When I was first born-again as a 19 year old, I had only just broken up with a boyfriend a few months beforehand, who I had lived with for a year. He was my first serious boyfriend and when he started using marijuana and alcohol more frequently, he became both emotionally and physically abusive. I decided to end the relationship.
Not long after I became a Christian, I moved back to the town where my ex-boyfriend lived. Although I wanted to do the right thing in God's eyes - I struggled. I had loved this man and I fell into my old patterns again with him. I desperately wanted to live a life without sin, but I didn't know how. I was just a baby spiritually and, just like a newborn baby in the natural, was reliant on those around me to love, nurture and guide me until I reached maturity.
I turned to those in the church that I attended for advice. I thought that they would know what to do and how to help me. My spirit had only been alive in Christ for a few months. And I reasoned, because they had walked with Him for years, they would know what to do. I had made friends with a girl a few years older than me, and I decided to invite her around to my place. As we sipped our cups of tea, I poured my heart out to her. I told her that I was struggling with my feelings for my ex-boyfriend and had even had a sexual encounter with him since returning. I told her I knew that this was wrong but felt powerless to stop it. I told her that I wanted to do the right thing as I loved Jesus so much, but didn't know what to do.
Looking back now, I can laugh about it. In my naivety, I had not known that this girl had grown up in a Christian home and had kept herself pure for her husband on their wedding night. She of course had never struggled with the problem I had presented to her, and although she showed me grace, had no clue as to what would be the best advice in my situation.
I can't remember everything that was said that day, but 17 years years after our chat, I still remember these words she spoke to me:
She gushed as she spoke these words and as she spoke them, I remember thinking, "I'm glad you are excited about being used, but I am none the wiser to what to do with my problem. Did she even hear what I said to her?" I felt deflated and powerless and was confused why she was so excited about 'being used' when in fact she had done nothing to help me. Thankfully, I moved away from my ex-boyfriend to a new town to start university a few months later."I am so excited that God was able to use me today! I just prayed yesterday, "Lord, use me," and here I am being used."
Sometimes in our enthusiasm for Him to "use me", we don't see what is right in front of us. Our motivation behind "use me" can be at times, for self-gratification. It can be prayed at times so we can feel good about ourselves, and pat ourselves on the back. Don't get me wrong, when people want God to "use me" they usually want to do so out of their desire to serve Him. It is usually because they love Him. But sometimes we might not see the forest for the trees. We are so busy looking for areas where God can "use me" that we don't see what is right in front of us.
For me at times I might get so caught up on the computer or with the boy warriors, or get so busy with friends, that I don't see that my husband has worked 10 hour days, 6 days a week for the last month and needs some extra tender loving care from me. Sometimes I get so enthusiastic helping other people that I don't see my boy warriors who need me just to be mummy.
Sometimes we get so busy chasing "our ministry" that we don't see people who are hurting right in front of us. We might not see the person who needs a meal made for them or a break from the kids. When people come to us with a problem, we might be so excited that God will "use me" that we don't really hear what the person has to say. All we hear is our own ego being stroked saying, "He used me!"
I have learned that if we move in our natural giftings, we don't have to pray "use me". As we go about our everyday lives, He uses us. As we listen to what He whispers to us, He uses us. We don't have to strive and look where He can use us - it is easy.
When I am using my creativity in writing, encouraging others or being hospitable, He uses me to show His love to those around me.
When I make dinner for my family, He uses me. When I notice that my husband needs some TLC, He uses me.
When I play 'junior monopoly' with my boy warriors, He uses me.
When I notice the pain behind the eyes of a friend, when she's trying to hold it all together, He uses me.
When there are no words and only a hug might help, He uses me.
When I am just being 'me' - He uses me.
Still taking lessons from the King,