Are You Spending Yourself or Squandering Yourself?

spendingWhen you consider how you are spending yourself and who you are, despite your chronic illness and pain, are you encouraged or discouraged? Lisa shares.

“If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame” (Isaiah 58:10-11a).

It is hard to truly appreciate each day, isn’t it? We are told to not take anything for granted. As more natural disasters are occurring, from earthquakes, tornadoes, mudslides, and fires, we pray for those who have lost their lives. And yet we get up and try to accomplish a list of tasks, quickly losing sight of the preciousness of our day.

Chronic illness forces us to plan and prioritize constantly. Even the simplest of tasks require a schedule. I will get up and have coffee and rest, then I will shower and rest, then I will do the dishes and rest. . . Regardless of how plentiful or absent our energy is, we are spending ourselves.

How are you spending yourself? There are days when I have squandered not just my energy–but who God made me to be. I become bitter about a situation, perhaps dwell on hurt feelings, I may be frustrated about my family’s messes or resentful that no one appreciates how much I do despite the constant pain. O, how carelessly I have spent myself!

Scripture tells us to spend ourselves helping others–“on behalf of the hungry and the needs of the oppressed.” For myself, this could mean preparing a healthy meal for my family, encouraging my spouse, scheduling and a meeting with my son’s teacher. It could be picking up groceries for the local food bank, which my church recently collected. Last week I spoke to a manager at a craft store about how a situation was poorly handled by a cashier with a customer who was deaf–with his young son observing the entire sad scenario.

I know your energy is low, but before spending yourself on that which is temporary, ask God to lead you to opportunities to spend yourself in ways that are eternal. You matter.

Prayer: Father, I can easily become so caught up in what I need to do in order to take care of myself, that I have squandered who I am–Your servant. Lead me to opportunities to spend myself in the ways You desire and give me the endurance I must have to accomplish the task You have set before me. Amen.

About the author:
Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries and she lives in San Diego with her husband and son. She is currently finishing up her prayer book for those who are chronically ill and balancing motherhood and more. Be encouraged by one of her books today! 100% proceeds go to Rest Ministries. Check out Why Can’t I Make People Understand? at the Rest Ministries shop.

How do you define a “day well spent?” Does it seem to be all about you or does “spending yourself” help others? How do you feel differently when you spend yourself serving rather than only meeting your own needs?

I believe that we all want to serve but our daily pain and demands of our body just make it so difficult sometimes! This song, “My Cry” with Holly Starr, is a cry out to God about how we want to serve but we don’t even know where to start. The song is a plea to God to take what we have–and the lessons that we have been taught by Him–and use them for His glory. I hope you find your own voice in this song. -Lisa