Parents and spouses constantly give. This is especially true in their families, but often in their communities, schools and churches, as well. We're trying to be generous, but mostly it just feels like work.
That isn't such a bad thing, though. Through service, we learn how to work; to exert ourselves over a period of time for a good purpose. We all want to have a good work ethic. We want our children to appreciate the principle of hard work, too. However, there is more to service than just going through the motions. When our hearts aren't in our parenting, for example, it's obvious. We are frustrated, distracted, and just not having much fun.
So how can we feel in our hearts that service is a privilege? How can we put our hearts into the work we do? How do we love service?
1) Get strength and rest when you need it
This can mean a good night's rest or even taking a little time to be silly with the kids. Todd Christofferson, family advocate, teaches that "recreation is the friend and stabilizing companion of work." Taking a conscientious break when we need it actually helps us to work more effectively. We can also find strength when we pray and read sacred texts, especially when we are humble enough to put aside our preoccupation and be alert to inspiration.
2) Have faith
When we worry that we do not have time to do the things we feel are right, we demonstrate weak faith. When we are afraid we do not have the skills and talents we need, we ought to remember we will be blessed with the things we need in order to serve. There is no need to worry. Things always work out when we are doing our best.
3) Seek to be grateful
We can complain about what we have been asked to do, or we can look for reasons to be grateful for the privilege of serving. That kind of attitude helps us to appreciate the opportunity to play with our kids, donate blood or go to work today. After all, not everyone gets to have children, good health or employment. We will always find happiness if we remember how to look for it, namely by being grateful.
4) Enjoy being trustworthy
When we are asked to serve in any capacity, it means we have earned someone's trust. That is a special privilege all on its own, in a world where fewer people earn trust and more people hesitate to give it. God trusted you with your children. Your spouse trusted you with his or her love. Your boss trusted you with an assignment. The homeless shelter trusted you with the care of people in your community. Clearly, you have something wonderful to offer, despite any weaknesses you have. You might not have known how great you are if you hadn't been asked to serve.
When we serve, we are doing what we were meant to do. Humans, by nature, need interaction and problem-solving, and service is an excellent way to accomplish both. Service also allows us to learn how to love unselfishly as we meet the needs of others. As we fulfill our purpose and love more fully by giving service, especially in our homes, we will have more joy than we ever thought possible. With wisdom, gratitude, and confidence, you can come to love giving of yourself every day.