5. Serving gives me some peace of mind about how I’m spending my time on this earth. I read a book… Sorry, I can’t remember the title. (Can you still have pregnancy brain when your baby is 13?) Anyway, I read a book in which a pastor shared that in all his years, no one on their death bed has ever asked him to park their Lexus outside the hospital window so they can see it one more time before they go. At the end, we don’t care about that stuff. We care about our personal relationships, how well we served God, did our lives have meaning. We serve God by serving people who are in pain. That’s what Jesus did. That’s the legacy that lives on. Jesus didn’t care about people’s piety. He cared about showing love to hurting people.
4. Serving has helped me learn how to say no. It’s so easy to get caught up in doing good things that we don’t have time/energy for the right things. You can spend all your time trying to be the perfect room mom, the perfect whatever. If that’s your call, knock yourself out but if not, if you’re just trying to be seen as good, you’ll end up exhausted with a long to do list. I have three things that I know God has asked me put my service into right now (besides the people in my life) — writing, worship planning and working to help bring healing to the lives of hurting women. That’s it. That’s the list. Sure, some one off opportunities come up that I do because I’m part of a community, but if I get asked to do something that’s going to be a huge time and energy suck and it doesn’t go into one of those areas, I’m sorry, it’s a no.
3. Serving has given me a great optimism about people and God’s amazing capacity to heal. I hear stories that exhibit the absolute very worst that people have to offer and yet I also see acts of kindness and mercy and gentleness and forgiveness that take my breath away. I see the human capacity to have hope and God’s willingness to respond. Serving leaves no room for cynicism. Being a cynic is lazy and it’s insulting to God and to people who are doing everything they can to build their own lives or the lives of others. In serving, I see healing is possible.
2. I’ve made some truly amazing relationships through serving. There was a point in my life when I found myself around people who dragged me down, who encouraged my own self absorption. You meet different people when you serve. You meet people who put their caring into action or who need your care. You'll meet people who inspire you. For me, that can be the women in Tirzah's programs. How can you not fall in love with a 44-year-old-woman who is thrilled to be learning to read! Sometimes, it’s the Tirzah staff and leaders who are committed — I mean seriously committed and who are smart and shrewd and so loving and giving, it’s crazy. And sometimes it’s the people who come up to me with tears in their eyes, who write checks to Tirzah, who encourage or who decide to travel with Tirzah —all because God has touched their hearts. Those interactions feed my soul.
1. When I serve, I feel God near me. Don’t get me wrong. I believe God is with us all the time. But I feel even more closely in tune with Him when I’m involved with justice issues. He’s so close. There are other times when I’m off on some tangent and I feel God giving me a polite blank stare. You know the look. I’m pretty sure it’s the same look I have on my face when my one of my kids is trying to explain the latest anime show or a new youtube channel. It’s not that it’s bad, I just sorta don’t get it. If you feel like God is distant from you, He’s not. He’s there and serving takes you into His happy place. The place where He’s stoked, where He’s bubbling over with ideas and insights and jokes and warmth and meaning and surprises. Which is a pretty awesome place to be.
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Looking for ways 6-10? Read the part I of this article here.
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Casandra Morgan-Loyer Regional Leader for North America // Casandra is an Emmy-nominated writer who joined the staff of Tirzah in January 2014. Casandra loves all kinds of stories and believes in the power of the individual's story to inform and move people to action. Her personal mission is to help women and girls thrive, prosper, believe, hope, laugh uncontrollably and know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they matter. She gets a huge thrill out of connecting people in North America with the justice issues that impact women and girls globally and she really, really doesn't like when people are mean to those who have less power. She lives in California with her very creative husband, Erik and their two children.