Vulnerability

It’s nice to see you…

After a conversation with two amazing ladies on our core team, I was boldly reminded of the courage that it takes and what can happen as a result. Have I mentioned how grateful I am for this team?!

Being vulnerable, can at times seem lost. Please know, I’m not talking about being whiny or living in state of non-clinical depression.

I will never ever forget a moment when I saw the power of it. It was beautiful. It was a room full of teenage girls and a few of us leaders. It was getting really late but we wanted to hear what the girls had to say. Everything stopped and shift happened when one young leader opened her mouth and confessed a deep struggle. Next thing I knew, it was 3am and the room was weeping. What had begun as a bunch of girls not wanting to say anything (that sentence doesn’t even make sense), turned into a move of God so powerful, it marked me forever. A few of us still reminisce about that night…it was 6 years ago. I can hardly believe what God has done since then. Eventually, we all got slap happy (we still laugh about that too) but first…vulnerable.

Was that moment easy? Nope! It all came about when one girl got real honest. It was as if the whole room was set free to say what was burning inside them. Author, Jon Acuff calls this “the gift of going second”. It’s true. It’s so very real that it is no wonder it doesn’t happen as often as it should…it’s uncomfortable, it’s ugly and it’s risky. It is our masks thrown away, the struggle or pain for all to see.

Then, something happens…

Someone else realizes that someone has gone before them, they are indeed not alone. Someone else gets the chance to be vulnerable. Someone else needs to know that they are not going crazy. Someone needs a safe place of confession. Someone needs to know that silence is not the answer. Someone….well, someone needs you. Someone needs Christ in you…

Silence is not the answer…there is a world out there, broken and in need.

I will never forget that room full of teenage girls and what I encountered that night. My prayer is that I never do…

 

Thoughts on Service

I have had this thought in my head, then after a very offensive experience in a restaurant tonight, I must write.

I normally write about my family, the church we are in the process of planting, faith, opinions and questions. Today, worlds collide. I wait tables. I have for over a year this time around. I am good at it…I am not a fan of it but God has been faithful and I have determined to be faithful with what is in front of me. That…and I love the people I work with 🙂

I am seeing something perplexing between these two worlds.

At work, I serve people

At church, we serve people

The difference…

At work I serve people because of what I am supposed to get from them. There you go! That server in that restaurant who is getting you refills, bringing your food and clearing your plates is doing so for one reason and one reason only. A tip! Sure, it is there job but there income is dependent on what you give them. I don’t go into work, wait tables because of a conviction. I serve in this context because I am supposed to. I’m looking to get.

I know that I am not the only server who thinks like this. We all do. I can prove it by the girl who approached our table as we were finishing our meal last night. The service was great and meal was delicious. We were approached by a server and asked how our service was. Then, while the tip sat in my husband’s hand (we paid credit card and were tipping w/cash) prior to leaving it on the table, we were asked why we didn’t leave a tip. Did I mention we were mid conversation? You can imagine my immediate offense (and mental note of where not to return). We left the tip (and a tiny polite as possible piece of my mind) as planned. I would like to say that this proves my point. Serve in order to receive.

It can be a rather frustrating world for everyone.

The church –

We serve people to serve people. Not for what we can get from them, not for what they can give but because we are called to serve an individual, a family, a community, a city…to BE the church. We love people. There is a reason for serving them but not because of what they can give us in return. We have been given a gift so great, that we are compelled to do likewise. I could go on about this one…

I can see where such frustration happens when the lines and purpose of service get skewed.

These are my thoughts on the life of service…

 

Cynicism?

I think there is a reason for the thoughts in my head, I just don’t like that they are there.

I know that the things I am reading right now resonate ever so strongly in me for a reason. I know that as we plant Revive Church, there are things that the Lord is reminding me of and things are being made clearer than ever. What to do with them is another thing but that is another day…and God help me!

I realize that my heart and mind are not even close to absent of cynicism. Maybe it is realism. Maybe the reason some of these thoughts exist is to keep certain things at the forefront of my brain and keep my heart in check. Maybe it is the reminder that God isn’t calling us a cookie cutter of something else (strong reminder from the get-go) and this is the process of Him breaking me of what’s familiar.

Just maybe….

Here is another problem…what do I do with it? That is my prayer.  I realize the ambiguity of these statements…you don’t really know what I am talking about.

I suppose further honesty would be helpful…

I feel as if sometimes we miss the point and purpose…

It may be bad that when I hear people sing certain worship songs, my heart is stirred to tears then judgment quickly drops and I think to myself that a lot of the people singing it, don’t mean it. That will kill a moment by the way.

I don’t want to think that but I certainly have.

Thats not all…

I have a hard time with the words “life changing”. I do believe that the Word doesn’t return void. I don’t think that every time we use this phrase that it is necessarily warranted. There are others. I over think words sometimes and get frustrated when I sit and ponder actions…

I sound bitter. I’m not. Really. I have thoughts and wonder what to do about them. I may need to deal with some of them. I wonder how it is suppose to look at work through my life. I don’t for a moment seek to imply that I have it figured out. SO far from that. I also have plaguing thoughts about world missions, the Church, consumerism and the American dream. I whole heartedly believe in the Church and the mission that God has given us.

In the last two weeks I have read Radical by David Platt and I’m almost done with Life Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker. They are messing me up in a beautiful-kind-of- frustrating-dear-God-help-me kind of way. They should come with a warning label…and they are awesome!

 

A Purpose for WHAT?

Sometimes I have so many thoughts running through my head that I can’t pinpoint exactly what I want to write about. Sometimes, I have thoughts that I need to sit on. These thoughts do not need to be made public as soon as I think them. Trust me. These thoughts need some more time to process. I seem to be processing a lot at this season in life.

On my way to work yesterday, I spent some time praying. There is a lot to pray about. More on that next time…

With all the thoughts, with all the things stirring in my heart…I kind of prayed this question…

Does the Holy Spirit lead us to frustration?

Please notice that I didn’t say confusion but frustration. I’m not confused…that is clear and there is a difference.

I am starting to realize that the thoughts and frustrations don’t make me crazy. After all, I’m not hearing voices. The things going on around me and in my heart are than enough for me at the moment.

I know that these present frustrations serve a purpose. Kind of like how tension and friction can serve a purpose.

Maybe, just maybe this present frustration is because God has led me to this place to produce (or sometimes get rid of) something in me…then through me.  Maybe there is a purpose for the frustration. I’m really starting to see that it does.