In Luke 18, there's a story of a rich official who meets Jesus.
He proclaims: "Jesus you're a good teacher, what can I do to inherit eternal life?"
Jesus being Jesus-like answers his dramatic statement with a question with a little snark (I think).
He says, " Why are you calling me good? Only God is good."
I have to imagine this rich guy's head he's like.: "okkkk...."
"Have you done the things I've asked of you?"
"Have you been honest with mom and dad?"
"Have you killed or stolen in the the past 5 years?"
The man answers that he's kept all his commands and lived a life worthy of a gold-star as for as rules and regulations go.
Jesus responds: "Sell everything you have and give it to the poor. You will have riches in heaven. Come, follow Me"
The rich guy, expecting a high five from Jesus, was taken back. The man left, and isn't mentioned again. Jesus spent some time teaching his disciples from that interaction, but lets focus on this guy who had it all, and walked away.
See, I think this man was rich in more ways than just wealth. I'd like to think he was well-liked, talented in many ways. He was in leadership, his business was doing well. He had a lot of things going for him.
When reading this passage, I'm instantly judgmental.
"Man, this guy's an idiot. Why would you choose money over Jesus?!"
Want to know why I judge this dude? Because I'm just like him.
I have money that provides for my debts, needs, and then some. I have a steady paycheck with benefits. I have a couple things I'm good at. I, like every other human, have a desire to be liked. I desire to have a good reputation among my communities. I'm a leader in my local church...I have a lot.
Jesus hones in on this guys' wealth, because he values it MORE than following Jesus. He's doing the same thing with us.
So I find myself asking:
"What do I value more than following Jesus?"
It's a hard question that requires several large slices of humble pie. For me, it's not one thing. I knowingly and unknowingly have stuff that I value more than following Jesus. Some of it is good, too! In fact, I'm learning the gifts I receive from God are the very things I like to use to separate myself from Him. And He's asking me time and time again to give them all up, and follow Him.
Here's a few of mine:
-being taken seriously, proving myself as a leader and artist
-my savior complex
-the facade of control and knowledge
-fear and worry over faith and trust
-good reputation, being well-liked
There's a fuller picture that we can't see with these things hindering our view and trust. It's only when the "separators" are identified and removed that we move closer to understanding WHY He asks us to give it up, and why His work and mission is worth the sacrifice.
In an effort to start writing more, I'm going to share a couple sections of the Bible that got me like whaaa??
Let's start here, shall we?
"Anyone who comes to Me but refususee to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters--yes even one's own self--can't be My disciple."
"Simply put, if you're not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can't be my disciple."
-excerpts from Luke 14 MSG
Initial, honest thoughts: Yikes. Followed quickly by fear, anxiety, and worry. I share my reaction because there's a myth floating around that intially reading, studying, and digesting scripture is always filled with total peace, understanding, clarity, and hope. Maybe that's the case for some, not for me.
I'm at a place in my life were I'm allowing myself to believe God has good for me. For you. For the entire world. It's a simple concept, but like most things in God's kingdom, it's filled with layers and complexities.
The good for me currently is my relationships, the work I'm doing, getting my act together financially, and stepping into deep callings God's place on my heart. I see God in every single one of these...they're good! He's good! Surely He wouldn't ask me to give up the very things He's given me?
Here's the thing: HE IS.
The phrase "giving things up" in God's book means surrender. Total surrender and submission to Him and His will. If you enjoy the myth of control like me, this cornerstone quality in following Jesus is real hard.
Here's what I'm learning in regards to "giving things up": it's all about posture.
The moment I begin clinging to the gifts I have been given, is the moment they loose their value.
They quickly become my god, even though they're from and of God.
In the excerpt from Luke, Jesus asks His disciples the same question. Every value and gift He's asking his friends to sacrifice is GOOD. He's asking His disciples if they truly think following Him is worth it.
If it's better than even their greatest gift from God.
Too many times I read the bible through the lense of "c'mon discple-guys, the right answer is following Jesus. He's totally worth it, duh!". However, as I live more life, and experience really good things, I'm learning how vital it is to ask myself every day:
"Is following Jesus better than even the greatest gift He's given me?".
I'll admit, most days I choose the gift over Jesus. That's why scripture like this hits me so hard.
So, I'm asking myself and you today: What's your posture?
Is it a white-knuckle grip on the good in your life? Or even the bad?
Is it an open-hands-open-heart surrender on the good?
A couple weekends ago, I had a chance to visit historic Williamsberg, Viriginia. A place of rich American history. I love this stuff, history has always fascinated me. It's a sobering reminder that life does indeed go on after you take your last breath. It holds the reminder that life is yours, and it's your job, and yours alone to live out the things you believe in.
As I walked around the museum, I read about the first colonies and their interaction with the Native American people. Not really a history to be proud of there. Lot's of stuff Disney's Pocahantus left out, just so you know.
I was struck by a British man who was a translator for the Powhatan Indian tribe. He not only learned the language, but took time to learn about their culture. He lived amongst them instead of within the colonial community. Apparently, he was disliked among the settlers. This line was inscripted over his picture:
"He lived much more like a savage than a Christian gentleman."
So, let me get this straight. This man learned the Powhatan's language, ate with them, conversed, hunted, and lived among them. In doing so, he tore down indifference and fear. In short, this guy spent his life taking time to see and know people who were different than him. This guy...he was regarded the savage by his community and the church. Let's not forget, the church in that time was the epicenter of all political, ecomomical and social decisions.
That line moved me deeply, and I thought, "I'd rather be a savage"
If we look at Jesus and His encounters while he was on earth, you will not find Him within the four walls of a church very often. No, He is out in the community WITH people. People who the religious community viewed as unclean sinners. He challenged the pharisee, and hugged the leper. He welcomed the tax collector, and shared bread with him. He saw people just as they were. He took time to live among them. I think some of his favorite encounters were those that turned religion on it's head. An upside down Kingdom. I think he was considered a savage, too.
Let's bring this to our present reality, shall we? Because though we have made strides as Chirst-followers; pride, fear of questions, and hypocracy run deep in our history. I know they do in mine.
The title of Christianity is tatterned and torn. On its best days, it's Jesus with people. Learning, listening, loving. On its worst, you might as well replace it with the term pharisee. A religious individual who follows and enforces rules and regulations. The minute details of scripture became more important than actually seeing people.
Friends, I refuse to stay inside the suffocating, safe, grey walls of the church. Not listening and knowing all the beautiful people around, just like you and me, who the church/society/leaders have deemed "hot topics" or "less". If that's Christianity, I'll be a savage.
Walking, listening, and learning next to people. Regardless of race, sexual orientation, political stance, music choice, or religion. If we look at Jesus, He did the same. He was a revolutionary in His time because of the way He simply saw people.
I haven't lost hope in Christianity, but I sure am tired.
We have so much work to do.
There are no black and white, clear cut rules when it comes to HOW we love others and follow Jesus.
What if we leaned into Jesus' heart a little bit? Forget what you think you know...He's in the business of rebuilding and reshaping hearts. Restoring EVERYONE to His heart, welcoming them HOME.
God's Kingdom is one of unity, harmony and difference. That's right, difference.
Difference is what makes us unique, and it's what beauty is.
Don't fight it, embrace it.
What if we leaned into God's Spirit? Moment by moment.
Listening for a lifetime instead of assuming we already know.
In Williamsberg, VA I found words for my heavy heart in our current culture.
I can't change people. But I can choose to see them, love WITHOUT hesitation or questions.
So, if that makes me a savage. Let it be so.
I'm taking back the word brave.
It's paired with grandiose events, and intellectual people. But I believe it takes bravery to live in the ordinary. The mundane, day to day.
I've assembled the following examples of bravery based on the people I live next to:
Sometimes bravery looks like getting out of bed in the morning.
Choosing to put one foot in front of the other when your world is crumbling around you. The world keeps spinning, but your heart is tired and it's hard to muster up strength to just be.
Sometimes bravery looks like raising a family.
Being asked/forced to constantly put your own needs on the back burner. Smiling through tired eyes at your kiddos despite only sleeping 1-3 hours a night. Teaching these little people how to be decent human beings through discipline, learning and love. Not only that, but finding joy in them.
Sometimes bravery looks like being in love with your spouse.
Choosing to love one another deeply. To be a constant companion to walk through ups and downs with. Continually choosing them, even though it can be difficult.
Sometimes bravery looks like asking the one person that everyone thinks you should be friends with to coffee.
You know, the one you think is too cool to be friends with you? Not only going to coffee, but actually talking about things that matter.
Sometimes bravery looks like letting go of ______.
You name it. Relationships, your favorite unhealthy food, ego, short-comings.
Sometime bravery looks like searching.
Continuing to walk into the unclear and grey areas. When everyone else sees in black and white, having the courage to ask questions that make people uncomfortable. That make you uncomfortable.
Sometimes bravery looks like admitting you're wrong.
Choosing relationship over the need to be right. Over pride of looking foolish.
Sometimes bravery looks like waiting.
Choosing to be fully present while you're waiting for something. A promise to be fulfilled. Choosing to worship and stay engaged.
Sometimes bravery looks like being present.
Choosing to stay and experience the now, instead of rushing to the next event, meeting, or cup of coffee.
Sometimes bravery is loving people even though they let you down.
To be hurt means that you actually have love in your heart. For my friends that love Jesus, it means He exists there, and hurts with you.
Sometimes bravery means being the bigger person.
Even though you've been wronged, hurt, maybe even taken advantage of. Everything in you wants to retaliate, and make the other suffer. But you don't. You lean towards humanity. You lean toward grace.
Sometimes bravery means being fully yourself.
No matter what anyone else tells you, the gift to this world is who you are. Your likes, dislikes, passions, humor, laugh and frown lines.
Sometimes bravery means redeeming baggage.
Experiences stay with us. Use it. Learn from it.
Sometimes bravery means letting people love you.
Not just brushing off a kind word. Daring to believe that it just may be true, and that maybe...just maybe that's how people view you. Not with the distorted lenses you view yourself with.
Sometimes bravery looks like choosing forgiveness.
I don't believe forgiveness truly begins until you walk in it every day, and pray for the person that hurt you.
Sometimes bravery is simply admitting your brave in the ordinary. Choose to dig your feet in, and love the people around you that drive you nuts. To embrace whatever season you're in and learn from it. To be fully human, taking the good days with the bad. Learning to love yourself and embrace your character. To feed your soul with good books, and green pastures. To let your heart break, and feel brokenness deeply, and be moved to action. To celebrate that problem area on your body that really is your best feature. Live in the present and experience the richness of life in the ordinary.
Oh friends, let's be brave.
I carry a couple of suitcases around with me.
They're full of experiences.
It's contents have shaped who I am.
Some say you should let your baggage go.
I say you should learn from it.
Carry it with you, tucked away in a deep and redeemed place
Lean into it.
Hurt from it.
Grow from it.
One of my suitcases is the church.
This suitcase can be heavy.
The church is a beautiful and broken place.
This place can heal and restore.
It can hurt and turn away.
It's done both for me and those I love.
I've been under the influence of the church my entire life. I was raised in it, I attended it, I volunteered in it, and I now work in it. It's been great, hard, numb, honest and petty.
With church, comes church culture. I think for a long time I struggled to find the difference. If I was influenced in any way, good or bad, by the church, I assumed it was the actual institution of the church that hurt me. Possibly even God that hurt me. But no, it's the people that fill the walls of the building. But we're supposed to love them right?
I'm opening up my suitcase to give you some backstory. To help me remember where I got today. Why the church, locally and as an institution is a deeply rooted passion in my heart.
First item in my suitcase: my childhood church. I grew up Dutch Christian Reformed. It still don't know what that means, or what rules were in place for any number of reasons, but I remember it well. Wooden pews, joys and concerns, whilemena peppermints to help my 10 year old attention span to stay focused on the preacher. I think if I went back to that place, it'd be beautiful. My knowledge of Jesus has grown, so I know that there is beauty to be experienced, even in the darkest of places. But for a while, my old church was associated with half my family wanting nothing to do Jesus or His Church. I think in some ways, it's still responsible. But I also understand that there is never really one starting point for people leaving the church, just a series of events that add up. Heck, I doubt and question and I'm surrounded by beautiful representations of Christ and I work at a church I love. I can't imagine encountering the latter, and still wanting to be a part of the Church, let alone follow this Jesus that apparently dwells there.
Second item: The church and singles. Man, man oh man. The pressure that is on those of us who are single to find a sole-mate, the perfect one at that, is very present. It takes a lot of different forms, an underlying tradition, your family christmas parties, weird pressure between singles who work together. I thought for a long time that I had to wait to be complete, empowered, and be fully alive as a human being until I met a man who could help make me all of those things. Now listen carefully, I think marriage is an amazing gift. I think it's absolutely beautiful, and I do hope to experience it one day. My point here is that there should never be a pressure on anyone who finds themselves single to wait to start living and growing themselves until marriage. On that note, there should never be pressure to move on the the next stage of life, wherever it may be (marriage, kids, promotions...). If I had kept believing that lie, I would find myself thinking "well, this is good for now, until I get married". Seriously, that's what I would have thought. I'm still trying to figure out why this item is in my "baggage with the church" suitcase. Maybe it's because I've experienced it the most frequently in Christian environments? Or maybe I've been taught since a young age that marriage is what I should strive for. Everything else falls to the wayside. So imagine my distraught when it was marriage that fell to the wayside, and I found myself single.
Third Item: The church and hot button issues. You name it: politics, gay marriage, transgender bathrooms, gender roles within the church and society. And maybe I'll clarify here, it's more people who are Christ-followers and how they respond to these topics. First, you better know someone personally who struggles with these issues before you have an opinion. Because let me tell you, it's a lot harder to just swallow what scripture says when there's a face on the other side of an "issue". And I wonder if that's the point. Jesus saw people, not their struggles when He looked at them. Yes, He called them out of it, but FIRST it was love. Jesus can call people out because He's Jesus. You, however, should pray a whole lot before following that lead.
So why wrestle and struggle with the church? Why stay if it's been a place and sometime source of baggage in my day to day? In scripture, Jesus calls out Simon, and changes his name to Peter. He said on the front end, that it was on Peter He would build His church. If you've read any scripture at all in the gospels, Peter was a disciple that doubted, had arrogant tendencies, denied Jesus, and grappled hard with the concept of total faith and trust in Jesus. THAT is who Jesus builds his church upon. People who do not have their "stuff" together. And yes, He builds it on those people who live and look differently than you too.
My unending challenge to myself is to fight for the church. I think it's my challenge from Jesus too. And that plays out in many ways: not just reading scripture that makes me feel good inside, but reading the verses that challenge me. The ones that are twisted to prove a point. The ones that are used to disqualify people. Once those people are identified, seek them out. SEE. LISTEN, and LOVE those people first, no matter our differences. It means being uncomfortable. It means letting my baggage be redeemed, and using it for good. It means assuming the best in people. It means being kind to those that destroy you with their words and criticisms. It means supporting the church I serve and work in. It means supporting the local churches in our community instead of buying into the ins and outs of church culture and gossip.
“I don't want to be swallowed by the darkness. Nor do I want to be blinded by the beautiful facade. No, I want to be part of a people who see the darkness, know it's real, and then, then, then, light a candle anyway. And hold that candle up against the wind and pass along our light wherever it's needed from our own homes to the halls of legislation to the church pulpit to the kitchens of the world.”
― Sarah Bessey
“You learn how to love by being loved.”
― Sarah Bessey, Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women
I never thought that at 26, I'd be single, working in ministry, and a feminist. I never thought my relationship with God would be one of doubt, hard questions, and uncomfortable peace. I never thought I'd develop a heart for women to know the deep worth, and incredible strength that we've been given. I never thought that I would be growing into I'm called to be without a man by my side.
This journey of "never thoughts" becoming reality has brought me to feminism. Feminism isn't a glass box for a specific type of women, or a certain life style. In fact, feminism, in it's truest form, shatters that flimsy box. It is defined by a women who has the courage to simply be herself. A passionate force who knows their worth, who refuses to hold back based on "gender norms" and old, tired traditions. Who choses to empower the women around her, instead of tear them down based on differences. To be the best you in the space you're given: at home, in your marriage, with your kids, being single, at work, the gym, in your relationships, in ministry, in any season of life. To bridge and fight for the gap that exists in gender equality. To raise awareness and lead the charge in rescuing and restoring women from the the brutal rape and torture they encounter just for being a born female. To bring value to girls and boys in education in third world. To lead both genders without holding back, fully aware of the differences between us, but embracing them and letting them unify instead of seperate.
I thought long and hard about adding the label "feminist" to my heart. Because if I call myself that, I want to embody it, heart and soul. With my words, my actions, my faith.
It was interesting to have this encounter with feminism and work in ministry. I put a lot of pressure on myself and others around me in my beginning stages of this journey. I began digesting and breaking down the guidelines that I work in and around. Guidelines that are healthy and necessary for men and women working together in the church. I became frustrated with those guidelines, and personalized them. "Why don't they trust me?", I thought. "Why do I have to suffer for other's mistakes?" I quickly found that, though I was/am able to roll with the punches and joke around, jokes about women were not funny anymore. I became insecure in my relationships, and picked apart every comment that could potentially be sexist from my male co-workers, teammates, friends and family. I forgot how to assume the best in people, men and women, that disagreed with me.
I'm so so thankful I encountered Jesus while reading scripture, and two different books that helped me sort out my hurt, and move it into healthy passion.
"Jesus Feminist"- Sarah Bessey (http://sarahbessey.com/jesus-feminist/)
"Gifted To Lead" -Nancy Beach (http://www.nancylbeach.com/books/)
These authors invited me into a tough space: being able to express hurt in a healthy way, and put new guidelines in place that respect both parties. Many tears were shed as I tried to understand how to love others well, and embrace a God-given passion for women(aka, being a feminist). I quickly discovered having a passion for something means encountering injustice, big or small. I needed to be able to surrender it, process through it, and address it with others.
I think the heart of my hurt and insecrity came from this: female leadership in the church has not always been welcomed with open arms, and sadly, it is still that way in some churches today. That's frustrating to me. I fully believe men and women were created and intended to work together, in a beautiful cycle of submission, and appreciation to and for one another.
As I find my footing, I've discovered this: it is necessary for me to be a feminist as a female leader in the church. Notice I said "for me", not "EVERY FEMALE IN THE CHURCH NEEDS TO BE A FEMINIST TO LEAD WELL". I did not say that, so quit thinking it. I am the most effective as a human being when I live out my true identity in Jesus. That identity is knowing I'm fully loved, short-comings and all. My whole life is devoted to loving Jesus, and as a result, loving and empowering others. To not live or lead out of a place of fear or second-guessing, but to be boldly myself, embracing the unique parts of me that are different from everyone else. To step confidently into my gifting without pride or insecurity getting in the way. I believe that is when Jesus uses me, and I get to actually SEE the ways He's working.
Yes, we will now discuss "the verse" in scripture that says women should be silent int the church. I'll tell you honestly that's a hard one for me to digest, and wrestle with. It's off-putting, and defeating in a lot of ways. Let's not forget all the "well-meaing" believers that have shoved it down mine and other's throats(that is, and probably will be a whole different blog post). I know what the verse says. My struggle is that is so contradictory to the God I know and love. The one that affirms and uses me in my leadership position in the church and in my daily walk.
So what if this was the case: what if we sifted through scripture with Jesus and invited Him into the spaces of confusion and tension? What if we looked deeper into the interactions with women and Jesus? I don't believe scripture was written to just be learned and memorized. I believe it comes alive when we wrestle with it, and invite Jesus into the spaces that don't make sense. It's meant to draw us closer to God, not push us further from it. It's meant to help, not hurt.
My challenge to myself, and to you is to lean in to what makes you uncomfortable. That "thing" that makes your heart hurt, that keeps you up at night, that makes you angry...it may just be the "thing" God wants to develop in you, and use for His Kingdom. For me, that was, and still is women and their role in God's church and the world. And that lead me to feminism. It is a beautiful space of being uncomfortable, angry, empowered, and driven. I pray you'll lean into your "thing" and discover meaning and purpose that you can throw every part of your being into.
“I saw how Jesus didn’t treat women any differently than men, and I liked that. We weren’t too precious for words, dainty like fine china. We received no free pass or delicate worries about our ability to understand or contribute or work. Women were not too sweet or weak for the conviction of the Holy Spirit, or too manipulative and prone to jealousy, insecurity, and deception to push back the kingdom of darkness.”
― Sarah Bessey, Jesus Feminist
Social media has been bugging me lately.
Christians on social media have been bugging me lately.
Let me preface this by saying, I am stepping onto a soap box. I'm not going to apologize about it either. I feel the need to express the following when it comes to following Jesus and navigating social media:
--Spend more time with Jesus alone. Just you and Him.
--There is a person on the other end of the inter webs. On the other end of that status you disagree with, there is a heart that Jesus loves. He loves them, just like He loves you.
--So you disagree with a status someone posted. Perhaps they had a status that included #lovewins, or #ilovenickleback. Stop searching scripture to quote that one verse (which makes no sense taken in or out of context to someone who doesn't have a relationship with God) on a status you disagree with. Instead, ask them to coffee. Meet them where they are. Have a conversation. Hear about their heart.
--If you are going to post about Jesus and what He says, please have a relationship with Him. Don't misrepresent the heart of Christ. Above all, Jesus is a pathway to grace. Remember that LOVE and GRACE that brought you to Him? Others need that too. In true form.
--Take a step back. Ask yourself if your status/comment/post is helpful. Are you honoring the Jesus that you know? I'm fully aware I'm getting all WWJD up in here, but I believe it's important. What you say can be taken out of context, and you could misrepresent the very God that you love and have flung your life into.
I'm not trying to preach, just hoping to add a fresh perspective to navigating social media and loving Jesus at the same time.
Thanks for reading, friends.
What is it about someone being disappointed in you that cuts so much deeper than any other emotion? Sure we get angry and sad, but that's usually the first stage of what's to come. When you're disappointed with someone, it's because you know they could do better, and be better. They seem to be settling for less, because it's easier.
I have a point, I promise.
Lately, I've being running around to every living being, and maybe even inanimate object to find worth. Like, please someone tell me that I'm doing okay. I put huge expectations on my friends that they are unaware of--they need to tell me every second that I'm awesome, and I'm doing everything right. But the second they don't, I get angry.
"Do they even want to be my friend? Do they even like me? Do they even think I'm talented or a capable human being in general?"
These are my real thoughts, people. I may seem crazy, but I know that you can relate.
Last Thursday, I was in a yelling match with God in my car after a great rehearsal for the weekend(which I should be thankful for, right?!?). I talked myself in circles, wallowing in self-pity and doubt. After about 10 minutes of me spewing about how others let me down, I heard that still, small Voice.
It said: "But what do I think of you? Who do I say you are?
There it was.
I had been so frustrated with myself, because I knew I was relying on others heavily to tell me my worth. I was running around, trying to please everyone. I was searching in every single place for affirmation, when I should have been still. Listening for God's voice, because it flows Truth into every part of my life. I know this, and yet I still choose to search elsewhere.
I fall into the lie that God is disappointed in me daily. I'm terrified that God will tell me that I could've been better. After all, He never ceases to give me His best. If He gives His best, I want to be the best steward of that, but man I fall short in so many ways.
Let's dig a little deeper into why I believe that lie.
It all comes back to not being able to comprehend God's love for me. Sure, for the world and others, but right now--His love for me. The Love that endures my worst, and celebrates my best. His Love that doesn't change or shift based on my performance. Nothing I could do could make Him second guess His sacrifice for my heart. He already knows the paths, and decisions I've made/will make, and His love remains true. His love is there to fall into. The grace that's wrapped around His love for me to experience and stumble in.
I don't understand it, guys. But because of that love, I choose to walk above the lies I've been living in. God is not disappointed in me, He's proud of me. Regardless of shortcomings, and choices I've made--His love remains true.
I challenge you to let that Love in. Walk in it. Struggle in it.
Experience how it pushes you to outside of yourself, but at the same time helps you know who He's created You to be.
One year ago I took a part-time position in Creative Arts at Granger Community Church.
I began as an intern, and was immediately welcomed into a creative world with a hilarious and talented team. It was intimidating to say the least.
But, the year kept rolling on, and I kept learning. Stumbling through frustrations and triumphs. Ugly, selfish parts of my heart surfaced, and God continually kept molding them to His. All the while, I was falling back into a sea of grace from my team members--seriously, these guys&gals are incredible. Every failure was seen as an opportunity for growth, and no one lingered on my "failures".
I'm sitting here with my coffee, and tunes, reflecting on the past year in the church world, and how God has molded my heart.
I'm wired for the Creative. I always have been. It wasn't until I stepped into this church 7-some years ago that I thought excellent art could have a home in the Church. It didn't think it was possible to be pointed to Jesus through a seemingly "secular" song, or through kick-butt production elements.
Boy, was I wrong.
God quickly addressed, and dismissed that mindset. I got involved, and I was hooked. Plus is was a killer way to build up my theatre resume, and get more practice as a vocalist. All along, I felt a tugging at my heart that maybe, just maybe, this could be a venue I could invest my life in. Heart, soul, career, passion. It could all find a home here.
Then this ridiculous voices kicked in:
"Working in a church is settling"
"You won't grow creatively here. It's just a box you'd get stuck in"
I listened to those voices for a long time. Working in a church was a good backup plan, but I'll go do something meaningful and cool with the earlier part of my life.
Of course, God came in with a swift kick in the face.
"What if I want to use you to keep art in the church excellent? What If I want to use you to help guide people back Home through incredible, real, vulnerable art?"
Man, am I glad I heard God's voice. I can't begin to tell you how much I've grown spiritually, emotionally, creatively, intellectually...the list goes on and on (and I don't know any more big words).
I guess my point here is to tell you that God uses the seemingly "ordinary" to do the extraordinary. To build up your heart to His in unexpected ways. If you're following Him, you're never settling--He will use everything to help grow you. And you may just find a deeply rooted passion along the way.
Happy New Year friends.