Many devoted followers of Christ struggle to find the balance between service and solitude (time with God.) Donna Partow expresses this in her book “Becoming a Vessel of God’s Power:
“God has always commanded us to both come to him and go and serve. There have always been those who willingly come, who sit at his feet and learn and learn and learn. But they never get up out of the pew to go. Then there are others who gladly go, but who sometimes do more harm than good because they do not first seek God, are not securely grounded in him and don’t return to him before they are depleted. God calls us to experience a divine rhythm.
- Come to God to get our needs met, go to meet the needs of others.
- Come to learn, go to teach.
- Come to be filled, go to pour forth
- Come to be encouraged, go to encourage others. “
A BALANCE CHECKLIST
Signs that you may need more time in solitude being refilled and refreshed by God
- Irritability and Frustration: You find yourself snapping at people, wound so tight you’re about to “snap” yourself and especially short-tempered with those you perceive as lazy or uncooperative.
- Uncomfortable with quiet: Silence makes you nervous, so you’re quick to turn on the TV or the radio.
- Low joy threshold: It’s been a long time since you’ve sensed that undercurrent of joy and abundance running through your heart.
- A sense of isolation: You feel all alone – as if no one is there for you and no one understands.
- Increased drivenness: You’re haunted by a sense that you must do more and more. You keep volunteering for more projects and more committees even though you know your plate is full.
- Sense of dryness and emptiness. No wonder! You have many outlets and demands, but no inlets or source of strength.
Signs that you may need to step out in Gods strength and serve.
- Slight depression: You feel a vague unhappiness, a sense of being down.
- Resentment of intrusion: Rather than welcoming people into your life, you find yourself wishing they would go away.
- Frustration over direction of life: You feel a sense of purposelessness and sometimes wonder, “Is this all there is?
- Increased self-indulgence: You feel an itch to treat yourself with favourite foods or shopping.
- Apathetic attitude: You find that very little moves you. You know your compassion level is low, but art of you just doesn’t care.
- Low energy levels. Like the Dead Sea, you may have many inlets but no outlets, and therefore you are growing stagnant.
(From Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World – Joanna Weaver Pg 182-183)
Do you need to be spending more time being refilled and refreshed or is it time to step out in God’s strength and serve? If you are tired and need encouragement – go to God. If God has been encouraging you then prayerfully ask him to show you who you can be encouraging today.
More Options for further reflection and encouragement
What to say and not to say to someone in Crisis (Blog) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lee-gaitan/what-to-sayand-not-sayto_b_8327952.html
The Difference between Christian and Secular Encouragement – an option for group discussions