Sunday, March 9, 2008

A little time off brings a lot of learning.

I don't like uncertainty, and I don't like change. I never have and I have to fight the urge to control things every day. And yes, that DOES make me a control freak. Well, not a "freak" exactly, because I hide it well. I PRETEND that I don't mind if the service repair man will come anywhere between 9 and 4:30, but I'd really like to schedule an actual TIME that he can come. But these are the ways of the world and like it or not, I have to adapt to it.

Can you even imagine how much this affects how I relate to God? If you're like me, all too well! I like certainty. I like stability. Sometimes, that's not what God chooses for me. Recently, I took a sabbatical from my volunteer ministry to regroup. I assured people before I left that I wasn't going under or "burning out", but if I'd been really honest with myself, I wasn't sure I was coming back.

About 3 weeks ago when I was praying with some friends they asked about my recent sabbatical. I told them: "God has given me two messages while on sabbatical. 1) Live in
the moment (today) and don't borrow trouble and 2) STOP COMPLAINING." God's words were direct and powerful. It became clear to me that if I obeyed, there would be freedom. If I didn't, ministry would be over for me.

When it comes to complaining, I have huge obsticles to overcome. I have embraced this sin, feeling that it's my "right" to complain when I feel that there's injustice. I'd manufactured
this grid that, over time, wouldn't let me see anything good about ministry. I would clean up from the program on Sunday and feel depressed that there was no hope for our church. But God has so much more for me, and for Beacon, and for the Lighthouse. Some dear friends reminded me that so much good has come from the work that's been done...and I realized that God is not
confined by our weakness (in fact - isn't he made perfect in it!!?).

These last 2 weeks, for the first time in a LONG time, I've allowed God to give me the freedom he's always offered and it's been WONDERFUL!!!! I now know what I was missing, and I don't want to go back. Now that I don't let myself gripe and complain about what's NOT there, I see a lot of things that are. I know there's a lot of work ahead. But, I'm over the top
that God has chosen to redeem me...I wasn't honestly sure that it was
going to happen, or that it COULD happen.

To add another twist to the story - Every day for me is about living in t-o-d-a-y. It's about keeping your head in the game and not thinking about whats next. Word came to me last week that someone has anonomously donated money as a salary for the minstry that I do. It's taken a whole week to sink in. I'm on my knees in praise and humility. God is in control and I HAVE to stop believing that I own my future. It's times like these that I realize I wouldn't want to be in control even if I could. I'm elated of course about the possibility of being able to be undivided in the time I devote to ministry, but also realize that there are challenges with it. But I love even more that God was patient with me to find the right answer, before I found the "fix". I had been pining before taking this sabatical about what I might do when I have to choose between ministry and paid work. This choice is coming up in several months. The "fix" of stability and certainty through being paid for the ministry I do could have carried me for a while, but God knew that my time "off" held answers that would sustain me for eternity.

I love what I do. I've found my calling. I'm filled to the brim. And I believe that growing children up in real relationship with Jesus Christ is worth sticking around for.


Kim said...

What a great post. I'm SO happy for you and for the breakthrough you had -- we have both had similar renewals in our relationship with God over the past two weeks.

What you do at Beacon is so amazing and it's such a joy to be part of your life!

And, I love the way you write! I'm so glad you started a blog!

Matt said...

Isn't God just fantastic?

I totally understand what you mean about stability and control. I am a creature of habit, and I feel most comfortable when I have a nice routine to work within. When that gets disrupted, I usually get all grumpy or stressed.

The result is that I like to try and plan things out. But my life has been full of God constantly shaking up my plans. What do I do? I fall back to making scads of contingency plans—trying to figure out a whole course of reactions and plans based on what happens.

And what happens in my life? All those plans get disrupted and weird events come out of left field. What I'm left with is that I just have to live day-to-day. God's got plans, and the reality is that no matter how hard I worked, I could never come up with such audacious and incredible plans like the ones God has. He keeps disrupting my plans not because he doesn't want me to be wise, count the cost, or make plans—but because my plans are so small and limiting. I've been putting limits (unknowingly) on what God could do with my life, and he won't stand for it.

I'm so incredibly thrilled about what God is doing in you and in the church. I've been praying intensely for God to have his way in our church, for him to blow the doors off our expectations. Frankly, you getting paid is beyond anything I would have ever expected or asked for. So there you are: doors suitably blown off.

All I have to say is that anyone who says following God is boring isn't doing it right. It's nothing short of a non-stop adventure in my experience :-)