Serving Others When I Feel Like I Should But Don't Want To

Sometimes I know without a shadow of doubt that God wants me to invest myself in someone’s life because He gives the burning desire in my heart – a burning desire to meet a need or merely connect with them or to come alongside and encourage each other.  The fire is one that can’t be squelched and the Holy Spirit fills me with motivation to follow through even if it is tough. 
Other times, I feel like I OUGHT to minister to someone but the desire is not there. I don’t want to do it.  God loves a cheerful giver, so if I don’t feel cheerful about giving my time, emotions, resources, I shouldn’t do it, right? If I don’t want to do it, does that mean that God is not leading me to do it?
I struggle with this because it is emotion-based and the heart can be deceiving.  Just because I don’t want to do it does not necessarily mean that God is not leading me to do it.  I have several choices. I could:
1.       Deny how I feel and devote my energy to simply doing it instead of how I feel about doing it.
2.       I can try to convince myself that I really want to do it.
3.       I could do it even if I don’t want to and feel guilty for not wanting to or not doing it well.
4.       I could do it and maybe God will change my heart in the process.
Maybe the first thing to do is evaluate why I feel like I ‘should’ do something when I don’t want to do it? Is it to please others or is it to please God?  Is someone putting an expectation on me that God is not requiring of me or that God is reserving for someone else? Or do I know it is God leading me to do it, but I am afraid of how people will react so I’m reluctant to face rejection or being thought a dork?
I think sometimes God can convince me that it is His plan for me to do something even if I don’t “feel” like it merely because He inclines my heart to do it.  Obedience should not be based on feeling, but what if the inclination isn't there either?  The flesh and spirit are constantly at war in me.
All I know to do is pray that God will change my desire, to incline my heart, or give me a knowing that will help me move beyond the “don’t feel like it” feeling. 
How do you know God is leading YOU to do something when your feelings don’t match up?


  1. Years ago a woman in a Sunday class said that she was helping with her son's class, but it was obvious that she did not want to do it. She was just not one to enjoy children and seemed absolutely lost in an academic environment. She would not have done it at all except her son was having difficulty with phonics and she did not know how else to help him. This woman had been an insurance executive who quit her job when she was pregnant, so she was intelligent, but "I never learned phonics so I don't know how to help him." I was surprised that she had no natural inclination to buy a book and learn phonics together with her son.

    I prayed about her and later in the class we were discussing something that was unrelated and I remember feeling that it would relate well to her personally if she heard it differently. She even opened the opportunity by bringing up again that she was serving in the school, but did not like being there. I mentioned that there were times I felt led to go to a particular church or into a ministry or to do a task that I did not enjoy doing, but later I would find that what I learned from those experiences served me well for a ministry for which I had a passion and enjoyed. It really changed her perspective and her attitude was quite different thereafter.

    To get clear answers of what God would have me do, I fast. Either I will find peace with it because that is what the Lord has for me to do (and that becomes far more important to me much easier when I am fasting), or I will understand that my feelings were there because, while it may have been a worthy thing to do, it was not my Lord calling me to do it. I probably should start numbering my personal rules because here is another one: Just because I can do a thing, does not mean I should.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story! I know sometimes I haven't felt like doing something but feel compelled to do it anyway and then am blessed in the end. But when I don't want to do it, nor feel compelled to do it, fasting is a great idea to shut out all the other noise and really hear what God is calling me to do.