Sunday, July 22, 2012

Real Life Friday!

Real Life Wednesday! has moved to Friday. As I thought about changing the schedule I remember thinking that surely Friday would be a better day to post about my real life. It's the end of the week, I have a bit more time to write and think and I can wrap up the week. It certainly seemed like a good idea and theoretically it should work, but last week proved to be full and a bit intense. Friday morning came and the last thing I could think about was trying to formulate thoughts and put words to what I had experienced in my week! Rather than force myself to gather my thoughts, my Friday was spent with mundane tasks like grocery shopping and laundry, ending in a low key "pizza and a beer" dinner date with my husband. Now it's Sunday, and I have a bit more clarity and focus and energy!

I've been in a new position on staff at my church for a a couple of months now and I love it!  My heart beats for everything about it!  There is really no aspect of what I'm doing that I can say I don't like.  My days are full and no two are ever the same. Here a few snapshots from my week-
  • Two weeks ago I requested an intern to help with a couple of research projects.  Literally, one week later God provided a young woman on my doorstep!  She is passionate about serving God's people and has such a tender heart for caring and providing for needs in our congregation.  I am excited to work with her!
  • Because the ministry area I'm serving in has recently expanded, our team is stepping back to take a look at how we are doing ministry and to see how we might accomplish it differently.  We had an initial ministry design meeting this week and we're looking forward to a follow up meeting next week.  It is super exciting to see how God will move and shift this new team to better serve God's people!
  • I had eight meetings over two and half days.  I loved every minute of each of them.  I get to connect with women who are struggling, women who want to serve, women God has persevered and women God sends to encourage me.  I met with one woman early in the week to interview her about her struggle with an eating disorder and how God has freed her from that battle.  Later in the week I shared a bit of that story with another young woman who then revealed her own struggle with an eating disorder.  That's the nature of ministry - real life, real people and real struggles!

As I was thinking about my week I jotted these notes down: running in a million directions, feeling like nothing getting done. tired and overwhelmed. After taking a few days and a closer look I have gained a bit of perspective.
  1. Stacking my calendar to fill my day and week is not wise.  If I have learned anything this week, it is to practice restraint with my schedule.  I will intentionally build time into my day to think, pray, take a walk and eat something.  Taking those kinds of "breaks" in my day should help with the feeling that I'm running in a lot of different directions and it will hopefully reduce tired and overwhelming feelings.  
  2. I will remind myself that the work that I do is primarily connecting with people, not sitting at my computer.  Although I'm responsible for some administrative tasks, my first line of ministry is "one another".
  3. I will look at interruptions in my schedule as opportunities God is bringing to my life.  I am often tempted to  become impatient believing that what I have on my "to do" list is more important than the interruption in my day (a phone call, someone stopping by my office or a rescheduled meeting or appointment).  I [wrongly] believe that God is only working according to the schedule I have made...ridiculous I know - but true.
I would love to say that I had everything under control last week, but I would be lying. The truth is I was twirled around because of my scheduled, I was overwhelmed by the intensity of it all, I was cranky with my husband and I was exhausted every single night. But God, in the midst of it all, was teaching me more about who he is and more about who I am. He was caring for me, sustaining me and growing me up. I looked back at my tweets from last week. From Tuesday to Friday this was on my heart:

He should be able to deal gently with their failings, since he knows what it's like from his own experience. Hebrews 5:2
Everyday the world reminds me I don't measure up. God says - I know - I sent my Son for you. He measured up on your behalf.
In Christ, I can lay my head on my pillow tonight confident that Jesus paid it all. Rest, He says. I achieved the perfect day for you.
Don't go to bed tonight counting your sins against you. In Christ, God has accounted for all of them. It is finished!
I'm feeling overwhelmed.Trusting that Jesus was overwhelmed too and yet He perfectly bore up under the strain that I would not be overtaken.
Why do I think "it's all up to me"? Pride and unbelief. I want to point to myself because I don't believe that in Christ I have all I need.
I would love to say I'm in control but this week has reminded me I'm not. I don't hold it all together. Only Jesus has that job description.
"And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together" Col 1:17 praise Jesus!

I love seeing the progression of what God was doing in my heart.  He was preaching the gospel to me through these words, reorienting me once again to what Jesus has already accomplished on my behalf.  In moments when I forget the gospel I am thankful God reminds me to get off of the perfection seeking, controlling, guilt ridden roller coaster and rest instead in the finished work of Christ!  

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