My chest compressed harder and harder. A giant’s hand wrapped around a ball beneath my ribcage—Crush. Release. Crush. Release. My muscles tensed across my breastplate and into my shoulder, the right, not the left. I should be fine, right?
Then more compressions and pain crept down my arm and up my neck. My heart raced and I felt dizzy. What was going on?
Well, I guess we will never know. An eight and a half hour visit to the ER produced little medical insight, but allowed this momma a whole lot of reflection time—especially since a poorly done IV port left my right arm incapable of moving or bending. I found myself captive for the better part of a full day to my thoughts.
Was I having a heart attack? If so, what pushed me to this place? Poor nutrition—possibly! Lack of self-care and exercise—yes! Stress–affirmative! Why? I know Jesus and have nothing to fear. I serve Him.
But, do I?
Many years ago, I had been hurt in ministry, accused of something I hadn’t done. When the smoke cleared, my name was cleared here on earth. But it didn’t matter, the damage had been done. My heart broke, and I walked away from the one thing I loved more than any other—ministering to women. Why? Because a few women did not approve of me? Could their disapproval have stemmed from their own issues? Possibly. Regardless, I processed the event as a sign that I was not worthy of God’s calling to minister. Unfortunately, I listened to the wrong source—human voices instead of God’s voice. Of course, I know that I should not have given their opinions of me more power than leaning into my Father to determine my worth. Yet, still I fell prey.
And so over the subsequent years, I tried to fill the void I felt from leaving ministry with busyness, “stressors” and “time-thieves” hoping to receive earthly affirmation. Truth is…there is no replacement for God’s affirmation. When you are called to serve Him, running will only lead you and leave you in a more distant place. Ever hear about the man in the belly of the whale? Yep! I can relate, and I confess that I’ve been a bad steward over the years—using my time, money and talents—for the wrong things. I’ve collected piles to clean out, obligations to finish and/or walk away from, and a manuscript that needs completed. Satan would love nothing more than for me (and you) to remain on the sidelines and continue to focus on appeasing humans, some of which are not able to be appeased!
So I encourage you to join me in asking yourself as Paul has done in Galatians 1:10: “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” If your answer is, “Yes, I AM serving God”, not in formal ministry but in my day-to-day office setting, my home or my neighborhood, then I encourage you to use Colossians 3:23-24 as your guide: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
However, if you are like me and serving a different master, I encourage you to re-think things before you end up with a very expensive, wasteful trip to the ER…although, was it really a waste? Last Monday, I was reminded that I’m no one’s Savior. I needed one myself which is why I follow and believe in Jesus.
But…I am called to be His servant during my time here on this earth. So, from this day forward, I vow to first screen each request on my time through the will of God for my life. He’ll show me my way. And He’ll show you yours. Will you join me?