BigKath: Just in case you were wondering, "bigkath" is made up of the first part of my last and first names and has nothing to do with my size. :o)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Giving Service and Feeling Love, with a little Hot Fudge on top!

I'll get to the hot fudge in a minute . . . but I've been thinking a lot about giving and serving.  I give a lot (maybe too much sometimes).  I give of myself, my time, and means for just about anyone.  I would drop anything to help someone, even if it isn't convenient for me.  I do it without even thinking.  I hold back my own desires in order to help or accommodate others.  I love to serve the people who are around me.  I look for little things I can do to help them, make them smile, or make their life easier: even if it is just a phone call to say hi, a note of encouragement, a treat, doing a favor for someone, making dinner or cleaning, stopping by for a visit, or helping a stranger in the parking lot.  Doing things for others makes me happy.  It helps me forget myself and remember the Lord and all that He has given me.

But Satan sometimes gets the best of me as negative thoughts enter my mind like:  "Why are you sacrificing so much of your time and means for others?  Why are you giving up your own conveniences?  No one really appreciates you. No one cares enough about you to thank you or serve you back." Or thoughts like  "She never even noticed what you did for her . . . Why did you even bother?  He didn't even say thank you."  These negative thoughts make me feel depressed and I start to feel unloved and unappreciated.

I thought of the Lord and His example.  He served others His whole life.  He even gave His life for the people He loved (that would be us!).  I thought of the time when He healed the ten lepers and only one of them came back to thank Him (Luke 17:11-19).  He asked "But where are the nine?"  I imagine that Jesus was disappointed and saddened that the other nine did not return to give thanks and to glorify God.

I also thought of all the mothers who give so much of themselves and rarely get the credit and gratitude that they deserve.  I'm so grateful for my mom and all that she has done to serve me.  

So I have been trying to figure out how to keep the joy in my heart that serving others brings, whether or not the people I serve appreciate it, or even notice the sacrifices I make.  Because, let's face it, I'm still human and I do like to feel needed, appreciated, and loved.  It is a basic human desire to be loved.  (That reminds me of one of my favorite songs "Everybody" by Ingrid Michaelson.  Click on the link if you want to listen to it.  "Everybody, everybody wants to love.  Everybody, everybody wants to be loved . . ." :).

Some scriptures came to mind as I struggled with the Lord in prayer and pondering.  Mosiah 2:17 " . . . when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."  When I serve others, I am really serving God.  It doesn't matter how people respond to my service.  Heavenly Father knows my efforts and desires and He will bless me.  And when someone does notice and appreciate what I do and make me feel loved, then it is icing on the cake!  (or how about hot fudge on the ice cream!  Even better . . . since I don't like cake that much.  ha ha  :o)

I also thought of Matt. 25:40 "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."  I am merely an instrument in God's hands.  I am doing His work.  I love the talk that Elder Uchtdorf gave, "You are His HandsI am acting as the hands of God when I serve others.  And when someone rejects me or my service, or doesn't take time to thank me, it is Heavenly Father who they are rejecting and being ungrateful towards, not me necessarily.  

I have been reminded that I need to be grateful for the service that people do for me and tell them so.  I need to find ways to show my love and appreciation for them.  Because I know how good it feels when someone notices and appreciates me.  But most of all, I have been reminded that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are the true source of love and appreciation.  That is where I must turn for peace, comfort, confidence, and love.  I'm not perfect.  People aren't perfect.  But my Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ are perfect.  They can take away disappointment and negative thoughts and bring peace and joy to my heart which will allow me to continue serving and loving His children even more