Grace Among Us

026 - From Drained to Fulfilled: The Spiritual Impact of Graceful Service

September 07, 2023 Carri Richard and Ebony C. Gilbert Season 1 Episode 26
Grace Among Us
026 - From Drained to Fulfilled: The Spiritual Impact of Graceful Service
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Are you ready to redefine your understanding of service? In a riveting conversation with Carri Richard and Ebony Gilbert, we challenge the traditional narrative surrounding service and its impact. We delve into the depth of serving others, affirming that service doesn't necessarily require grand gestures. Instead, the simple act of being present, offering love, and extending grace— even to those who may not seem deserving in the eyes of society or ourselves—can lead to profound effects.

Struggling with the decision to serve when you're not in the mood? We've been there too. Service does not  require us to go out of our way, graceful service requires us to get out of the way. This type of service can is as straightforward as being silent, present, and following through with the opportunities before us, rather than seeking validation from the feelings they evoke. Aligning your work with your spiritual gifts, we explore how service can foster connection, buoys us up rather than drains, and can encourage reciprocal interactions. If you've ever felt overwhelmed or unappreciated in your service, take a listen. Join us in this enlightening discussion as we harness the power of grace in service.

We'd love to meet you in person! Come Join Us in Heaven's Net. A 3-day retreat March 13 - 15, 2024 - find out more by clicking HERE.

Speaker 1:

Welcome to Grace Among Us, the podcast where we unearth the many faces and places of grace and share stories of the power of grace in our human lives. Our desire is that this will inspire you to see grace in your own life and share it with others.

Carri Richard:

Hello, hello. My name is Carri Richard and I am a mindset coach. I help people make space and enjoy the ride and enjoy the journey along the way, and one of my most favorite things to do is come in here and speak with you Ebony Gilbert and point to Grace. So, Ebony, hello, good afternoon.

Ebony Gilbert:

Good afternoon, Carri Richard. My name is Ebony Gilbert, like Carri Richard stated, and we are here today to talk about grace. Grace, it's a Monday for us.

Carri Richard:

Yeah, it's a little bit of a change up.

Ebony Gilbert:

Yes, it is, and everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. But here we are and I've got a question for you. Thinking about service, service to others. When I think about service, I think about customer service and how bad it is all the time. But this is bigger than that. This is not a cable company, cell phone, support phone call. We're talking about the service that we provide to others. What comes to mind for you, Carri, when you think about service and as it relates to our responsibility to carry it out?

Carri Richard:

Awesome. Oh my gosh, that's such a great question. So I do have to go a little sideways for a moment, because you talked about customer service and I came from high tech and I grew up in the support department, so I had a headset it wasn't this fancy, and the microphone and, yes, that is very different. On the outside, that's very different than the service we're talking about today. You know, the interesting thing is, when I'm really serving, I'm not serving myself or serving my ego and the idea that I don't need some validation or appreciation or some outcome based on my actions then that service is effortless. You know, I had this idea for a long time. That service took a lot of energy and it also had to be big and bold and important. To be honest, I shied away from it or told myself, well I can't can't really - I can't really do that. And so service today, most times, the first thing is just really being present. You know, I have a situation right now where I have a family member who is ill and I don't like it at all and in the past I would. Service to me would be tied to an outcome, like maybe I would make his favorite thing or that I had to do something to make the situation better. And service doesn't mean that I have any dog in the fight on the impact it's going to have or how it's going to be received. Does that make sense?

Ebony Gilbert:

So the responsibility of the outcome (Carri - is not mine). It's lifted off your shoulders.

Carri Richard:

Exactly, and I think that's that's that big piece that makes it effortless, because all the effort was like forcing, trying to create an outcome that always was, "they would feel better, right, or somebody would would would feel better about it, and it's really a - it's not in my ballpark.

Ebony Gilbert:

Hmm.

Carri Richard:

So today it's more of just being present or being willing to be present. Uh, that sounds a little vague, is it? (Ebony - No, no, no) okay.

Ebony Gilbert:

I mean, let's flip it around a little bit. Have you ever had someone try to do something for you to make you feel better and at the end of it you still felt kind of the same, but you really appreciated the service?

Carri Richard:

Yes.

Ebony Gilbert:

The act of service itself. Not to be cliche, as you remember, the act of service itself, even though it didn't change your circumstances or the situation, the act itself, the effort, their obedience to doing the act of service served you well.

Carri Richard:

Absolutely, absolutely. I'll give you a specific example. So it's, you know, it's a very close relative that's, that's ill right now and in the hospital. And, I reached out to a group of friends that I have and said, "can you pray for us? And I got all these responses and that isn't changing what's going on, but the lightness, like, just knowing I'm not alone, that other people are - just the love that comes through. It doesn't matter if it comes through an email, a phone call, a smile, a "hey, how are you doing Any of it. It just it lightens the load and it reminds me who's in charge.

Ebony Gilbert:

So (Carri - you're, you're absolutely right) the service is a show of love. Yeah, yeah, and sometimes that's all you need.

Carri Richard:

I think almost all the time. That's all you need. Absolutely.

Ebony Gilbert:

So when we put our service hat on and I'm wearing a hat today, that was accidental, but you're wearing your service hat, the responsibility is not tied necessarily to the outcome. We obviously have something in mind that we want to get out of this. We want the person to be better. We want to (Carri - heck yeah). But we can't, we don't have the power to make any guarantees there. The act of service is in showing the love, it's in sharing the love that's inside of us. So I got another question for you, because I'm talking through this and I'm thinking at the same time.

Carri Richard:

Okay.

Ebony Gilbert:

How do you deal with your responsibility? Because you would agree, it's our responsibility, right? We're accountable for this. We have to show service, we have to be giving, we have to share, we have to see who we're made to be, right? Assuming that, how do you deal with showing that kind of graceful service to someone who you feel like hasn't always positioned themselves to "deserve it in air quotes, or they haven't been very gracious to you in the past? But now you have this opportunity and I'm going to call it an opportunity.

Carri Richard:

Yeah.

Ebony Gilbert:

To show them something Christ- like, something God- like. How does that feel? How do you navigate that?

Carri Richard:

Yeah, that is a great question. The first thing for me, to be able to even see that opportunity, is to work on my own spirituality. Meaning to remind myself who's in charge, to talk about these kind of things, right? To give thanks to, for me, God, who is the One who's doing all these things.

Ebony Gilbert:

Right.

Carri Richard:

And one of my favorite things to say, if I'm in a situation where it might be sticky. I can feel the nudge to show up and I can also have an opinion at the same time. And that opinion could be about, "ell, they didn't, or why do you need to, or I don't really like this person, or fear - just overall fear based on your experience. And the most powerful thing that I can do in that moment is just say, " God, speak through my mouth.

Ebony Gilbert:

Yeah, yeah, put the words in my mouth.

Carri Richard:

Exactly, exactly, and be curious, like, like. I wonder how this is going to go? Because often if I have an opinion about a situation, then that means that I think I know how it's going to go and man it boxes me in a big way.

Ebony Gilbert:

So you said, get curious, does that happen in the moment, or do you prep talk yourself?

Carri Richard:

It kind of goes along, hand in hand with, " God. Speak through my mouth.

Ebony Gilbert:

Okay.

Carri Richard:

Yeah, it's a decision for sure Okay.

Ebony Gilbert:

Yeah, because if I don't, you're waiting for the lightning bolt.

Carri Richard:

Usually I'm going to react to it and then all bets are off. I'm not serving very well.

Ebony Gilbert:

It's the decision.

Carri Richard:

Yeah, it is a decision and it's trusting that it's not just me, myself and I that's in the situation. Grace gets to come along. I am not graceful on my own.

Ebony Gilbert:

I'm not either. I'm not either. It's not only a decision In the moment, it's an ongoing, daily decision for me. There is a song that, like, "I've decided to follow Jesus - old song. You know, decided to follow, no looking back, no turning back. But it's a daily decision and it's not that I'm going to change my mind tomorrow. But when I make that daily declaration, I'm saying I've decided to be an instrument. I've decided to show service. I've decided today, even if I don't feel like it, even if I don't think Carri's been very nice to me in the past 24 hours, even if I don't really think you need me because you got 10 other people, I've decided that I'm going to use whatever opportunity presents itself to show up the way God would have me to show up.

Carri Richard:

Yeah, and Ebony. What happens when you do that?

Ebony Gilbert:

Well, a lot of times I don't, let's be honest. I mean, sometimes my voice, my flesh voice, is louder, yeah, but when I do, he speaks through my mouth and he gives me the strength and I there have been many times where I walk away thinking I don't know how I just did that, I don't know how that went, the way it did, or, and that person was really moved or touched, and I don't know what I said. And it's not that I am just saying that, no, I really don't know, like I really don't know where it came from. It's not something I've said before, these are not thoughts I keep. Like something dug way deep down with a pitchfork into the bowels of my soul and pulled this out and it was protected and it was safe, and I walked away feeling like I had done what I was supposed to do. Now, I want to know the outcome. I get caught up on that, but I want to know, and then I have to decide that that's none of my business.

Carri Richard:

Yeah.

Ebony Gilbert:

And walk on. But I've never had any regrets when I've followed that nudge, that urge to help or assist, and sometimes the service care is being quiet.

Carri Richard:

Yeah.

Ebony Gilbert:

It's being quiet. I had a situation over the weekend talking with a loved one who has got some cognitive deficit stuff going on that they're not aware of. It's kind of early stages and we had a full conversation about 10 to 15 minutes and towards the end of the conversation we did our normal wrap up, "Okay, I'll talk to you later, have a good week. And the person literally started repeating the entire conversation over again and it didn't take long for me to realize that this was a glitch. There's a glitch in the matrix here and the service wasn't in correcting or pointing out the obvious. The service wasn't being quiet and allowing the conversation to continue, because what would it hurt, you know?

Carri Richard:

Yeah.

Ebony Gilbert:

What would it hurt? So the service this weekend was hush, be present and hush, just be here. Be here and be quiet. And that's taken some time because I've always thought it's something I had to say or something I had to do, or service has to be an action, you know. (Carri "Yeah, or it has to be planned with like a project plan and you know an outcome and the ending and objectives, and that wasn't the case.

Carri Richard:

Yes, yeah, yeah, it's beautiful. So that's discernment.

Ebony Gilbert:

Yeah, and it's. You know I'll take this stuff further. I don't know where I'm going with this comment, but maybe it'll - it's in my spirits, so I'm going to say it. It didn't feel good to me. This is someone I care about. I'm bothered by what would appear to me to be a decline. I want to help and in my mind, helping is get you help. I don't know how much of that's going to happen on a Sunday night at 8 o'clock, but in my mind I've got to correct it, I've got to call it out, I've got to do all these things. And the discernment, the small whisper of a voice in my ear, not mine, was don't do any of that, have the conversation, because all that's going to happen is she's going to get to laugh again and she's going to make the same joke and it's going to be funny again and it's going to bring joy into this moment, even though we just experienced it 10 minutes ago and it didn't feel good to me. I was sat in by the entire exchange, to be honest with you, but I knew that was the reasonable service in that moment. So I told you I didn't know I was going with this, but I think my takeaway was is in this moment. If you follow the steps that are outlined in the opportunity presented, your validation should come from knowing that you followed the steps and that you did what was right. Your validation cannot rely on the feeling it gives you.

Carri Richard:

Absolutely.

Ebony Gilbert:

Does that make sense?

Carri Richard:

It makes perfect sense. So, I can absolutely relate to that. The person who I'm concerned with is in the hospital and it's a family member, so we have all these family dynamics going on. And to your point of just being quiet, just being present, letting things happen. There were situations where I wanted to take control. And I wanted to boss people around and I didn't like how somebody was doing something and I wanted these decisions to be made. And it was like you know what my primary purpose at that point is to just be present. To be present, to watch what was on the TV with this person, to have a conversation, to be quiet when they were resting and it was not, as you said, it was not comfortable, but it was also. There's a dignity there.

Ebony Gilbert:

Yeah, Absolutely, absolutely. There's a vital verse in 1 Peter, 4th chapter, 10th verse. I'm talking about using your spiritual gifts and in order for us to be a good steward over the gifts we have, we have to share them. They should be used to serve other people, I'm pretty sure, sense of humor is not listed as a gift in the Bible, but we'll just use it for this conversation. If my sense of humor, or yours we're both pretty funny people is our gift. It does us no good to keep it to ourselves. In order to be a good steward of it, you have to share it with other people. So in our situations, our examples over the weekend with your loved one and my loved one, the gift in those moments was our time. The resource was our time and presence. It could be money and the bad feeling might be you're using me. It could be a cup of sugar from the neighbor. It could be whatever it might be. The Bible verse is specifically referencing spiritual gifts, but for the context of this conversation, it could be whatever resource that is being deployed - time, presence, energy, money, car. Whatever it might be, the way you're a good steward of it is by sharing it.

Carri Richard:

Absolutely. There's a statement out there and now I can kind of get where it's coming from - T o keep it, you've got to give it away.

Ebony Gilbert:

You've got to. (Carri yeah) You've got to - If you don't use it you lose it.

Carri Richard:

You're hiding it under a bushel or something. It's no bueno.

Ebony Gilbert:

Well, the grace in that service. Let me ask you, how do we show the grace in that service? What's the grace part of it?

Carri Richard:

The grace in that part of it is that discernment, to stay, even when the feelings aren't great and to be clear. And for me it's to keep it simple and be reminded that this other person, that I really want to have the outcome I want to, they've got a God too (Ebony - Boom) and I'm not it.

Ebony Gilbert:

I'm not it.

Carri Richard:

And I don't get to psychoanalyze it.

Ebony Gilbert:

I have to ask myself sometimes is this discernment, or is this Ebony's psychoanalysis 101? Which is it? Because only one is okay. Yeah, that's the important part. We can't get so caught up in the moment that we think that the grace is just us, we're the special in the room and we he's just my God, he's my own personal God, nobody else's, and the grace is just for me.

Carri Richard:

(Ebony - And the prayers only get answered by me in my voice). You don't know God like I know God.

Ebony Gilbert:

You don't know him like I know him. He doesn't talk to you the way he talks to me, and all so, so, so wrong.

Carri Richard:

And you know what that for me that really comes with this like idea of scarcity, and I know intellectually this isn't true but, this is where a lot of fear comes from. Is like, if, if, like, God's not big enough for all of us for all of us to have a really special relationship with. That there's some kind of give and take, and there is no give and take, with grace, it's so big, you know it's it's so so big.

Ebony Gilbert:

So yeah, he's big enough to show grace to all of us (Carri - at the same time!) at the same time, where nobody gets slighted. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So when I think about it, not in the overthinking way, but in the discerning way, when I reflect back on the teachings and I reflect back on what I know, it's easier to be present, it's easier to take advantage of those opportunities to be of service and it doesn't feel like a burden. Even when it doesn't feel good, even when I feel all the things I'm feeling, I still know it's what I'm supposed to do. This is my reasonable service. I don't get an extra star on the heaven admission card, (Carri - on the scoreboard) yeah. I'm not going to get an extra bonus point for showing up and being kind today. That's what I'm supposed to do.

Carri Richard:

Yeah, and and that service, no matter how simple it is, no matter how complex we think it is, big, small, it's all the same size. Like with respect to grace, there is no small, there is no big.

Ebony Gilbert:

It's all the same.

Carri Richard:

And what I do find, even if it doesn't feel good, like at the end I'm fueled by it. I'm not by it, I am not.. That's that effort, I am not exhausted by it. If I'm exhausted by it, then I really need to step back and take a look at where I might have gotten in the way in the process.

Ebony Gilbert:

I want to talk about that a little bit and then we're going to wrap up. But when you and I first met, shortly after we met, we attended a retreat together and I remember asking you, "are you tired after this? I'm tired for you. Like you're standing in front of people and you're giving your soul I mean you're giving emotion and competence and all this stuff and these people are pulling and tugging on everything inside of you. Are you okay? Like I was worried about you. And you just, in true Carri form, you smiled and you said, " no, no, this isn't draining. Yeah, and you know, in true Ebony- nosy form, I'm like "well, tell me why, what's the trick, tell me how to do this. And you went on to explain what you just did and it was pretty eye-opening for me and I started thinking of all the things that I do on the busiest, the busiest days. Why are some so much more draining than others? Where is their alignment and where is there not? And I started seeing some correlation. If I'm where I'm supposed to be, doing what I'm supposed to be doing, it's not to say you don't get physically exhausted or you know, or flesh, but it's that drain, the depletion of the cup, the emptying. That doesn't necessarily happen. I still haven't fully explained it to myself, but you did a good job of getting me there.

Carri Richard:

Yes, Woo! See, service has no time limit either.

Ebony Gilbert:

It does not, and that was a while ago, and it stuck with me. It really did stick with me. I said, huh, I give presentations all the time and I just need a nap. I can count on one hand the ones where I've been like oh it was great, it was awesome. Yes, yes, yes, I keep going.

Carri Richard:

And that goes back to your spiritual gifts, right. So the, the, the. When you can, when you can align your work with utilizing your gifts, and you can do it within corporate, you can do it. It doesn't mean that you have to be a retreat leader, right, but when, when you can align your gifts as much as possible to the work that you're being asked to do, that's where that depletion, uh, lessens.

Ebony Gilbert:

Zone of genius.

Carri Richard:

Yes, that's the one. That's the one, the stuff you do all the everyday for free. Do more of that.

Ebony Gilbert:

More of that.

Carri Richard:

And I also just want to say real quick, at the same time, for all who are listening service can be smiling at a stranger as you walk by, It can be a hello, or roll your window down and say something kind to somebody as you're at the stoplight and you know if you're in town or something. It can be - It's that we all crave and need connection and it's that you know putting putting yourself out there to be connected to.

Ebony Gilbert:

That's so true. Last example. I passed the guy over the weekend who was asking for money on the sidewalk. I didn't have any cash and I try to always keep cash on me for this whole reason but I didn't have any this time. People were just walking past the guy. He was very politely asking you have anything to spare? So I got up to him he said you have anything to spare? I don't have any cash today and I am so sorry. I normally do. And the guy looks at me and he says I know you do, I've seen you before. He said it's okay, have a great evening. Not the response I was expecting, okay, and he had the brightest smile. The man provided a service to me. Because his smile lit up my entire evening. I tell you no lie, it was. He was so gracious and generous with my - I don't have it with me right now, you know, I'll give you a pass. I just thought, man you never know, here I am thinking that I, you know he wants a service for me and I can't give it. He provided one for me and I just. It just makes me wonder sometimes, when we're we think we're doing the service. What service is being done to us? What feeling is happening on our inside? Are we, when we miss the opportunity, are we blocking someone else's opportunity from providing a service to us? You know it's an exchange. This thing goes both ways.

Carri Richard:

Absolutely.

Ebony Gilbert:

We're filling a cup and they're filling our cup and you know, it's this constant reciprocal kind of thing that happens, that ebbs and flows. But it touched my heart so I thought about that when you were saying what you were saying.

Carri Richard:

Beautiful, it's, it's true it's. It's that, it's renewal. Yeah, this has been, this has been good Ebony and, as you said, when we started, it was technical difficulty after technical difficulty and it's like, and you know, we just show up so we just show up.

Ebony Gilbert:

So keep fighting the good, fight people, keep helping others, keep keep the service going on. Pay it forward.

Carri Richard:

Absolutely.

Ebony Gilbert:

Pay it forward. Yeah, graceful service.

Carri Richard:

Yes.

Ebony Gilbert:

And even if you can't muster up the grace, do it anyway. It'll come, the rest will come. Do it anyway, just cause it's the right thing to do.

Carri Richard:

Absolutely.

Ebony Gilbert:

It's amazing. You got anything else to close us out?

Carri Richard:

You know, sometimes when I'm feeling really low, like I don't feel, like I have enough in reserve to do that, and and what I do find is if I can just smile at somebody, if I can give a little that gets. It's like that gets the ball rolling.

Ebony Gilbert:

Yeah.

Carri Richard:

How else to say it?

Ebony Gilbert:

No, you're right, A little bit of eye contact and a smile.

Carri Richard:

Yeah, and sometimes it could be like I - and I've done this, Ebony - I've done this to you. Sometimes it's it's actually reaching out and asking for something. Yep, you know, I was going through a really tough time and I texted Ebony. I said I just need a prayer.

Ebony Gilbert:

Hmm.

Carri Richard:

You can do that, yep. That gives that gave an opportunity for service, yep, so don't be afraid.

Ebony Gilbert:

Don't take away my opportunity. Oh well my grandma used to say like this don't rob me of my blessing.

Carri Richard:

I love that.

Ebony Gilbert:

You know she would try to give somebody something or slip a couple of dollars in their pocket or offer them something to eat and they would just say no, no, no, I can't take that she's. It would don't rob me of my blessing. That's the opportunity. In old folks language. That's the opportunity.

Carri Richard:

I think your grandmother just wrapped this one up.

Ebony Gilbert:

Boom I love you. I love it. I love it, hey friend, I love you.

Carri Richard:

I love you too.

Ebony Gilbert:

People listening. We love you.

Carri Richard:

Yes, we do, and until next time, Grace out.

Speaker 1:

Thank you so much for joining us. If you enjoyed this episode, please let us know. We love to hear from you and share it with a friend. Also, please be sure to subscribe so you're notified when a new episode is posted. We hope you're leaving with another pointer to grace, a new perspective that will light it up in your own life. Until next time, be well, be bold, be kind to yourself and be on the lookout.

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