I pondered his words over a vanilla latte this afternoon.
“I’ve been learning how to rest this semester…I was doing so much for the Lord — walking with him, doing ministry, and yet I ceased to rest in him. It was my most productive semester yet, but it left me burned out and empty.”
I call him Insightful Kyle for a reason.
As a believer, one aspect of growing in the Lord is recognizing that nothing is about me. I exist to glorify and praise my creator, which is a beautiful and freeing thing. I seek to do ministry to women because I deeply desire others to know their place as daughters in the Lord, members of the Body of Christ, and valued, purposeful disciples for the King (as my professor likes to say, ministering poets instead of unfinished poems). I cannot imagine doing anything else besides walking through life in the trenches with others. As Insightful Kyle pointed out, sometimes we need to let ourselves be ministered to as well. Ministry isn’t about how much or how productive; it’s being faithful to the good works God has appointed unto us (Eph. 2:10).
Sometimes, that looks like telling a dear friend something hard because you love her and she is not walking in righteousness. Trenches can be reading Psalm 37 to an angry woman in a subway station who is belligerent that God has betrayed her. It means crying out to the Spirit for words when you find out painful truths and are bewildered at what to do next. Trenches. Ministry.
Jesus got his hands dirty. He spent time with prostitutes and sinners because he loved them too much to let them be unto their filth. He called the disciples to follow him, but there were misunderstandings and personality conflicts and weak faith galore. He had to spend a lot of time away with the Father in prayer to refresh himself.
Life is draining, ministry even more so. I haven’t even started ministry to women in an official context, being a student and all. However, the needs of women living down the hall, the needs of friends, the tears of sisters struggling with being unmarried or depressed or lustful…..God has placed me here to minister comfort and Christ as well as to be ministered to. The Body of Christ is a sweet thing, and the Lord’s calls on our lives are so special. What a wondrous concept: to be used, by God, for his plan!
It’s never about us; it’s about him who dwells richly in us. See these things, rest in them, and continue walking worthy (Eph. 4:1). We are called by him, to him, and for him.