In my counseling experience, I have come across well-meaning Christians who bear crosses. These people have lost their first love: to be fully obedient to God. Instead, they have become stuck in legalism, others' expectations, their own expectations and have forgotten that their first loyalty belongs to God. They think they are serving God but their ministry has become a cross to bear.
One cross-bearing missionary came to me for aid in her mission work. She was pushed by external pressure to constantly perform. She taught 36 Bible Schools that summer, lead 4 ladies Bible studies every week (both tasks were done in Spanish, which was not her primary language), home-schooled her three children as well as keeping a mission operating while the mission budget was being slashed.
Unfortunately, she ended up in the hospital at the point of mental, physical and spiritual exhaustion. Her caring and wise physician saw the cross she was carrying and ordered her to bed rest and counseling while her husband took care of mission business and the children. Through counseling, she came to the realization that in her first year of ministry, that she was attempting to accomplish everything the missionary before her did (that missionary had over 10 years of experience at that mission).
Through intensive medical, psychological and spiritual help, she understood God's call to "natural ministry." She came to see that obedience to God is not necessarily bearing the cross of formal full-time ministry. She allowed God to change the focus of her ministry to being a full-time Christian mother and looked for "natural ways" of telling people about Jesus. It was not long before she gained more acceptance by the people that she served in the mission. This acceptance led to more conversions and a more varied and exciting ministry.
My questions to you are:
- Are you bearing a cross or are you being obedient to God?
- Do you get so caught up in legalism, your and others' expectations that you miss the promptings of the Holy Spirit?
God has people that possibly only you can reach. However, you can only reach them by saying "yes" to God and allowing His Holy Spirit to direct your activity.
Give yourself totally to God. Be 100% sold out to His will.