service – a gift to others that pays huge dividends to self

Posted: May 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

Oops. It’s my WordPress “anniversary” today, and I haven’t blogged since my birthday, which was two full months ago and then some.  Apparently I’m making up for having written every day last year!  Life has been full – work has me kind of maxed out,and my husband G and I moved out of our friends’ home into our own (rental) house, we’re starting a garden, (yes, yes, soon there will be photos from the move and photos from the garden for sure) and church has been busy too.  We moved two weeks ago; today is the first time my laptop has been opened since that move. 

Going all of this time without writing is having its effect.  Words are stopped up in me, squeezing tighter and tighter inside the cracked container that is my brain, pushing to get out.  Time to do a little release before there is some kind of pressure-related brain explosion. 

G and I have been married for 271 days – I know this because I continue to maintain the app on my iPhone that counted down to our wedding – now it merrily counts on, and periodically I check in to see where we’re at.  We work slightly different schedules.  I start at 8 AM and finish at 5 PM ; he starts at 11 AM and finishes at 7:30 PM.  I work Monday through Friday, with weekends off; he gets one weekday off each week and works every other weekend. Truth:  if we had started our marriage with this schedule, I wouldn’t have liked it.  I’d have played along, but I would have felt somehow short-shifted for it.

But blessedly, he first had a miserable job with a schedule that battered our bodies and an environment that sucked his soul.  He was only there for about 4 months (I can say “only” because I wasn’t the one working there), but it was enough to give me perspective.  With this job, we don’t have to get up at 2 AM to get him ready for work.  We don’t have to go to bed for the night at 7 or 8 PM.  I don’t have to watch my husband struggling with being treated like just another piece of equipment.  We sleep on a “normal” schedule, and he has come to work for my employer, which is approximately 1000% a better working environment.

So I don’t mind the differing schedules at all – not even in the parts where it can be a bit inconvenient.  I don’t mind working around it.  I don’t see that perspective that his terrible former employer gave me ever ceasing.  I am one grateful woman.

We both have this thing we do, where we try to out-bless each other.  After he drives me to work in the mornings (we do share a car – easy to do with the same employer and our home only a mile from work), he goes to the gym but he also hurries around the house, finding tasks to do so that I won’t have to do them.  Between the time I leave the office and when I go to pick him up from work, I race around trying to get tasks done so that he won’t have to do them.  Each of us is not so much concerned about ourselves as the other.  Each of us is not trying to get something out of the other one, but trying to give, give, give. 

Write it off to us being newlyweds if you like, but in general I find this principal to be true:  when we focus on giving and serving, we find MUCH more happiness than when we focus on trying to “get our needs met.”  It’s not only true for newlyweds and not only true in marriage. 

If I live with family or friends, and my first objective is to be a blessing and lighten their load – they get blessed, and I end up much more at peace than if I were to spend my time asserting my “rights” and trying to get something out of them. 

If I go to work with a passion to serve and bless my boss, coworkers, and our residents (clients), work is a place of joy and challenge.  If I go to work to *get* a paycheck/benefits/a sense of purpose, but with no service-mindedenss,I will end up dissatisfied, malcontent, and unfulfilled. 

If I show up at church filled with desire to serve God and others – to GIVE of myself – church is a place that blesses and grows me.   If I show up just wanting to “get fed,”  I end up full of opinions and frustrations – not at all at peace.

Even as a tenant – if I see my situation as an opportunity to bless my landlord, I have a whole other relationship with her than if I just  show up with a pocketful of entitlement and an armload of demands. 

Giving freely is a place of blessing, safety, and joy.  Giving without strings does gr eat healing and maturing work in us.

Running around trying to “be happy” or “find fulfillment” by making demands on others around us and the world in general?  Surefire plan for failure. 

I’m discovering this truth a little more every day. 

And you?  I’d love to hear about it. 

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