From a developmental perspective, we all need to be needed. We all have an innate need to be of good to someone, to have a life-giving impact that makes a difference. Whether it has to do with helping our family survive, or easing the burden of someone, or simply being present with another person, we all need a life-giving task.
While it is good for us to practice a number of forms of service, most of us will find that certain particular kinds of service feel more like a calling or a mission that we can become intensely passionate about. And what seems like an absolutely essential endeavor to one person may feel like a bother to the next one. Each of us will be drawn to a different form of service because of who we are and how we have been formed.
Sometimes this compelling desire comes from what we might call “the main pain of our heart.” For example, the woman who started Mothers Against Drunk Drivers did so because she lost a child to a drunk driver. Her greatest pain became her mission, and we have all benefited from her work. Our pain may be very different from hers, and our calling may be far less public. But having a heart that was forged in the fires of painful experiences or even our own brokenness can be a tremendous asset. Of course, we want God's healing in those areas as well. Serving from a place of pain is not what we have in mind here. But once we are well on our way to restoration, our experience can provide us with great motivation to make a difference in the lives of others.
On the flip side, instead of our main pain, we could be called to minister from what we might call “the main characteristic of our heart.” For example, if I have a God-given passion for preschoolers and what they are discovering at that point in their lives, I probably need to find a way to give life to those children. Similarly, a person might have a heart for young single women who are facing an unwanted pregnancy, even though they themselves have never been in that place.
Finding a way to give life that comes from who you are can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. If you are unsure what is the main characteristic of your heart (or your main pain), be sure to seek God about this. Ask a trusted friend to tell you how they see you as well. It will be well worth your effort to join God in His mission to overturn evil with good.
(an excerpt from Forming: A Work of Grace)