After a few emails back and forth with a dear friend, I was reminded of the first huge step I took on this journey to serving others outside of my comfort zone. It was not a pretty step, but it was a step!
Can we all admit it, serving others is hard?! While our culture screams “it’s all about me, it’s all about me!”, Jesus sweetly whispers “it’s about them, it’s about them.” And there we are caught in the middle of this battle.
One question I get often is “but how do you step out and serve the broken, Alene?” And then the conversation usually ends with “this is so easy for you girl, you’ve got it down.” So, I thought I’d take today and clarify the myth that I know what I’m doing. I don’t, the truth is I JUST SHOW UP.
About 2 1/2 years ago when God began wrecking my heart for serving “the least of these,” I had no clue where to go or what to do. My argument with God was much like, “God I’m serving your people and teaching so much in the church I have no time to serve anywhere else. And besides God, I wouldn’t even know what to do or where to go.” My heart ached becasue I knew God was doing something new, but I had no idea how to step in to it and go.
This specific morning it was pouring rain here, which is unusual. I had meetings and errands to run. As I set out for the day I prayed, “God I have no idea where you are calling me to serve, so will you just put someone in my path that I can bless.”
I had to run into the mall to meet my daughter and as I headed down a small hallway I noticed a few homeless men sitting on the bench, cold and wet. Instantly my heart knew I was to bless these men. Luckily, I had just read Jen Hatmaker’s book Interrupted and she explained how people just want to be acknowledged and talked to just like you would talk to anybody else. My heart was beating fast. I knew this was the opportunity I had prayed for.
As I came down the hallway I walked over to the bench where the men were and said, “Hi! How are you doing today?” And with that I froze. People – I froze. Not another word came out of my mouth. I just stood there looking like a buffoon I’m quite sure! And inside my head were these thoughts:
Alene, say something! You know whatever you say and do it’s as if you are doing it for Jesus, and here you stand speechless. Say something!
And I couldn’t. Not one other thing came out of my mouth. As I turned and walked away, the thoughts in my head were intense:
Alene, seriously God provides you with an opportunity to love others and you stand there. Jesus, I’m so sorry. Jesus, you were there and I missed an opportunity to serve you. I’m so sorry!
While I continued to beat myself up and remind myself how disappointed Jesus must be in me, one of the men hollered out:
Ma’am, you need to know I love you!
Others around might have been wondering what was going on, and you might be thinking the same thing. But let me tell you the peace that came over me when that man spoke out, it was as if Jesus were trying to tell me:
It’s alright. I know this is all new to you. So you froze – I still love you. I’m so proud of you for stepping out!
And there my friends was the first encounter of me trying to step out in to this new place Jesus was leading me. It wasn’t pretty. It was awkward. Was I successful – it seems a big NO would be the answer; however, I’d say because I stepped out and tried I was successful.
It’s all about the baby steps we take in obedience. I’ve taken many more since that day and with each scary step I take, God blesses me abundantly! Check out these steps:
Have you thought about where can you step out into obedience today? Do you feel God leading you somewhere today that you are unsure and afraid of? I’d so love to hear about it!
If you’d like more stories about taking baby steps to serve others, be sure to download my eBook Graffiti – scribbles from different sides of the street.