I keep trying to give of my time, talents and resources, but no one seems to want them. As if it wasn’t enough of a blow to my self esteem to be perpetually rejected by men I’ve loved deeply, I can’t even convince nonprofit organizations to take my freely offered help!
Many people have said that one of the best ways to forget your own problems is to start serving others. Norman Vincent Peale said, “The way to happiness… Scatter sunshine, forget self, think of others.” Apparently I am doomed to scatter gloom, forget others and think of self.
In April, I signed up to volunteer at our local children’s hospital, but I was turned away. They said that they already have too many volunteers.
In May, I volunteered to mentor high school students in a neighborhood youth group, only to discover that the youth group had disbanded for the summer.
In June and July, I met with three different staff members of YoungLives, an organization that ministers to pregnant teens. I offered to do free maternity photos for their girls, but no one ever followed up, despite the fact that I’m a semi-professional photographer offering free services. It’s not like I’m bad; this is one of my actual photos:
I go to a contemporary church with a worship band instead of a traditional choir, so in August, I auditioned to sing harmony with the worship leader. I’ve been blessed with a beautiful voice – I was a three time All State Choir Member, auditioned with Houston Grand Opera when I was 18, and even have an album on iTunes. But the worship leader said that they already have eight female vocalists who rotate through every Sunday and don’t need another.
And then more recently, I offered to tutor at-risk junior high kids in math (I’m an engineer by background). But the kids are only available for tutoring during an after-school program that meets from 3:30p-4:30p, well before I can get off work.
I am (I think, understandably) frustrated. I said at the beginning that no one wants my time, talents or resources. That’s not entirely true. The one thing every organization wants is my money. Just this week, I’ve gotten five pieces of mail from five different charity organizations asking for funding. I went to a charity banquet on Wednesday where they were asking for money, and I got a fundraising phone call from yet another organization yesterday.
Giving financially is all well and good. I give happily. Cheerfully, even. But there’s something powerful about physically, tangibly giving WITH YOUR HANDS for the Kingdom. I feel so much more invested when I can look people in the eye and personally see my service played out.
I keep telling myself that Jesus didn’t begin his public ministry until he was 30. I guess if that’s good enough for God’s Son, it should be good enough for me. Back to being not-so-silently pruned in preparation for whatever ministry God has prepared for me. All I can say is, it better be epic.