Recently I reconnected with an old friend. As we started to catch up on each other’s lives, she suddenly became very somber. The last time I saw her she was reeling under the sleepless reality of having four kids under six years old and a husband who traveled a lot. Theirs had been joyful wedding full of promise and hope and no one had any qualms about their marriage. They started to have children right away and seemed to thrive.Continue reading
You’ve just celebrated a big birthday: 21! You have a year left of college and you’re assuming that, like your friends, you will find the love of your life and get married right after graduation. But guess what. That’s not going to happen. Your friends will graduate with engagement rings on their fingers but you will not even have a boyfriend.Continue reading
Recently I was talking to a friend who had dated a guy for a long time and finally decided to break up. He was “not ready to commit” and didn’t know if he’d ever be ready to commit. He had serious mother issues, hated his job, never went to church and suffered from depression. He was not good marriage material and my friend knew it. After a few months, she decided to try dating again and met a very nice man. The problem was, she couldn’t get the first guy out of her mind. Her heart was still stuck on him, even though she knew he wasn’t right for her. I suggested lemon sorbet.Continue reading
When Mary was a teenager, she received an assignment. She was going about her life, engaged to a man, with a picture in her mind of what her life would be like, when an angel of the Lord came to her and gave her a completely different picture. It was much bigger, much more vast, much more important and much more supernatural than her plans. Her vision for her life was normal; the vision God gave her was not normal at all.Continue reading
I recently submitted an article as a guest blogger to a site called, “Blogs by Christian Women.” Here’s the article and the link. It’s a great site for women. Check it out! (The article is also an excerpt from my book, The Wait.)
A woman came to [Jesus] having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table. But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste?” (Matthew 26:7–8 NKJV).
After graduating from college, I stayed in that community to serve at my church in full time ministry. It is a small, rural area full of married people, and it was not a great place for a young, single woman! Nevertheless, I obeyed the promptings of my heart, comforting myself with the thought that it would probably only be for a year, and then I could move on to bigger and better things.
Seventeen years later, I was still in that community and still single! Every year, I struggled with my decision to stay. Every year, I wondered if I had missed the boat and ruined any chance of ever marrying. But every year, I felt the same conviction to stay put. In many ways, those were wonderful years. I had wonderful friends and church family. After a while, I owned a home and traveled to beautiful countries—sometimes for ministry and sometimes for vacation. It was a very full life. But it was also very difficult, as I wondered often about the wisdom of remaining in such a small community. God’s ways, however, are higher than our ways, and His thoughts light years above our own.
In the end, when my husband walked into the church, one of the things that caught his attention was my years of service at the church! He admired me for choosing ministry over a more typical career path and living in such a small community simply because God told me to.
As you serve, you may be tempted to think that your life is being wasted. A voice inside taunts you, “You’re wasting your life!” Or people around you say with scorn, “What a waste!”
It can happen for any number of reasons:
You turn down the lucrative, prestigious job to work at small non-profit, earning a fraction of the salary. Your relatives respond, “Why this waste?”
You decide to spend your Saturdays serving at a homeless shelter. Your peers see only the fun you could be having. But your heart is not in the party scene; it’s with the poor. Friends don’t understand it, but you feel tremendous joy when you’re there. Why this waste?
You’re attractive, have a great figure and get lots of male attention, but you’ve decided to save sex for marriage. What a waste!
You’re a talented musician, but instead of pursuing a career in the rat race music world, you serve as a worship leader in your small home church. What a waste!
Instead of enjoying an early retirement and buying a sleek two-seater, you start taking in foster children, even after your own children are grown and gone. Oh my!
Ironically, to most people, if you spend your twenties and thirties in prodigal living, that is not a waste as long as you make money and land dates. But if you spend those years serving the Lord and impacting lives in relative obscurity, to them, this is a waste!
When the woman in Matthew 26 poured the expensive perfume on Jesus, Jesus didn’t think it was a waste. He thought it was a beautiful service, and He said she would be remembered and respected for it (while perhaps some of her critics would be forgotten).
Initially, many of the things God calls us to do seem like a waste. But is it waste, or is it worship? To worship means to give ourselves lavishly to the Lord, to love Him with abandon. The world, and even other Christians, might say we’re wasting our lives, our resources, our youth—but really, we’re just worshiping. We’re pouring out our lives as a fragrant offering to the King of the universe. It’s really not that strange.
As I worked at my church all those years, I heard from every possible source: You’re wasting your life. Strangers in supermarkets, college professors, pastors, saved and unsaved friends. At one point, about 80 percent of the people with whom I interacted thought I was pouring my life out on barren soil.
But I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It was there, in the serving, that I got healed of a lot of stuff and realized some of my purpose and potential, and it was there, toiling in the “fields,” that I met my Boaz.
Only Jesus knows the big picture. His ways are not our ways, and His wisdom often appears foolish. From the beginning of time, God has asked His people to trod unique paths and do unusual things. You are no exception. God doesn’t change. If He hasn’t already, He will indeed soon ask you to choose the road less traveled and to look the fool—in a job choice, relationship, financial decision, or the way you spend some of your time. Follow Him, knowing that, in the end, He will honor you.
Nicole Doyley is the author of The Wait: Encouragement for Single Women, which can be purchased from Amazon or www.ruthscompany.org.