How I Rediscovered Joy

I was so busy serving, I lost sight of God.

When I became a Christian, the biggest thing that changed about me was my self-centeredness. Before becoming a Christian, I mistakenly thought I was an extrovert because I befriended people who I thought would be useful to me or who made me feel good about myself. After I became a Christian, I realized I was an introvert. My attitude toward people changed when I understood I was here to serve them, not the reverse. Suddenly people became draining rather than invigorating.

In spite of that, I threw myself wholeheartedly into ministry. Those who led me to Christ pounded into me that the only thing that lasted on earth was people, so if I was not investing in people, my time on earth was wasted. Even though being with people started to feel like it was sucking the life out of me, I felt compelled to be as involved as I possibly could with those in our church, which translated into volunteering for any need that was obvious. If someone needed a children's worship leader, I volunteered, even though working with kids wasn't my forte. When it was pointed out that we should have a women's ministry in our church, I took it on, even though I'd had no experience in such things. Occasionally I even did things I liked, such as teaching an adult Bible study, but those opportunities were hit and miss. I just felt lucky when I actually enjoyed something I was doing. It never occurred to me that should have been the norm rather than the exception.

I also felt particularly drawn to hurting people. I suddenly understood the riches I'd been given in Christ and felt it was my duty and mission to invest in those who didn't comprehend that yet. As a result, I was constantly drawn into situations over my head and needs beyond my ability to meet. So not only was I defying my personality—the basic way God made me—I was also trying to be a savior to those who should have been looking to the true Savior, not my poor imitation of one.

The problem was that it took me years to realize this. I continually lived on the edge of exhaustion and thought I was being a good follower of Christ as a result. I saw the weariness as a badge of honor. I was a warrior who fought to the end, even if it took my last ounce of strength.

Eventually, however, I became so tired that I was essentially useless. I could offer no one anything because I'd become so needy. What was I missing?

I recently came across this quote from The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume II that summed up the big hole in my approach:

February 20, 2014 at 8:08 AM

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