I know that it all about Him...but why is it selfish to want to serve and use the gifts He has given? I thought the goal was to serve. I understand that we are to decrease so that He can increase, but aren't people supposed to feel loved in church? People don't have to be celebrated, but God calls us to love and be loved - not tolerated...
Janita, who says it's selfish to want to serve and use your gifts? We are called to do that. Of course, we can do it in a selfish manner...but that's something we just need to guard against. Do it for Him, and give Him the glory...and you should be fine.
Is the bigger question, why do my fellow Christians sometimes come across as unloving? Well, people are people, Christians included. We all make mistakes and fail to love as we ought. And sometimes we act stupidly and make it hard for others to love us. What's the real issue here? For certainly Jesus made it clear that his disciples are to be known by their love for one another...
Sounds like something from the old song by the Animals:
"But I'm just a soul whose intentions are good:
Oh Lord! Please don't let me be misunderstood ... " :)
Of course people don't know your heart like God does, but don't we wish they did? That's why we have to work hard at making sure we come across in the right way. But even when we do our best at trying to have a servant's heart, people can still misunderstand.
How do we overcome those situations? Sometimes all we can do is take it to God in prayer and solitude, knowing that He understands. And ask Him how to do it better next time. He is faithful, and will carry you all the way.
I went though this for two years. Cut off and alone. In a desert place. I was becoming bitter and hard. It wasn't that my church was unloving, It was myself that was becoming hard because I knew what I was called to do but wasn't allowed to do it.
I watch people around me move up to their callings and serving and here I was still sitting in the same old place. I was frustrated, angry and hurt. I felt that I lost myself in those two years. I forgot WHO I was in them two years.
What was happening was that I needed to look within myself. My motives. God was putting his finger on me causing me to look at things I didn't want to. ---ahh those lovely masks we put on--
Am not saying this is wrong with you. But realize that am sure they love you. If you are having these feelings, you need to talk to your Pastors about this. And those who you think have been cold to you. It may be a hard thing to do.
I finally did that. And am still recovering from those feelings.
Spiritual growth can be painful (which explains why true humility is sorely lacking in the body and why people don't feel loved in churches). It sounds like you are experiencing the byproduct of the (fallen) human condition. People are generally self-centered and even the most devout Christian finds it difficult to focus his or her attention away from self and onto others. But far too often, we measure our own self-worth by the yardstick of others' affirmation of those gifts or their indifference to them. The measurement of our true worth is found only in Jesus' work on the cross. We must not confuse our passions and desires to serve others with selfishness. The very essence of selflessness is defined by the gifts and passion to serve and this passion can only have come from God. So, He is calling you and He is growing you. I am quite certain that He is using you in ways you cannot see for now. But, if we lack humility we can easily become ensnared in our own schemes and grandiose ideas of our ministry that seem never to manifest. If I am not careful I end up wanting other's recognition when recognition and affirmation from my heavenly Father is all that really counts. Jesus is the yardstick by which I must measure my gifts, my ministy, my life. And, when I do this, all of my gifts and schemes and desires become insignificant. And yet, He never makes me feel useless, invisible or just tolerated. It is through this perspective that I am able to overcome the feelings.
You have gotten some good advice so far, but I found your original post more than a little vague. I believe that your feelings are real, and that they are valid, but without some specific examples, i really don't know what kind of adice you are looking for.
Wow . . . Again, this is a question to ask someONE (emphasis on ONE) who knows you well, cares about you, and is not afraid to tell you the truth about you (disclaimer: I am not a WL, and signed on when I was facilitating worship in a small group setting). The church is called to love. If your feelings say you are unloved, then test the reality. Identify and talk to the person or people who you identify as the source of your discontent.
I am experiencing this right now. In my case, there are three components: 1) Dysthymia; 2) my habit of asking inconvenient questions; and 3) the gnosticae. I shant discuss the third, but the first, dysthymia, is the artist in me is prone to emotion, including a general feeling of not always articulating well with others (whether I am or not). Dysthymia is a general feeling of dis -ease lasting two years or more. Secondly, my asking the inconvenient questions has created a certain tension amongst the gnosticae. I sit down regularly with the head Pastor and discuss these as he is willing to at least listen and respond. I do this as a Matthew 18 mandate as it is generally inappropriate to discuss my questions with others either in the body or outside the body (gossip, camp-building). Pastor is as uncomfortable with my questions, but I have to trust Father in that I am testing the reality of my perceptions. Incidently, his tolerance of my endless questions is a demonstration of his love to a certain extent. My discussing of issues with him is likewise a demonstration of love.
Finally, adopt a smile. Seek to identify and aspire to what is good according to Phil 4:8. Whatsoever things are honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report . . .think (and act) on these.
I write all this, not to suggest that you are dysthymic, but instead to give you some practical biblical coping strategies in this season. In so doing, you enable Spirit to go before you, swirl around you and permeate you.
That's the reason we are also commanded to encourage each other daily, as long as it is called Today, lest we become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (of falling short and missing the mark). Which tells me that we keep each other out of sin by encouraging each other; AND it's very difficult to get too much encouragement!