In order to be a servant, one must first be willing to serve. Seems like that would be common sense, right? Not necessarily so. I went through a bleak period not so long ago during my work on my master’s degree where I wallowed in depression and where, while not exactly turning my back on Him, I did not exactly seek God out. I was cynical and bitter, with the bitterness leading from the cynicism. I was disgusted with my fellow man and felt that he got everything he deserved, myself included. I had watched people create their own problems, ask for help, be given good advice, and then ignore that advice or give up when the solution to the problem proved to be more work than expected. It was frustrating and painful to watch (still is), and inwardly I threw my hands up and said, Fine, have it your way. This isn’t worth it.
And so I trudged my way through my master’s education, ultimately dropping the counseling from my double-major and specializing solely in social psychology. Part of this decision hinged on my bitterness, but mostly it was because I found out that counseling was just not a good fit for me. I didn’t enjoy it, choosing rather to focus on theory and philosophy and analysis, capitalizing on the gifts and interests that God gave me.
Somewhere along this process I realized that something pivotal had been lost. During my undergraduate education, I had been both humbled and pleased to find that friends sought me out often for counsel and advise (part of the reason why I thought counseling _might_ be a good fit for me). Even after we had graduated and gone our separate ways, there had been a certain amount of a continued long-distance consultation. But at some point that had all come to an end. No one sought me out, no one asked for my advice.
It didn’t take me long to figure out why. I had become so cynical and bitter that I didn’t want to be bothered. I had, essentially, lost hope in my fellow man, lost the optimism that he could change. I’m sure that I unconsciously communicated some of this angst, but I believe also that God stopped using me for a while, stopped blessing my ministry to my friends. I had a bad attitude; I was no longer a servant, just a selfish, depressive individual with no heart for ministry.
I have been pleased to note that things are changing for the better as I struggle to get my heart right with God. It’s a daily process, typical of the Christian walk. Some days I am eager to reach out to God and serve Him, while other days I struggle just to get out of bed. But my heart has changed, softened, and while I don’t ever walk perfectly (I do LOTS of stupid things), I do at least feel like I am making the effort. And there must be some evidence of that because people have started seeking me out again. It always surprises me when it happens, too, because I truly do not feel like I have much to offer, being the prideful, oft-arrogant, struggling person I am. Yet, apparently God sees something in me I do not for He has sent people my way. I can only hope and pray that I am able to help in some small way without becoming ever more arrogant. Of course, it helps that whenever I become too comfortable, something happens to knock me down a couple of notches again.
God’s funny like that…