How can I serve with a weak body?
My heart is willing! But there are things I just can’t manage …
When I was younger, before I was married and had children, I was able to use my strength to serve in. I could be along in all the fundraising, help with Sunday School and Activity Club, work with the youth, do volunteer work, and more. But after four difficult pregnancies and a struggle with severe post partum depression, I was no longer physically healthy and mentally strong enough to be able to do these things. I don’t have a diagnosis of cancer or some other medical ailment; I just have a weak body. People don’t look at me and see this weakness. This is where I have to be faithful before God’s face and bear the reproach that can come. It can look like I’m lazy, or choosing not to be along.
It’s been interesting to find my way, when there is so much need for people to help and serve. I see the need for help weekly, the need for workers to rise up and fill in the gaps. And yet, I can’t physically do it. My heart is willing! I want to be along, and for a while, I pushed myself to do everything that I could. But the Spirit soon spoke to me, and my husband confirmed it with a timely exhortation, that this was actually unrighteousness.
The works God has prepared for me
I had gone outside my area of grace, those works that God has prepared for me, and had been instead doing empty works. Then the Lord wasn’t able to bless those works. In addition, my own family was suffering, because I was giving all my strength and energy to other things. They were left with a worn out, exhausted mother – I couldn’t fulfill my tasks at home and was emotionally fragile.
What I have come to realize is that it is so easy to think that if I’m outwardly doing good works and people can see that, then my part has been fulfilled. But those can so easily be dead works; things that are done just so people will acknowledge that I am working and I get some honor for it. It takes an inward look at my motives and actions, a judgement over how and why I do the things I do and say, as well as a strong connection with Jesus, to be able to find my prepared works. Think if Paul hadn’t used the time while he was in prison to write to the churches, instead focusing on the fact that he was chained up and not out spreading the gospel, making disciples and teaching the churches! We wouldn’t have his letters that are such a help for us today.
This is an ongoing battle for me; to find the works that God has prepared for me. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10. Whether it’s in my own home doing laundry with a good spirit and meeting my children’s needs, or in my prayer closet battling for those who are doing the physical work or praying for those that carry responsibility, etc. That part is just as important as doing the actual physical work; I’m not less of a blessing and this task isn’t less important than the outward jobs.
God doesn’t rely on my own strength physically, mentally or emotionally to get His work done. When I am faithful to find my place, and be obedient to remain there, carrying out the works that God has intended for me, then His greater work will be accomplished. No matter what these works are, I know that when I remain in my area of grace, He will give me whatever strength I need to carry out those tasks.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.