Serve With Integrity

Originally published Thursday, 21 November 2013.

What does it mean to serve with integrity? 

This is a question I have been asking myself this past year.

My one word 365 for 2013 is serve. I wanted to know what it was like to serve God and others.

The lonely life of an author gets old. I was tired of serving only my needs, and as much as I tried to help other authors along the way, I wanted to focus on it for an entire year.

This year I was also fortunate enough to work on staff at a large church and to serve them in the area of social media and blogs. I learned some, but mostly I was surprised the majority of my growth happened when I quit my job at the church, deliberately pushed pause from writing, and went off my anxiety medicine.

I had many questions.

Many doubts.

Not just about my health, but for the future. I feel my career as an author winding down. My husband and I are in-between churches again. And plenty of other unanswered questions that are too personal to share. But, even in my desert season I am able to say with confidence and contentment that everything I asked God for was answered.

What 30-something author can say all her publishing dreams had come true? This girl.


Instead of hearing God say, "well done faithful servant" I heard condemning voices speak words of failure, heartbreak, and rejection.

Some of it was because I deal with anxiety.

Some of it was because of my SUDDEN desert season.

I met with my life coach because I wanted her to praise God that He has answered all my prayers since we met 7 years ago. This time, I asked her to help me to make another map.


This time I am not sure what to pray for or what to put on my life map. 

My coach said something so profound that I'm still chewing on. Everything on my life map 7 years ago revolved around me.

Finding my spouse.

Finding my literary career.

Finding my dream job, etc.

And now? Most things that will probably go on my life map will be about serving othersServing my husband. Serving others in ministry. Serving other authors and helping to mentor them. Maybe even some day serving a future child.

Her wisdom encouraged me that I am on the right path, even though I have no idea where it leads.

I decided I need to go back on my anxiety medication. Even though I made the most progress over the summer in my health including running and hiking, I found myself riddled with panic attacks.

When I went back to my doctor, she commended me. I was surprised to hear her say that as a doctor (and a Christian), it's harder for people of faith to go on anxiety medication. That no amount of praying hard enough can stop my anxiety if it's a chemical imbalance--unless of course God wants to remove my thorn in the flesh.

It's a tough pill to swallow because I honestly thought I was obeying God. Four years ago when God called me to quit my job and go into full time ministry and become a writer--I delayed my obedience. I was hesitant to make the switch because it meant giving up my dream job, paycheck, and apartment (independence). When I waited so long, juggling a full time job and writing my first book--my panic attacks got so out of control that I ended up in the hospital.

I thought this time would be different.

I was taking care of myself. Running. Keeping busy. So when God called me into a desert season and asked me to rest, I thought my anxiety was more about my inability to rest. The more I processed it, the more I realized I have a chemical imbalance.

I'm going to struggle with anxiety whether I obey God or not.

Until God chooses to remove my thorn in the flesh--I must choose to serve with integrity (whether I'm on or off anxiety medication). I look forward to the lessons I will learn next year.

My one word for 2014 is explore! I don't want to be afraid to explore His precious promises, and to follow His lead without fear. I hope to be like Joshua and Caleb who brought back a good report even though there were giants in the land. Because of their bold, courageous attitudes they were the only two spies who were made it into the Promised Land!

Question: What was your one word for 2013 and what did you learn from it? What fears did you face and obstacles did you overcome?

Follow Up Question: Have you picked your one word for 2014 yet? If so, would you mind sharing? What do you hope to learn?

{Previously Posted on}

[Photo: Marian Trinidad, CreationSwap]