that’s a fairly good word to describe the initial effects of the 1 project on my life. no, no one was pointing fingers at me but almost every talk had me on the verge of tears and somewhat defeatedly asking, “how am i supposed to make this better?”
i experienced the seattle gathering through a job lense. i work with college students, attempting to connect them to Jesus and often finding myself at a high level of discontent. i know i’m not their saviour–i’ve gotten over that complex. i do, however, see the need to shift how i work to better impact each student for the glory of God. and when i showed up in seattle, i knew that i wasn’t impacting as well as i could.
before you suppose that i’m actually speaking from an “i want to be their saviour” lense, listen to the following–> i know i struggle with wanting to create perfect systems. i know that. but i’ve actually grown a bit in the few years i’ve been at this job and i’ve realized that while i need to change my thought patterns, i also need to change my praxis and the current mechanics of my job can do with a change and must do with a change in order for me, my assistant, and the students we serve to be better impacted for the glory of God. trust me on this. this is so far beyond the perfectionist’s usual tale of woe.
seattle was an opportunity that i believe i made the most of because of how i arrived:
i intentionally packed one book (radical
) to read on the plane ride over–and i read quite a bit.
>it got my mind processing the costly nature of following Christ and how that plays out in my life…or doesn’t.
i planned ahead of time to find time to purchase a new pair of shoes and toss the ones i had on that were simply beyond their expiration date and not at all helping my knee pain.
>the last thing i needed to be thinking about was discomfort. i wanted & needed to be comfortable so that i could focus and be fully present.
i knew i needed a shift in the way i work and i simply trusted that i’d hear God speak during the 2-day gathering.
>there’s something about knowing you’re going to talk about Jesus that has you believing you’ll hear from him, too.
i looked forward to experiencing spiritual food with my husband–a growing time for us as a couple.
>we do a lot together but often aren’t able to simply be present.
i determined not to make it a meeting trip. i knew a few of the attendees were ppl i needed to catch up with regarding various work-related things and i often do so much better with face-to-face interaction.
>but i wanted no part in that. not this trip. this wasn’t about ironing out policies or finalizing plans for upcoming events. this was about being present to the voice of God.
the way you come to a space determines, to a great extent, how you’ll experience that space. by the grace of God, i arrived open, i experience renewal, and i left filled…but not a superficial type of filled.
it was a filling that clearer understanding yields. and i want to unpack that understanding further. i didn’t leave with tools; this gathering wasn’t prescriptive for me. so i don’t have a list of 7 campus ministry tricks that will help my students see Christ more clearly. and trust me, that’s the last thing i need. and even though i left with a few great books in tow, i haven’t yet read them to know who in my sphere of influence needs to read them. you know how that is. “oh, so-and-so needs to hear this hot rebuke. should i fb a link? nah, s/he probably won’t buy it. i could just give my copy. but s/he’ll see my comments and think i’m trying to send a subtle hint. we’ll see. i’ll pray about it…”
no, i just came away with one thing and that one thing is for me. wanna hear it?
i want to sit at the feet of Jesus for so long that my gut reaction is Jesus.
that’s all. b/c a lot of our problems as a church, as people, are based on our inability to have gut reactions that are Holy Spirit bathed. it’s one thing to be able to map out strategic plans (which i love!) and spend hours planning for a Bible study (which is ideal!). but so much of life is lived at gut level. it’s the grocery store moments, the elevator moments, the potential road-rage moments, the random question moments–the stuff you never could have planned enough for but is currently in your face and demands a reaction. now.
the way your eyebrows move, the placement of your hands, your (lack of) eye contact, and every single word…matter. and that’s fine…if we’ve been with Jesus.
i’ve seen mess play out in my own life, mess that could have been avoided had i been sitting at Jesus’ feet. and i’m not even talking about morning devotions. i’m talking about a life of worship. our gut reactions are based on our worship. our gut reactions are often based on our hurts, stuff we haven’t properly processed or haven’t touched at all. how can we possibly live and/or lead well when the broken stuff that could have been fixed is still broken? and while i don’t believe God’s asking us to be perfect vessels, he does want us to be changed by his presence but first we have to be in his presence and then we have to admit to the problems his presence reveals. and then we have to do something about them. but if we don’t, we build and maintain systems, based on our hurts, that only cause more pain.
that’s got to stop.
this doesn’t mean i won’t continue working on a strategic plan. in fact, i believe that plan will be better informed by the time i spend with Christ. i won’t stop thinking about long-term issues & solutions. no. the knowledge of my gut reality helps me on every level of my job…and beyond my job. it informs work & play. it informs my home life. it informs how i spend my day off. it has a wonderfully holistic ripple effect.
i desire to sit with Jesus and allow all he reveals about himself to transform my thinking & devotion and heal my hurts…in time…so that i can give others a clearer picture of him (even when i’m still hurt) and not simply a clearer picture of me (which is sometimes the only byproduct of what we call “being transparent”).
so just to recap, the 1 project helped me see this:
when life punches me in the gut, i want to be able to say, “thank you, Jesus,” and mean it.