The title of this post probably rouses images of Native Americans or other ancient people groups searching for answers in the supernatural. This post is like that, but on a defined level of searching for what the Holy Spirit of God wants in my life. In an earlier post, I spoke about the lessons God teaches me each year especially since Momma went to Heaven the end of 2009. As a recap, God taught me about grace in 2010, and trusting in Him in 2011, and now we are into 2012. The end of 2011 was fraught with stress and inner turmoil. Many aspects of my "service" for the Lord were becoming duties to people out of obligation, or because I had done it for so long, how could I just stop? I wrestled with some of the very things that I had decided so long ago would be a panacea for serving the Lord by doing "THIS".
I prayed alot this past year about some of those very areas of service as they became more of a burden and stress inducer then a joy in serving Jesus. They were all areas of services that I had chosen to do, not what God had called me to do. In fact, the one activity that He called me to do rarely stresses me out. Let's think about that for a minute.... the things I thought I should do to serve Him were becoming increasing sore spots, and the one thing He had asked me to do, I was able to do with joy and had the urge and zeal to do more.
The problem with those self chosen ministry opportunities was that I have done them for years and done them well.... I did not know how to say "NO" I can't do them anymore. Most people actively serving Christ either in self chosen or God called areas do not understand when someone wants to lighten their load.
I did not know how to get out of doing them either. So God in His infinite wisdom gave me some back and nerve problems that limited me in one of those service spots. I had an easy enough reason now to say "NO" to that and no regrets. I still live with the pain and have to be really careful, but if that is how God has to teach me to serve HIM and not the expectations of myself or others, then I don't mind the constant reminder. The other ministry outreach I was involved in was trickier. I talked with Ted and others and even tried to step out for a bit when I had my back problems, etc. I had more relief when I wasn't involved in that ministry, but did not know how to say no without hurting the others involved. I agonized over it and prayed alot about it, and God usually found a way to get me out of it on a case by case basis. I knew I couldn't keep up the constant turmoil. Although I had been convinced years ago that He must want me to do this because it was such a noble ministry, it was time to say "NO". I knew it was time to end it without asking God to get me out of it every time. I begged God to give me the words that wouldn't cause hurt or a misunderstanding, and He told me to keep it simple. I was able to relinquish that burden and all the barbs of guilt the devil tried to throw at me. How do I know it was the devil? Because for every dart of guilt, God would give me a verse or thought in reassurance that I was finally doing what HE wanted me to do.
You ask, so she has withdrawn from so many areas of ministry, is she apathetic or lazy? If she doesn't do them, who will???!! I was doing so many of these areas of service to please other people, and I knew when I was becoming a man-pleaser (hard to please people all the time though) and not a humble servant of God.
What is God asking me to do? He has been very clear to me in the past months that I am to be a prayer warrior for my loved ones and church. I am so often involved in "DOING", that I don't seem to have dedicated time for prayer. God is molding the clay into His image, not the one that I think others expect me to be. He has lightened the load in the other two areas of ministry that I am still involved in.
I have received great counsel from my husband and also my mother-in-love. I rebelled against alot of their counsel because it just seemed like I was supposed to be burning out for the Lord and wearing out instead of rusting out.
I started feeling like someone had dipped a brush into my paint can and splattered it all over the wall of my life. When instead, God wanted to make me into a beautiful masterpiece of His design. Working outside the home and also in our last year of homeschooling has stretched my limits. Ted's job has become increasingly stressful as well, and I was feeling like I just did not have what it took to be the wife and mother I know God expected me to be. Ted and I have discussed it at great length and I do need to work, and Justin will be finishing high school in May. God has brought situations and people into my life that NEED prayer, and I need to be able to devote more time in my own personal relationship with the Master Sculptor and Painter of my life. God has brought me to the point where He has shown me that although I was active in the ministry, NEVERTHELESS, I needed to be doing it for His glory, and not out of obligation to others expectations.
I know I have alot to learn as I journey through 2012, but I am excited about spending more time in prayer and devoting my time and energy to my husband and family and the ministry that GOD has called me to do. I am so glad that He now has the paintbrush in hand and did not throw this mottled clay away.