Do you ever feel like you do all that you do for nothing? Like everyone takes you for granted and no one gives you the credit you deserve?

Whew, that can make us some bitter women! I cleaned this house all day and not a single one of you said thank you. What, you think I’m your maid? You’ll start appreciating what I do when I stop doing it up in here!

Oh girl, bitterness doesn’t look good on you.

Or what about at work? You show up early AND you’re the last one to leave, but no one recognizes your hard work. You’re looked over and passed by. Kinda makes you want to give less than your best, doesn’t it? Makes you want to stop doing all you do so they see nothing gets done without you, then they will learn to appreciate you.

What about in your relationships? You’re always the one to call. Always the one to care. Always the one going first. So you’re thinking about not calling, not caring, and waiting for them to go first instead. Yeah, you’ll show them!

Anyone feeling that way today? Anyone feeling like you give a whole lot more that you get? Anyone have bitterness brewing within them just knowing you’re getting shorted? Well, isn’t it just like God to show up and speak directly to you when you most need it? Look at this scripture tucked away in his word for you, written by a man named Isaiah who felt the same way you do right now.

Isaiah 49:4 “But I said, “I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all. Yet what is due me is in the LORD’s hand, and my reward is with my God.”

Oh girl, go ahead and insert your true feelings right in the middle of this verse. I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all. Ain’t nobody thanking me for all I’ve done around here. Nobody appreciates me the way I ought to be appreciated. They don’t pay me what I’m worth. They don’t recognize all I’ve been doing. I deserve better than this!!!! …… Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand and my reward is with my God.

I don’t have to storm through the house today in a mad rage throwing around all the dirty laundry that no one else does. I don’t have to stomp through the office today to ensure everyone sees my extra workload and overwhelm. What is due me is in the Lord’s hand, my reward is with God.

I can trust God to reward my hard work. I can trust God to delight in my extra effort. I can trust God to repay me with mercy, grace, blessings and favor, for what no one else sees or recognizes. And honey, when God promotes, there’s no one that can hold you back. When God blesses, no one can take that away. When God raises you up, there’s no bringing you down.

So right here, in your real life circumstances, surrounded by what feels like being overlooked and unappreciated, you show up with nothing but your best today KNOWING everything that is due you will come from God’s hand. Go above and beyond today, yes for people who may never say thank you, because your true reward was never from them, it was always from God!

20 years ago one of my mentors told me a story of a woman who was miserable in her job. It’s a story I’ve always remembered for the lesson it taught me. This woman hated her job. She dreaded going to work every day. She felt underpaid for the work she did, so she always did the minimum work she could. If they weren’t going to pay her more, she certainly wasn’t going to work harder. She didn’t like the people she worked with, so she never talked to them. Every day she would stomp her way through her work day and count down the minutes until quitting time.

Finally, she decided she was going to quit her job, but before she quit, she would make them realize who they were losing. She decided this one particular Friday would be her last day of work, and on that day she would be certain they knew she was a good person walking right out the door. Oh she would show them and they would regret losing her!

On her big day, she showed up early with doughnuts for everyone. Throughout the day she not only did her work, but she offered to help everyone else with their work. Oh she did all the things. From office to office and person to person, with the biggest smile. She was making them love her, then she would drop the big bomb that she was quitting! She had never worked harder or gotten more work done. Her plan was working.

Finally, the end of the day came, and it was time for her to make the loud announcement of “take this job and shove it, I ain’t working here no more!” (Who knows the song?) But, it had been such a good day, and she felt so accomplished, suddenly she recognized she didn’t want to quit any more. She loved work that day. She actually enjoyed the people she worked with. So, she didn’t quit and she returned on the next Monday excited to go to work to the exact same job she used to hate. The only thing that changed was her attitude and effort, and that had changed everything.

God wants to work on our attitude and our effort. We’ve become so focused on “what’s in it for me” and “what will I get out of it”, that we’ve been holding back the best of ourselves, then wondering why we feel so bad. Honey, when you hold back your best, you never get to feel your best. When you do less than you could, you feel less than you could.

God will give you your reward. God will recognize what others do not.

Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”

Then the next few verses in the MSG translation read, “Don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.

God will repay you for the work you do. He will recognize your effort. He will honor your follow through on your commitments. Test him and see. Go ahead and try it out today and just see for yourself.

I have a particular relationship which feels very lopsided. For years, I’ve been the one to give and never received anything in return. I do all the encouragement, I check in on them, I ask about their family and their business, but they never seem to ask about mine. I support them, they don’t support me. It feels unfair and honestly it has hurt me for many years because these are people I care about deeply.

So, I tried withholding my support. I tried not being happy for them. I tried repaying them with what they’ve been giving me. And let me tell you, it sucked! I felt terrible. Let me tell you why, that’s not who I was created to be. God never asked me to only encourage the people who encourage me. He never instructed me to only pray for the ones who pray for me. He never gave me permission to withdraw my love from the people who don’t adequately show their love for me. So, I’ve decided, I will still give my best in that relationship without any strings of expectations. God has called me to love. I will love. God has called me to encourage. I will encourage. God has called me to support, I will support. God holds the reward for that.

Whatever it is you need to do today, turn on some good music, show up with some lashes and lip gloss on, and do it with your absolute best effort. Finish it completely with your full focus. Put the finishing extra touches on that work to make it clear this was done with attention to detail and commitment. Maybe that means a completely cleared and clean desk at the end of the day. Maybe that means laundry actually put away and an empty basket placed perfectly on top of the washing machine. Maybe that means dinner on the table with fancy dishes, placemats, and hand made name cards for each person.

Whatever it means for you to do what needs to be done with your absolute best today, you do that. Remember this is just a test.

Then, at the end of the day, check and see what God has done for you. Has he given you pride in the work you have done? Has he given you joy in the process? Has he given you this indescribable good feeling coming from within for the work you have done? YES HE HAS!

This is what happens when we stop just doing the minimum to get by. This is what happens when we do our best work from the heart. And this is what happens when we stop expecting flawed and distracted humans to fill empty spaces within us that only God can fill.

Your reward is in God’s hand. You get paid in full every time by him. He deposits joy and strength within you every single time you do your best. Every time you work to serve him, he fills you with even more.

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