I sat on the brown wooden bench day after day, week after week, month after month and it was always the same. A cycle of being buried in so many things as the life in me got sucked out slowly. I spent my days attending one meeting after the other in the name of serving God but at the end of the day, I’d get up on my bed and cry myself to sleep. For despite everything I did, I was left feeling hollow, tired and empty.
Service had become the center of my life. It was all I did. It was who I’d become. I remember joining campus with a hunger for God. I loved Him and all I wanted to do was to be with Him and please Him but somewhere along the way, I took a small detour. I mixed up a few things. What was once a love relation turned into an obligation. Instead of walking with Him, I started working for Him. I filled my days with an itinerary of church activities. On Monday I was leading evening prayers in church. Tuesday I was attending a meeting for bible study leaders. Wednesday I was leading the bible study. Thursday I was attending a meeting for praise and worship members. Friday was leaders meeting. Saturday was practice for the Sunday service, and on Sunday, well, let’s just say that Sunday was the day I would go all out in putting on the perfect fake smile and the ‘I’m happy in the Lord’ face for people. Not forgetting the insecurities I was battling with. On the outside, everything seemed great and people praised me. I was playing by the rules. The good church girl serving with diligence, always on time and present for every meeting, fellowship, seminar, you name it. But deep inside I was suffocating. I felt like I was in a cage whose door was open but I couldn’t get out. It reached a point where I wished I was an unbeliever. They appeared to be free and happy, which is paradoxical because in Christ is where true freedom is. I guess I was a free prisoner.
Service was choking my life and my intimacy with God and even when I did pray or read the word I did it because I had to.Many are the times the thought of stepping down would cross my mind but I would brush it off with a ‘What will people say or think’ question. I was afraid that God would be upset as well. My turning point came when one day I took my bible and opened Luke 10:38-42, a story about two sisters called Martha and Mary. Jesus had visited them and Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to His beautiful, life-giving words while Martha, was distracted and busy serving. Out of frustration she went to Jesus and said ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me. ‘Martha, Martha,’ Jesus answered. ‘You are worried and upset about many things but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken from her.
That was my ‘light bulb’ moment. I too had become like Martha . Drowned in service and frustrated by it but holding on for I was too afraid of what people would think. To cut the story short, I relinquished every leadership title I had when I resumed school this year. I took a bold step of stepping off the throne and letting God lead and direct me. Please note however that I’m not implying that service to God is wrong or everyone you see in church serving is faking it. Service is great. But I have learnt that it should be out an overflow of your intimate relationship with God. It should never be done because so and so says you fit best in ushering or praise team or wherever. It should be as He instructs. Psalms 32:8a, I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. He places each of us in the area that befits us. For some it’s preaching, poetry or music. For others it’s through the career path He’s placed us at. Be it teaching, medicine, writing, engineering or journalism; wherever He’s placed you is the platform to serve Him from and shine the light that He’s put in you. And as you walk with Him He’ll direct you on how to serve Him.
I don’t have it all figured out though. I’m just penning down my thoughts and experiences with the hope that someone will learn something and evade some of the land mines I’ve stepped on. Let God be first in your life my dear. And whichever move He tells you to take, no matter how crazy it might seem, take it. Stepping down from mainstream service was a hard thing for me to do. One that was, and still is, met by a lot of condemnation from people, but it’s one I don’t regret. The peace and freedom that I’m experiencing as He leads and holds my hand is priceless. Your walk with God is what matters most, and His voice should be the only one that you hearken to.
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