A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege to speak at the opening session of the East Regional Youth Leaders retreat. I love speaking, but more than that I love the opportunity to get to know people and have genuine 1-on-1 conversations with them. Often times, I am guilty of getting too busy taking care of things, planning events, and making sure to help out as much as possible. Along the way, the time that I spend investing in relationships starts to decrease.

Fortunately for this time I was in New Hampshire, after my session I was encouraged to have conversations, speak encouragement, hang out, etc. (No one really had to convince me of this – I felt like I was turned loose to do what I love!)

So as I started to talk to people, in the midst of our conversation I would ask the same two questions: “What do you do right now?” And “What feeds you?” A similar question along these lines was “What is your sweet spot in serving Christ?” (This was based off of a sermon one of our pastors preached this past summer).

What surprised me was the silence that would follow. There were some responses such as “I haven’t really thought about that”, “I’m not sure”, “I have to think about that”. The even bigger surprised was when someone flipped the question on me. Talk about speechless.

After the silence, though, would come my favorite part…people sharing their passions and what truly feeds them. Their eyes would light up, their speech would get faster, and they started to just start dreaming about what they would want to do. Also, some weren’t sure why they weren’t pursuing it in the first place.

It was in the midst of these conversations that I realized that God had allowed me the opportunity to not only speak (something I love to do), but to have some genuine conversations and have the chance to speak life and affirmation to some incredible leaders.

One thing that’s a reality for anyone who is serving or in leadership is that there are things we may need to do that aren’t always what we are “called” to or that we don’t find enjoyment in, but is part of serving. However, along the way that gets manipulated to believe that if we aren’t in a place of suffering or pushing through, we aren’t serving. In fact, it becomes a running joke among leaders.

When I was asked to do a soul care blog, naturally my mind turned towards contemplative activities and the need to rest in Christ. That’s incredibly important, but what about when we are serving and in our mission field? Are we serving in a capacity that feeds us? Not necessarily for us personally, but puts us in a place where we can simultaneously feel like we are advancing the kingdom AND finding joy in Christ through that.

If we believe that God loves His children, then is it ridiculous to think that there are times where He would want us to find joy in what we are doing and bless the attempt to align our hearts with His will?

So the question is…when you’re serving, what feeds you?

Michael Gay
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