Protecting Myself: Cynicism or Stewardship?

I’m having a beautiful week in which I’m struggling deeply.

You see, throughout the past year, God has been teaching me to take care of myself.  He’s been teaching me that I am a person of immense value, that He has given me gifts and talents that He expects me to use and grow in for His glory. He has been showing me that what I do to glorify Him is not always visible to others OR for the benefit of others; in fact, this past year, most of what I’ve been up to hasn’t been seen by anybody. It’s on display to Him and it is done for Him. I exist for Him, so neglecting myself, neglecting my talents is NOT glorifying to Him.

Somewhere during the past year, I have become a fierce protector of my time, gifts and talents, energy, and resources. (Full disclosure: I have family and friends who will tell you I’m not fiercely protecting anything, that I’ve just gotten better at protecting these things. But I feel fierce, so…) Most of the time, I’m so thankful that God provided in such a way as to give me time to focus on my writing and producing, that I have time to be present for friends, and that I have freedom to pursue these things without being bogged down by this pressure to perform. Other times, like this week, this accusatory voice in my head tells me I’m being self-centered and cynical.

After all, I’m really selective about the church ministries I take on and there have been times when I’ve stepped away from involvement in ministry altogether, so I have the time to recharge my relationship with God and to work on things I enjoy. I feel cynical establishing boundaries in ministry, like if I don’t look out for myself, people will walk all over me. I feel bad doing things I enjoy when they aren’t church and ministry specific.

But.

God is a good Father. He gives us good things to enjoy. Writing, reading, producing are all things He has given me to enjoy. I’ve been blessed for a season to be able to use these gifts in tandem with my spiritual gifts for the benefit of the church, but these gifts are not exclusively for the church. They are to bring my Father glory and delight, and I believe on some level, they are intended to bring me joy as well.

So I’m not being selfish, even though the church is not likely to benefit much (that I can tell) from this upcoming season in my life. I’m just trying to honor God and enjoy the life He has given me; whether that benefits the church or doesn’t is in HIS hands.I love the church dearly, but my life does not exist for the church. Of course, I’ll still be involved, but just as with this past year, I’m going to be selective about what I take on and cut-throat about what I let go of.

I don’t set up boundaries to be cynical and defend myself from people who would walk all over me. I do it to protect the good things God has given me. Things I don’t want to waste or destroy. I think that’s called stewardship.

 

 

 

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