Monday, June 8, 2009

Useless

Lately, Ive been feeling a little useless.

Now dont get me wrong, I know I am "needed". My kids need me to fix their breakfast, pack their lunches, run them around to all of their many social and sports activities, bake brownies, cook dinner, wash their clothes, take them to church, tuck them in at night, and love and nurture them each and every day.

My husband needs to me to love him, love on him, and appreciate all of his hard work. He needs food and clean clothes, and really loves a clean house.

My sister needs me to help her out with doctors appointments and kids stuff, and to be a friend and confidant. My parents and in-laws need a good daughter and daughter in law. My neices and nephews need a good aunt, my friends need me to care about them, my church needs my involvement, my ministry needs my involvement. And so on.

But despite all that, I have been feeling useless in Gods Kingdom lately. I know that is not how God wants me to feel, but I cant help it! My speaking schedule has been slow this year, so other than writing on my blog, monthly P31 devotions, and working on a book proposal idea, I havent been doing that much in ministry. I stepped off of my church women's ministry team after leading it for six years, and my corporate training schedule has even slowed down for the summer. So, Im not feeling all that busy!

I guess I have been equating my ministry-busyness, with my worthiness, and I didnt even realize it.

Me.... the girl who leads stress management classes telling people not to be so busy. Me.... the girl who leads ministry sessions on finding our worthiness in Christ, and not in our actions or accomplishments. Me? Uh oh. I realized that while my heart had been longing to see God do something awesome, that I forgot to see how He was using me right where I was.

Last week, I was praying about this feeling of uselessness. I asked God why I was feeling uesless and "visionless". I shared my feelings about how nothing exciting or God worthy seemed to be going on in my life. I questioned why God has me in the season of non-busyness; a season of waiting to see what doors God wants to open next; a season of trusting that God is preparing me for something exciting, even if I cant "see" anything happening.

Then I opened my Utmost For His Highest daily devotion book to the June 4 devotion, and here is what it said:

Hebrews 13:5 "For He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."

As I read through the devotion, one of the paragraphs said this: "Sometimes it is not the difficulty that makes me think God will forsake me, but the drudgery. There is no Hill Difficulty to climb, no vision given, nothing wonderful or beautiful, just the commonplace day in and day out."

Those words seemed to jump out on the page straight into my heart. That is exactly how I had been feeling, and God was speaking to me. I wasnt feeling useless and visionless because of problems in my life, but just because everything seemed to be staying the same ol ,same ol ...every day. Now understand, that I absolutely love my life, and I have a wonderful life, but with regards to serving, I had been feeling a little hum drum.

As I continued to read the devotion, it went on to say that sometimes we have this idea that God has to do something exceptional in our lives to equip us to bring Him glory, but instead, as we live out each day in His grace, we are glorifying Him. We need to learn to be excited about the every day things, instead of yearning for some earth shattering, amazing adventure or opportunity to drop into our life. We are somebody because of Him, not because of what we do.

It was a stark reminder to remember to see things through Gods spiritual vision, and not depend on my own physical vision. My heart needs to be busy, not my hands.

I am working on changing my attitude to one focused on usefulness, not uselessness. God wants to use me fully, not just partially, and that can only happen if my heart is engaged in His plans. I want an attitude that treasures the opportunities to be Jesus to others in my every day life, instead of trying to catch a vision of something spectacular that seems just beyond my reach.

I want to cherish each of the little ways that God uses me in my every day activities, with all the wonderful people in my life.....from tying someones shoe, to taking a meal, to encouraging a friend, to playing taxi-mom, and kissing my sweet husband. Each of these every day things are ways that God makes me useful, and that is the vision I want to see.

I dont need to be busy with my hands, to do work for Gods kingdom. He is making me useful and kingdom worthy right where I am, and simply knowing that brings a smile to my heart.

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8 comments:

B His Girl said...

Hi Tracie,

I love this post! It hit the core of how I have felt many many times. We ask the Lord a question and we get answers. Yes, He speaks! Maybe it is not the answer we wanted to hear but it is clear. A few weeks ago I was in a similar thought pattern with the Lord. His reply to me was to 'not grow weary doing good'. He has called me to minister in a very large poor high crime apartment complex. I help single women get household goods, beds, and other furniture to make their house a home. I also talk to them about the Lord. They go hand in hand. My speaking engagements were slim and my friend said "Barbara, you should invite yourself to speak some places." Invite myself??? She said, "God gave you a gift and you are not using it like you should." She was right. I booked their community room at the complex and put on an event. I had approx. 26 women attend and more importantly God was waiting for me there. The event was so powerful. Of course there was no pay for it and actually it cost us, but God opened my eyes there to a new thing. Here is a thought to pray about Tracie. Is there somewhere in your area you could host a small event and share Jesus to others? Make it a project and get other women involved in helping. A few weeks ago I received $500 from a group of women in my church to use in this apt. complex. Another womam gave me $60. I have not solicited any funding. These were both totally 'out of the blue'. The apt. complex is not an official ministry in my church. God directed me there and I have tried to be faithful. He is now sending monetary resources as well as tangible resources. I was blown away getting this money. This women's group never gives money to an individual, only organizations. They have heard stories of what I am doing or rather what GOD is doing there over the past two years. God touched their hearts. He has not grown weary doing good. I also have to say that I am "B" His Girl because God has taught me the lesson that it is not about 'doing' but 'b'eing. John 15...the B chapter. Remain in me and I will remain in you. Without me, you can 'do' nothing. He cares more about our relationship with Him that what we can do for Him. Our 'do's have to come out of the overflow of our connection to Him. I felt I was to pass this on to you today...thus the long comment. I am going to start a "Home Makeover" series at the Village apts. and combine the natural and the spiritual. I am excited about what God is up to! It may not look like the events I dreamed of speaking at...It will be better because God really issued the invitation to join Him at work in the Village.
May God stir all kinds of His God stuff in your life while you are simmering.
Love in Christ,
Barbara

Tracie Miles said...

Barbara, thank you for taking time to comment this morning! I loved and agree with everything you have said. Thank you for your suggestions, and WOW - what an amazing thing God is doing through you in your community. May God bless you for stepping out of your comfort zone to get involved right where He wanted you to be, even when that wasnt your own vision. It is very encouraging and inspiring to us all. Thanks again! Many blessings -

Tasha said...

Hi Tracie,
As I read your blog, I instantly thought of the blog you wrote where you ministered to so many hurting people through Proverbs 31 Ministries. You started it with Bruce Almighty. Whether you realize it or not, you are doing a wonderful job ministering even through your devotionals. Do not allow the devil to creep in and take any glory from the wonderful works God has done in you. Thank you for continuing to be an inspriation to us all.
May God continue to bless you.
Tasha

Rachel B said...

Tracie,
Great post! Very honest and encouraging because so many can relate...including me.

I just wanted you to know how much God is using you right now, where you are and with what you are doing. I just recently started reading your blog and it has ministred to me numerous times.

I also really appreciated the reply e-mail you sent to me a while back with suggestions on how I can get my "feet wet" in women's ministry...writing and speaking. It was so helpful and meant so much to me!

As you're working on changing your attitude from uselessness to usefulness, know that God is already using you no...even if you're not seeing the results right before you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Traie,
This commit didn't come from your devotion...It came from todays daily devotion on Proverbs 31. about friendship. (June 9).

You have a friend out there who loves to go and read your devotions and blog almost everyday. God is using you more than what you are giving yourself credit for. I feel this way alot....I don't like to say this but I'm just a stay at home Mom. But God reminds me alot that in todays world with all of the busyness. He has me right whre I am needed (the most). Not to be doing what the rest of the world is doing too many children left alone raising themselves, without guidance...left with a television and a computer.

Our sons are both teenagers now...So many parents out there thinking they are not needed anymore when there children get this age. To us it is when they need our guidance the most. I wonder alot if this is all there is? One day one of my son's quoted to me about when I was struggling with it. He said "Mom we are your paycheck."......So far We can say The paycheck is one of the best returns for what God has me doing. A bible verse that keeps me going comes from Galatians 6:9,"Let us not become weary in doing good. For at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

Anyway Tracie I feel like I have a TRUE...HONEST...POSATIVE...FRIEND out there when I read your devotion. ALWAYS love your encouragment. Keep running the race.

Take Care Tracie.

A TRULY TRULY GOD BLESS YOU.

A True Friend....Rhonda

Joyful said...

Ah, Tracie, my friend, God is using you in ways you cannot see as you faithfully follow Him. Here I am...sitting in another Country, being ministered to by the Lord, through your sharing.

This line is a treasure..."as we live out each day in His grace, we are glorifying Him."

We are always looking for the extraordinary, and God desires we do the ordinary with greatness.

You are so far from "useless". Why is it we can never see that in ourselves?

Hugs,
Joy

Joyful said...

Tracie, I'm coming back after spending time with the Lord this morning. The Word He spoke to my heart called me to remember this post of yours.

I was reading in 2 Kings today. The story of the healing of Naaman. The verse that spoke to me was, "'Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn't you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, 'Go and wash and be cured!'" 2 Kings 5:13 In response I wrote the following:

Isn't that always the way? We're always looking for the bigger and better. We always want to be part of a grand plan. Being told to 'go and wash' was too ordinary. Not only that, where was the prophet himself? Naaman was delivered this message from a mere servant. Didn't anyone recognize that he was a mighty warrior? Naaman desires a healing ceremony worthy of his stature.

Have I ever limited God by my expectations? My heart's desire is to serve God and be used by Him, but I too pictured myself receiving a call to position and public recognition. To go "jump in the lake" seems ridiculous. Why, I told God I'd do anything and go anywhere, yet my days consist of the mundane and the routine. Laundry. Car pool. Cleaning bathrooms. Making meals. Refereeing quarrels. Yet, I ask myself, if God had called me to do something very difficult, wouldn't I have done it? So I should certainly obey him when He says simply, serve your family...be a great wife...be an amazing mom...be a treasured friend...be a faithful neighbour...tackle that laundry...scrub those floors...scour those toilets...hold babies in the nursery...make a meal for that widow...write that note. I am being obedient as I honour the Lord in the "simple" things. God places great value on these things that society views with little importance.

God is not a genie in a bottle, squeezed into our design. Naaman reluctantly obeys and God shows Himself mighty. The bottle filled with preconceptions within which Naaman has tried to tame the divine is broken.

Though we often seek to grasp at God and limit Him, for now we can only know Him in part, for He remains mysterious and unpredictable. It is my prayer that He will move and touch my life in ways my bottles of theology, doctrine, faith and belief are too small and fragile to contain. I need to meet the God who works outside my box. The God who gives simple instruction with great power. And then, in that encounter, Lord give me longing to obey.

Though He speaks, "simply" there is nothing 'simple' about our calling.

Hugs to you as you follow,
Joy

Melanie said...

This was a meaningful post and I enjoyed the comments just as much!
Tracie, you verbalized what I often feel in seasons that seem a bit "empty."
Melanie@Bella~Mella