Reflect, Renew, Restore

Have you ever spent hours, even days preparing for an event or on you class lesson and then came away not satisfied that you did your best?  Maybe each week when you show up to teach your Awana club, you find it more of a burden that a joy.  Last weekend we had our area Awana Ministry Conference where I was one of many leaders who presented workshops.  I have been doing this for several years, but this year after all the workshops were done and my supplies were packed up, I didn’t really feel I had done my very best.  Instead of feeling joyful at the end, I felt a sense of disappointment in myself.  What can we do when we face situations like this or when we feel we have done less than a stellar job in our ministry?

David is know as the man after God’s own heart, he had his share of disappointments and struggles. In Psalms David appeals to God by asking him

Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my concerns.
See if there is any offensive way in me;
lead me in the everlasting way. (Psalm 139:23-24 HCSB

We need to ask God to help you reflect on what is truly in our hearts.  Could our hearts be filled with wrong motives, a flawed focus or selfish ambition?  If you have volunteered to teach in kids’ ministries, Awana or a ministry like Vacation Bible School because no one else would, you are doing it out of obligation rather than willingness.  Maybe you decided to lead a children’s ministry because you felt you were the most qualified and other could benefit from your expertise.  Pray with a humbled attitude and ask God to reveal to you what truly reflects from your heart.  How does God want me to grow spiritually from this experience when I allow him to lead my heart?

Once we have had time to reflect and examine our hearts, we need to ask God to renew our spirit.  Here we see David plead with God. David knew that only God could do what he couldn’t.

Create in me a clean heart, O God;
and renew a right spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10 (KJV)

Ask God to give you a renewed passion for those areas you are serving him.  When teaching children or leading a workshop becomes a burden, it’s time to seek out the Lord and ask for Him to help us.  If service or ministry becomes about us, we need to have our pride cleaned out. Once our heart is open to His leading only then can we begin the renewal process by shifting our focus and adjusting our motives that God desires us to have.

David then humbly asks God,

Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Psalm 51:12 (HCSB)

Restoration can only happen once we admit our sin and short comings and are willing to make a Godly change within our hearts.  Our salvation is a precious gift, and it is the basis for why we serve in ministry.  When we are restored we can joyfully serve in a ministry.  We can volunteer as a leader or teacher with the assurance that God will be there to encourage us along the way, give us the strength to carry on, and keep our focus on Him.

As you reflect and ask God to search you heart, be open to His leading.  Be ready to be renewed and restored so that your joyous spirit reflects Christ in all you do.