Oh we love it, but we struggle.
Ministry as a job. There are a lot of facets of that which Aaron and I wrestle with. While we love being able to spend time with people and get paid while doing it, a certain pressure comes along too. Do more. Do more. Do more. And then the question arises, "Am I doing (fill-in-the-blank) out of love and a leading from the Holy Spirit or out of a sense of obligation because it's my job?"
Sigh. The layers of my heart regarding our job are many and messy. There's the joy pulsing in my chest when a girl sees God in a new and truer way. There's the deep bond of community and family when leaders stay after meetings to play games and drink chai. There's listening to my husband teach the Bible and realizing again that God speaks through the ready, humble heart.
There's the defeat of not being able to change someone's choices. Watching a girl we deeply care for trapped in the cycle of poverty and abuse. We invite her over, we take her to church, we love against the hate and tension she receives on nearly every side, but there is only so much we can choose for her. There's the ugly competition I feel with a good friend who helps us with K-Life. "She does things so much better," I think. "She's always hanging out with girls. Why am I even trying?" There's the bone-tiredness and emotional spent-nesss at the end of a week when we have been with people much and the mustering up of grace to be with them some more.
I love this! We have purpose here! Thank you, Lord!
I hate this! Nothing we are doing matters! Why are we here, Lord?
I tend to live in extremes...can you tell? :)
God keeps bringing me back to the place of Him. The place of Him, where the only things able to stay are those done for Him and through His power. It doesn't matter what people think of us. It doesn't matter how they think we're doing our job. It doesn't matter how many "people-hours" I log in a week. It doesn't matter if I'm doing better than so and so. What matters is HIM, and if I am following His voice. This job may not always look successful to the world. That is okay. Our numbers may go down. That is okay. The question we must ask: Are we abiding in Him and are our good works flowing out of that relationship?
Paul's words encouraged me this morning:
"Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way:
in great endurance;
in troubles, hardships, and distresses;
in beatings, imprisonments and riots;
in purity, understanding, patience and kindness;
in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love;
in truthful speech and the power of God;
with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left;
through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report;
genuine, yet regarded as imposters;
known, yet regarded as unknown;
dying, and yet we live on;
beaten, and yet not killed;
sorrowful, yet always rejoicing;
poor, yet making many rich;
having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you."
-2 Corinthians 6:4-11
I am reminded of the presence of God in hills and valleys. Of my purpose in both. It doesn't change based on the scenery. I am guided by a transcendent purpose. To know God, to love Him, to serve Him out of that love.