“Doesn’t Serve You” or Challenges You? How to Know the Difference

Life + Faith Uncategorized

We’ve all felt it. The tension of being in a situation that makes you want to look for a fluorescent exit sign with the quickness because it feels like the only service it is doing is serving to make you uncomfortable or unhappy. I have definitely been there. Where You wonder if it’s something that doesn’t serve you and when to call it quits.

So what do you do? Lately there’s been much talk about putting down those things that do not serve us so that we may go off in search of things that do. The question I have had to ask myself and others is this: is the tension your feeling because a circumstance doesn’t serve you or because you’re being challenged to something new – and new is always uncomfortable because, well, it’s new.

Is this simply friction between who you are and the opportunity to become who you are growing into

Tension is not a sign to throw the whole situation away. 

So where is the disconnect? Are we misidentifying what are growing pains and what are the things that don’t serve us and should be let go?

Many times we use our happiness and comfort as a barometer of what is aiding us in living our best life. Happiness, though, is not always an indicator of whether or not the situation or space is for you. I know that’s a very counter-cultural statement, but I said what I had said. Listen, you can be smack in the center of God’s will and not feel like it, at all. One quote that sticks with me is one that I hope you’ll remember, “God’s will is not sent to please you, it’s sent to move you.” 

Sometimes situations, jobs, or relationships (friendships/acquaintances or romantic ones in some instances, not all) are challenging to us – even to the point of not being as enjoyable as we wish we were – that does not mean it’s time to throw the whole thing away. That means it’s time to pray about & investigate the situation. Ask God if there is something He has there for you – and, if He does, He will give you the grace to stay. 

A scripture in Philippians comes to mind that is probably the most misquoted of all time – one of em anyway. The infamous: I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me. 

What Paul is talkin’ ’bout is best explained if we look at verse 12 & 13: 
12–13 I know what it means to lack,[a] and I know what it means to experience overwhelming abundance. For I’m trained in the secret of overcoming all things, whether in fullness or in hunger. And I find that the strength of Christ’s explosive power infuses me to conquer every difficulty.[b]

Whether you’re happy or sad, whether you’re full in your current state of things or you hunger for more, Christ’s power is enough to sustain you and make you content in the midst of it. Not rescue you from it when you want and not make it go away. But to give you strength right there where you are. 

Friend, I don’t want you to miss out on major growth opportunities and the chance to see God show out in difficulty because you abandon your opportunity based on the feeling that something doesn’t serve you because, and here’s the gotcha that got me, everything is not meant to serve you.

Sometimes in your life are there to move you into a position to serve God’s will and/or others. And, I offer to you, sometimes when we feel like life is doing us the least amount of service, God is doing His greatest amount of work, refining us and taking us into another level of maturity we would be incapable of reaching otherwise.

Don’t abandon what God has for you by confusing what challenges you forward with what doesn’t serve you. You can only truly define it as not serving after you’ve worked through it as if it’s a challenge. This was and continues to be difficult for me to walk out my fellow introverts: if you haven’t advocated for yourself yet you cannot abandon it yet. 

So, when you begin to feel as though something is not serving you and it’s time to say, “I’m out,” stop for a spell and think, “is it “not serving me” or is it simply challenging me forward into God’s will for my life?” 

What are your thoughts? How do you define when something doesn’t serve you or is simply challenging you forward?

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