God loves me.

I am a dearly loved child of God. When I stop to consider his great love and forgiveness, I can’t help but be touched by joy. When his love fills me, I can give to others.

2. I want to love God.

I want my love for God to be the motivation behind all that I do. What makes a family embark on a crazy, impossible project like starting a new fellowship among what some call the largest unreached people group in the world? Is it because they love challenging adventure? Is because they hope to experience success and feel fulfilled? Or is it because they love God?

3. I’m called to love others.

The Message says Jesus “didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. When I changed those sheets or made that birthday cake, did I see it as a duty or as a chance to be like Jesus and walk in the way of love?

Sometimes life looks overwhelming.

Overwhelming circumstances: Home school Latin, algebra, and biology, ministry, guests, house church in your home, never-ending loads of laundry, and financial pressure.

An overwhelming task: Sharing the message in the face of spiritual disinterest and darkness. Maintaining a joyful outlook in a dry environment

When life looks overwhelming, it’s good to remember the simple things. God loves me. I’m called to love God and I’m called to love others.  Simple. Life doesn’t have to be so complicated.

In January I wrote about the real reason I'm here in Turkey.  I’m here so that God can change me and make me more like his son, but I hope that another real reason I’m here is because I love God. 

Question: What keeps you going in your ministry or service? What encourages you when the going gets tough?


us5 said...

it's so easy to lose focus, isn't it? the thing i've been challenged to do when my attitude slips (way too often, unfortunately!) is to remember to give thanks. thanks for clean sheets and kids to home school and for yummy birthday cake! :D and thanks that Jesus is with me, right there, in the moment. that spirit always changes my perspective, enabling me to serve with more joy. now if i could only learn to keep that spirit of thankfulness...

Alida said...

When life looks overwhelming, it’s good to remember the simple things. God loves me. I’m called to love God and I’m called to love others. Simple. Life doesn’t have to be so complicated.

Amen!! I know that God has just as must for us to learn here in Belize as He does for us to teach. His grace and strength keep me going. And a desire to be in the center of His will.

OliveTree said...

Giving thanks certainly can change my attitude. You are right, Barbara. It's so easy to overlook giving thanks for simple things.

Thanks for commenting, Alida. His grace and strength are what keep me going many days too.

Keya said...

Recently my "saving grace" when I'm feeling overwhelmed has been to remind myself (like you) of who I am and whose I am. What I'm here for is not to accomplish MY great goals and to do my OWN thing. I'm here for God. He created me to be here in this moment for what I am doing right now. So when I'm feeling stressed and overwhelmed I chant (mostly silently) "thy will be done". Over and over again until the tension starts to go away and perspective comes back. Thanks so much for the post. We all can use a gentle reminder of Life's simple truths.

OliveTree said...

Thanks Keya. "Thy will be done." I love that.