Working on a complex, time-sensitive writing project, I hit some challenges and could feel stress developing in my mind and body.
For a moment it began to feel heavy and unwieldy, not the way I want to carry this work.
I put it aside to spend some time serving someone else in our household, preparing a simple meal for them.
As I moved through the task, my mind found itself thinking through a solution and by the time I’d finished preparing the meal, I knew how to proceed with my writing project.
‘Stress to solution through service’ I said to myself, and I recognised a principle I had long valued but had rarely summarised so succinctly.
I’m not suggesting you can live by formulas, but if serving another helps turn stress into a solution, well, I’m thinking ‘win win’.
Often our greatest growth comes in the act of serving because the act of serving exposes our greatest vulnerabilities.
Whether these are fear, frustration, impatience, weariness, anger, pride or apathy – once exposed, we have a powerful moment of clarity in which to give our weakness to God and allow him to teach and counsel us.
If we hadn’t served – forcing ourselves to be stretched by circumstance, sandpapered by people and sifted by our own emotions – we might have never realised our need, and remained unchanged.
As we approach Easter we recall two friends of Jesus whose vulnerabilities were shockingly exposed as they served and followed their Master. One acknowledged his grief and drew close to his companions, putting himself in reach of resurrected restoration. The other hated himself and withdrew in shame, positioning himself for self-destruction.
Whether sitting in a conference or working on the streets, both moments present an opportunity to take in and give out. If we make it either/or, we have already stalled our growth. PH