The first time I ever did volunteer work/ community service was my first semester of college way back in 2006.
I had just graduated from high school and wanted to do something greater than myself, something bigger than my own dreams, something that wouldn’t necessarily make a change in me, nothing really for my own benefit but something that would make a difference in someone else’s life. What I found in the three months I tutored second graders in a poor, underprivileged, inner-city school was that it did change me, though. It did make a difference in my life, if only to open my eyes and see the bigger picture — a different reality — of my world and the world through another’s eyes.
It’s often so easy to become complacent in life — in doing the things that we do, day in and day out.
Without really thinking about what we do. Without ever really stopping to consider how our actions, or lack of connectivity to those around us, effect family, friends, acquaintances, strangers. Right? Let’s be a little real together today. We write/read this blog because we want something deeper in life. We want to connect with God, each other, and know that there are other girls out there who get it. So let’s dig into this little topic. Let’s reach out and get some revelation together, shall we?
It’s hard to take control of the little things of life sometimes in order to conquer what really matters and what’s important. We frequently set goals for ourselves: today I’m going to get up at 4am to pray for an hour … this week I’m going to read all of the New Testament … this month I’m going to teach a Bible study every day … today I’m not going to be angry about anything … tomorrow I’m going to ____. You know the drill — you get it! I know I’m not the only one who sets goals and then completely owns the failure of incompletion. Because inevitably the day that you decide you’re going to wake up at 4am to pray, the night before you probably won’t actually get to sleep around midnight and then won’t have restful sleep anyway. And to drag yourself out of bed is just so.not.happening.
So we try. We fail. And the cycle is repeated many times over, all while we feel miserable, dejected and useless as an intentional, Christian woman. But still the desire remains to please God with all of our being in spite of our inadequacies and shortcomings. And now you’re thinking yes. yes yes. yes. I get it. So much. That’s me! BUT, what does this have to do with volunteer work? Ahhhh I’m so glad you asked!
Generally when we think of success we think of our own achievements, accomplishments and checked-off to-do lists. And yes, those are completely legit. But what I’ve discovered throughout my life is that the times when I feel the most fulfilled is when I’m doing something for someone else: when I’m using my time, energy, and talents to lift someone else up or doing something that does not focus on me.
I will never forget the first time I really got outside of myself. The first time I was doing something that did not benefit my pursuit of a career. It’s freeing. So freeing. So eye-opening. And then, before I knew it, it was like my own world had changed. In an attempt to be a world-changer, I had gained a new perspective, a new vision, a new heart.
And that’s where we are called to live as Intentional, Godly, Christian girls ::
Jesus commissioned us to “go ye into all the world” (Matthew 28:19) and reach the poor, the lonely, the miserable, the needy, the unreached. But we cannot officially obey that commandment until we get outside of ourselves — until we look outside our own desires, our own plans/dreams/goals, our own agenda.
We’re a group of women who all have different personalities — introverts, extroverts, ambiverts. (I’m an ambivert, just in case you ever wondered … mostly extrovert with introvert qualities.) Anyway, with those different personalities come various ways in which we need to “get outside” of our own selves. For me it was volunteering. For you it could be something completely different.
But I challenge you today, on this gorgeous Saturday, the weekend, to do something to make a difference for someone else. Something that makes you even go out of your comfort zone. Something that gets you out of the perfectly constructed box you’ve created for your family. Something that makes you bold for the Kingdom of Heaven, something that opens your eyes to a world in need of Jesus so that you can become a world-changer in your community, for your community, in order to “go into all the world”.
Read your Bible. Study. Pray. Be bold. Be intentional. Be authentic. Connect with like-minded women who can encourage you in your relationship with Jesus — both here on She’s Intentional and in person. Build relationships. Be willing to let go of structure and the expected to get into a realm where God is in control.