Turning 60 two years ago and having back surgery in the same year has given me some time for self-reflection. God has blessed me with amazing health my entire life. Instead of giving God glory for it, I have taken pride in it and used my physical abilities to inflate my ego rather than bring glory to the one who blessed me with it. God, I apologize for taking my health for granted.
I am Kelli, the mother of Kati and Ky, mother-in-love to Jeremiah, Lee, Chris and Alisa. I am also grandmother, better known as Gigi, to the below 25 group in our family. We are family through marriage because of purpose and like-mindedness.
“Choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 That verse is seen often on plaques and t shirts. In fact, it has been on a plaque hanging on my front door for probably 30 years.
Serve, as defined in the Hebrew language that the Old Testament was written in says that word means to work FOR ANOTHER, to serve ANOTHER by labor. Then it gave a very relatable analogy for me. It said, to be tilled as a field. I have been around farming my entire life and I understand tilling a field. That plow rips the ground and turns it over, sometimes several times. It kills and pulls up the weeds that rob moisture from the ground while aerating and softening the soil in order to make it more apt to support and give life to the desired seed a farmer carefully places in the ground. The plow is not thinking about the “feelings” of the ground it is tilling and not one grain of dirt in that field gets a choice about how it is turned or where it winds up.
As Joshua spoke to the Israelites, telling them to choose whom they would serve, he had just reminded them God had delivered them from a vast number of enemies and had brought them to a new place. He was telling them they had to still choose that day and every day whom they would serve. God would never ask the Israelites to do something he does not ask me to do. So, I had to ask myself who and how I serve.
I serve the god of Me. I am a narcissist. My brother is 9 years older than me, so I was basically an only child, the first girl in the family for 3 generations and the baby of the family. The world revolved around me and as an adult I still fight the need to be the “special” one. I am a narcissist that believes that I am the most important person in the room, and I deserve the accolades-for what, I am not sure, but surely I deserve them. I am the bumbling buffoon that runs around trying to be significant instead of concentrating on doing what I do well. Remember in the Hebrew definition it said working for another by labor. I do not slow down enough from being busy to listen to another. Being busy precludes listening.
When serving the god of me, I certainly can not be aware of those around me and what they need. It is like wearing one of those cone-shaped collars the vet puts on a dog after a surgery so they will leave the incision alone. Funny that dogs seem to hate it, yet I put it on every morning so that I can get things done instead of listening to the voice of another.
I just had an epiphany: being busy backs people off so I do not have to have a real relationship with them, it keeps me from seeing their needs, and I get to check the box for how hard I worked. The trifecta of failure.
I am a disciple of Christ. He said I had to choose whom I serve. I choose Jesus. Therefore, I choose to serve him. I must make this choice everyday or I fall back to serving me and my needs.
Mark 10:44 “And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.” James and John had been arguing over who was the most special to Jesus and this was Jesus’ answer to them. I have always wanted to be the special one, so I must get busy being a servant of those around me, especially my family. I have failed miserably at this. I love my family to the extent I know how to love someone other than me, but I have never been servant to them. Let me think, how could I be a servant to them? Take the dog cone off and be mindful of them, do unto others as I would have them do unto me, think of their needs before mine. Respect.
That is where my family has helped me to not only see where I am, but not allow me to stay there and point me back to God. The family loves me unconditionally, but they will not allow me to say random thoughts of nothingness and be allowed to get away with it. They question my motives, my genuineness, and even my facts. In this process, I have come to discover that being a people pleaser that gets along with everybody is not who God designed me to be, it is who I became in order to keep from drawing closer to God. It has been a fake game to be something the world likes instead of bringing honor to Christ.
I have tried to change in my own strength because that is the safe way. I can control the change. “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.” 1 John 1:6 Remember in the definition of servant, it said I had to be tilled as a field? I cannot be in charge of my life. I will raise that plow out of the ground enough that it only stirs the sand on top of the ground if I am in charge. God will put that plow down and break up the clods below the ground…the ones I can deny without family to remind me.
I commit to give up control and give God control. I must give up myself and pick up Christ every morning. And the other thing is to read scripture daily until something in it speaks to me. That is the Holy Spirt ministering to me through his Word. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9 In all honesty, some mornings I do that with great thought and really take it in. Some mornings I say it to check the box but give no thought to it and many mornings I just get out of bed and get busy. There is a difference in me the days I humble myself before God and ask for his way. A true servant is there for his master, to do his master’s work. The only way I know my master’s work for that day is to ask him and take the time to listen.
Romans 8:28 says “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” So, it is with that scripture in mind that I can say that back surgery and family that loves me enough to refuse to allow me to wallow in self pity are working together for good in my life. I am a work in progress, but thankful for the struggle.
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand. I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.” Psalms 37: 23-26