In college, particularly early on, I spent a lot of time reading and memorizing Scripture, praying, reading christian non-fiction, and discussing theology with friends. It seemed like most of my evenings were full of times of fellowship and corporate worship. I enjoyed this time a lot. I felt like I was discovering a lot of things about God that shaped who I am today.
Late in college, or maybe in the first couple years after college, the pendulum swung. The reading and memorizing and praying and fellowshipping let up a little, and I began to instead focus more of my energies on serving others. Serving the students at the BSU, doing stuff out on campus, tutoring students, working in the community of Columbia on their vision for the future, serving my husband and my new little baby Asante.
This past year I’ve been feeling a disconnect from God, but I wasn’t sure why. I think that over these past couple weeks, God has used one of my classes and this season of Lent to show me what has gone on. In each season, I was neglecting something very important.
Many times people are on the “path of holiness” (as John Wesley would say) in order to have “Jesus and me piety” as my professor would say. Others serve others and do kingdom work, but out of their own efforts (hence, burn-out comes again and again). I have thought in the past that because I was experiencing burn-out, it meant that I need to say “no” to one more thing, or “take a break from serving.” But, as I reflect, I see that every time this happened, it was because I was serving not out of a union with Christ, but out of my own striving and efforts.
In this lenten season, may we see the reason and result of our striving, and Lord, may you call the church back to you…that we serve you and love people out of overflow of the Holy Spirit who is working in us and through us and changing us.
It’s the difference between serving and loving others because I love God and serving and loving others because I’m unified with Christ and His Spirit is overflowing from me.