In a world full of people living mostly for themselves, serving others is a must now more than ever, here’s why…
If I compile a list of people I admire in my life, there tends to be one common denominator. That is, they seem to be serving others almost constantly. These beautiful human beings have always been heroes to me and I’ve spent much of my life wishing I could grow up to be just like one of them.
The Downfall of Serving Others
Our wonderfully confused world has warped many values for me. Because my above heroes were born in a different era than I, it was finally possible to see why it was hard for me to want to serve others. As women, we have been taught to stand up for ourselves more. The world tells us to go for the CEO position at work, and many other great attributes that haven’t been at our fingertips in the decades prior. There are wonderful opportunities for women since the suffragettes and all their predecessors marched for votes for women and women’s rights.
This kind of thinking is not harmful to women, but at some point we decided we were going to do everything for ourselves and nothing else. Men do this too, sadly. I’m not sure which came first, the downfall of serving for men or women, but it is safe to say they directly correlate with one another.
Serving Within a Marriage
After seven years of marriage, I have finally realized serving my husband doesn’t make me a weak woman. Serving our spouses, whether it is wife to husband or husband to wife, is a very valuable gift and a necessity to a thriving marriage. The secret to great service is not to do things with the expectation of something in return. This is called serving selflessly, which leads to unconditional love. An example, “I can be the one to plan and create dinner for our family even though we both work, without complaint.” Another one, “I notice my spouse is very tired, so I offer to do the chore he/she is doing.” These are small acts of service, but they grow into greater selfless acts as time goes on.
Men Flourish From Respect
If there were ever a spot-on blanket statement, I believe it would be: Men flourish from respect. How women feel they respect their husbands and how men feel they are being respected are not the same, but serving seems to be the answer. Women need to listen to their husband’s cues to understand what their husbands feel is respect, before deciding how they will serve them.
Women Blossom From Love
If I can do one more blanket statement from the women’s point of view, I would say: Women blossom from love. How me show love to their wives and how women feel it from their husbands, again, appears differently. In this case, serving is the answer as well. When a wife serves her husband, he feels respected and when a husband serves his wife, she feels loved.
When you get down to it, respect means love to men, and love means respect for women. We really all want the same thing!
Reap the Rewards
What happens when you decide to do one selfless act of service for your spouse? Maybe nothing, maybe they don’t even notice. What happens when you decide to do multiple acts of service for your spouse without expecting anything in return? You’ll begin to see a change in that other person and most likely they’ll become more pleasant and begin doing small selfless acts for you. Though you shouldn’t expect anything in return for what you decide to do (that isn’t what motivates us) you will eventually get to reap the rewards of serving others.
Serving Our Family and Friends
Now let’s talk about serving our friends and family. This may seem easier because we all tend to show love and respect to our friends and family, at least more so than our spouses, but it can actually be tough to do because you don’t see them as often. Helping your family and friends by offering to watch kiddos, helping run errands, and bringing over hot meals in times of distress are all good deeds that first come to mind. I’d like to challenge you to think deeper.
Serving Others by Being Present
We can offer service to others through mental capacity as well. At this time last year, I was feeling very down about things going on in my life, and now I realize I needed a friend to talk to, and about nothing in particular. Over the last few months, I’ve been able to invite others to visit to help myself in that way, but I assume I’m not that different from other women. Maybe I have some friends that could use me to help them climb out of their own funk.
If it is awkward to have people to your house, go for a walk, or meet up for lunch or coffee, get the kids together at a park, anything works here. You just have to make conversation, if it leads to something deeper then be a listener, and give your friends and family the trust they deserve by not gossiping or sharing any of their story. “What happens on our walks, stays on our walks!”
Serving Those You’ve Never Met
Moving on to serving strangers. I don’t know much about JoyFM, I assume it is just a St. Louis station, but maybe I’m wrong. They had this segment at one time about paying for the person’s order behind you in the drive thru line. From the receiving end, it was called being “Joyed”. (When I lived in St. Louis, I was too “cool” to listen to a Christian station, so I’m getting my information from my mother.) Doing this is a great way to do an act without receiving a reward. You don’t even get to see the other person’s face when they get their gift. What a way to serve others!
During holidays, there are ample opportunities to donate to families in need, the food pantry, Toys for Tots, etc. but again, challenge yourself to do something at a random time of the year. Consider getting your kids involved and come up with 25 ways to serve others. Visit a nursing home, pay for overdue lunches at a local school, bake cookies for the widow across the street, after church one day strike up a conversation with someone new, or a person you haven’t talked with in a long time. Be creative, and think about the person you are wanting to provide service for and include them in your thought process.
Why Should We Serve?
We have talked about serving, but we haven’t really discussed why it’s necessary. I’ll try to do my best to make this clear. Who reading this hasn’t been made aware of all the protests, the terrorist attacks, the senseless acts of hatred and beyond? How do we stop that? How do we attempt to leave the world in a better state for our generations to follow? We must promote change. Mother Teresa, said it best, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your families.” That doesn’t mean, you can’t do more, it just means this is where you begin. Love breeds love, and we cannot be afraid of looking weak. Did Jesus look weak when he washed the feet of his disciples?
Ignore All the Excuses Not to Serve Others.
It can be difficult to serve someone who you feel doesn’t deserve your respect and love. How do I serve a person who is ungrateful for acts like this? You just do them anyway! In the beginning of starting a habit of serving others, it will feel useless. Resist the urge to quit or complain. It takes awhile to change someone’s mind about you and they remember you nagging or being disagreeable in the past. They’re cautiously observing but hesitant to accept these gifts because they’re waiting for the ball to drop. They’re waiting to see if this is a fad or a lifestyle change. I urge you to keep serving others, as hard as it is, just do it. Eventually the other person will begin to reciprocate.
Comment Below with more ways to serve others or how you’ve gotten your kids involved.
If you want to hear the story of how I saved my marriage through serving others read here: During Hard Times, It is Okay to Choose You… I Did.