How Do You Find the Time to Volunteer?

A friend and I were talking about the things we are involved with outside of work and she asked me, “how do you find the time to volunteer?” and “Why do you make time for all those things?”

I answered her sharing about my love for people and sharing Jesus, but it definitely got me thinking about why I do love serving others and being involved in several ministries in town. I found this letter I wrote 2 years ago:

Even as far back as sixth grade, I have always been into service. From Girl Scouts to church youth group, I volunteered constantly. When I eventually started college at Elon University, I automatically joined the Service Learning Community, doing projects several times a month. I also joined the service team of my Intervarsity Christian Fellowship chapter mainly because I felt qualified. As a sophomore I lead the Service Learning Community for the new freshmen, but I was not actually enjoying the service aspect.

Volunteering had always been something I’d done, so I figured it was something I should continue in college. But in continuing service almost as a default activity, I had grown bored. I realized I was missing the point of volunteering.

Thinking back to why I had originally started volunteering, all those years ago, I was able to reduce it back to its simplicity: it was out of love that I wanted to serve. It was because I could show the love of Jesus to people that did not know Him. As Mother Teresa once said, “Love cannot remain by itself—it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action, and that action is service.”

Once I had my head and heart back in focus on outreach, I began to love what I was doing again. I finally realized how my passions and my major could be used for the love of God. As a communications major, I loved to write, read and share about social issues that I’m passionate about so that others can make an impact.

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Live Intentionally

This past month has been very busy – but what’s new? Life is constantly happening, bringing with it new challenges and victories. 

After experiencing the simplicity of life in Rwanda of worshiping God and then loving others as Christ loves us, I came back to my busy life in the Queen City with a sense that I need to slow down. I have always been the person who is over-committed with a jam packed schedule, but that is where I thrive. I know how to manage my time when I have very little free time…it’s when I have lots of free time that I start to become a sloth. 

Anyway, living intentionally has come up several times. I am trying to live with a purpose and make each interaction I have with people be a way that I can show Christ’s love to them. It is a hard thing to do, and I have been convicted of times that I have failed, but I like being reminded each day that I have a purpose and everything that happens, happens for a reason. 

A couple changes I have made in my schedule to help me stay focused on my goals and living intentionally:

Quiet times in the morning. Spending more time journaling, praying and reading Scripture. 

Working out in the morning. That way I have more flexibility and time in the evenings. This means though, that I am trying to get to bed earlier. 

Packing my lunch the night before. This gives me a few extra minutes for my quiet time. 

Listening to an audio daily. Stories of overcoming struggles and leadership principles (esp. Terri Savelle Foy, John Maxwell, etc) helps to keep you inspired and focused.