In a world where it’s so easy to take advantage of people and be taken advantage of, serving doesn’t seem like a good idea. But when you serve, you give. And self-care is the best way to stay filled.
We don’t serve only in churches or at our workplaces. We serve our countries. Our families. Our communities. We carry our patriotism and loyalty around the world irrespective of how difficult it can sometimes be.
What does it mean to serve?
But how can you learn to serve without becoming a slave? How do you become so good at giving that you don’t lose your value or become empty yourself?
Service involves giving of oneself whether the conditions are pleasant or not. When you give of yourself to your children, parents, spouse or partner, sibling, employer, or whoever, you empower yourself.
You become an example of “laying down all” to express love, respect, and peace.
Despite how nice this sounds, there’s a downside to it. Many people have become accustomed to taking and taking because they always have people who are giving and giving.
And if you’re the giver, you may end up feeling used, burned out, empty. Lacking!
How do you avoid this?
The Unpopular Side of Service
Medical practitioners understand this. No matter how good they are with caring for people and saving lives, they sometimes just crave their own time.
Same goes with being a parent. I recently had someone explain the rigor of parenting. You know that feeling of wanting to tell your child, “can you stay on your own for a while and just let me be?”
It’s like an empty glass of water that so wishes someone would be gracious enough to fill it up.
The Jesus Example
That’s the idea. In service, we sometimes get exhausted, overused or incapable. Not because we are incapable. But because there’s that part of us that’s no longer full.
When you serve, or give yourself to people or a cause, save some piece of you for yourself. Remember that Christ gave all for you but He resurrected so that you could have a life with him at his second coming.
That’s the idea of not becoming a slave. When you serve, you leave something to be expected. You leave something intact. You don’t lose everything.
As a parent, for example, you don’t give all your life to your child because you want to prove a point to yourself, your child or anyone else. Remember to save some of you for you.
As a spouse, don’t give all your life to your spouse because you want to keep them by your side or you’re afraid of losing them to life or some other person.
What Ellen G. White says About Serving
Ellen G. White suggested in one of her books that women must retain their individuality even in marriage.
She must have meant that women should “have a life” while serving their husbands.
You know what I love about the Proverbs 31 woman? She’s a wife, mother, employer, investor, and Christian. Her ways are complete.
Yes, she serves. But she doesn’t slave away. She sets an example that makes her husband call her “blessed”.
Here’s the deal:
Serve but never be a slave.
Have your needs met but never be a liability.
Immense yourself but never feel irreplaceable.
Be a person that gives but never goes empty. Let your service come from a heart of ever flowing love. Don’t be forced to serve.
Don’t be pressured to serve. Don’t be compelled. And don’t be exploited.
Finally, I have learned that there’s always be those who take advantage of others.
I have left certain positions in my life because the service I offered became forced out of me.
I never want to serve because someone puts a knife to my throat.
I love to serve out of love. In fact earlier this year, something dropped in my mind.
Serve, even when you don’t feel loved.
And it’s been working fine for me.
So, in essence, I encourage you to serve from a heart of love and never become a slave.
Know when to give it all sincerely. And when you feel like you’re losing it all, get a refill or move on.
I hope you find a true reason to serve without becoming a slave.