In Rapid Pursuit

When you are a teenager, it’s all about being cool.  It’s about having tons of friends, doing fun things, and meeting new people.  This is when church was TONS of fun!

Yes, I was still forced to go every Sunday, but, somehow, it was OK.

I loved being around all of my friends at church.  I loved that some of them were from a different school.  I loved the trips we took.  I loved the fundraisers we did.  I really can’t think of anything I would have complained about.

Looking back, however. . . where was God?  I mean, we did a “Bible study,” but that definitely was not the focus.  I can’t think of one time we helped someone who was in need.  WELL, let me take that back.  We did help an elderly lady every year at Christmas.

Was this time more about connecting to people?  Was it more about the community?

This is one thing that the church I most recently attended had right!  There is definitely a focus on Christ and an emphasis on helping those that are not as fortunate as you.  Working with the youth, I was challenged to think outside of myself.  I was asked hard questions and given great answers, sometimes.

I loved working with the teenagers.  It felt like the most real connections.  The relationships seemed raw and honest.  And, while I loved it, I quit.  I never felt connected with the adults.  I never felt I was contributing in the best way possible.  I never felt like there was a place that I was needed.

Tonight, however, I found out I was wrong about a few things.  Tonight I reconnected with some of those girls from the youth ministry.  They are in college and turning out to be strong young women in Christ. . . much stronger than me, honestly.  I think I played a small part in that.  I hope so!

I hope that, for those girls, they look back on their teenage years in church and see more than a social event.  I hope the foundation was laid for them to change the world.  I think it was and I believe they will!

Yesterday my niece, Sierra, ran away from home.  I don’t know many details yet, but we found her late last night.

Physically, she’s OK.  Mentally. . .

What must she be thinking?  She must feel so alone and desperate.  She must feel so un-loved.  She must really want attention.

Today I am left with the startling realization that, no matter what the truth is, YOUR reality is all you can see.  She can’t see that we desperately want to help her.  She can’t imagine how horrified we were not knowing where she was for almost 24 hours.  She can’t feel how much we love her.  She doesn’t know how lost we would be without her.

I am a little numb today.  It has been an exhausting weekend.

But, don’t pray for me. 

Pray for Sierra.  Pray that in times that she can’t feel our love, that she  feels God’s love surrounding her.  Pray that she feels God’s protection.  Pray that she begins to realize how awesome she is and how God’s plan for her can be an amazing one.

Just pray!

Get irreverent, get open, and get diverse.

Or get used to never accomplishing anything extraordinary.

 

I read this statement here and loved it.  For me, his post is so true, especially in the church.  People are so afraid of conflict that we sometimes aren’t honest.  And, in the church, we use the whole “we operate under extreme grace” excuse.

Conflict doesn’t have to be ugly.  Disagreements don’t have to be heated arguments.  For me, conflict is merely conversation about something we have differing opinions on.

Why are people so afraid of honest, open communication?  Why are we so afraid to be different?  Why do we hate people who are different from us or who disagree with us?

SHOCKER!  It’s not, however, what you might think it is.

I have a problem with honesty.  That doesn’t mean telling the truth, but being honest about my feelings, letting people inside this wall that I have very effectively built around myself.

Here’s the thing.  I get that I don’t let people in.  I get that I am afraid of relationships.  I get that it’s why I am single.  I get that it’s why I am overweight.

It’s a protection mechanism.

I have given myself away.  I given everything I have.  It has typically backfired in the past.

I don’t want that to be the present or the future!

I am trying really hard to work stuff out now, though, and be honest.  Let you in on my feelings and my reality.

Notice I said MY reality.  It’s real for me.  It’s how I feel.

It sucks to be in this place.  It sucks to want to be part of the solution and feel like you are part of the problem.

My prayer is that God will guide me through this journey and give me strength and wisdom.

I don’t want to build a thicker wall!

I love my job.

No, really, I do!  I love meeting new people.  I love helping people with their needs.  I love hearing about peoples’ lives and even their problems.  And I definitely love the gross stuff!

Then, there is my staff.  They are great.  I have been in practice for 10 years (am I that old?) and have a group now that just clicks.  In fact, we do that so well that, at the mention of hiring someone else, everyone cringes at the thought of getting someone we won’t get along with.  Because of that, we are still all pitching in to take over the duties of a receptionist.

They work hard.  It ain’t easy!

All that being said, some days it is not what it’s cracked up to be.

My one full-time employee is getting ready to have a baby. . . ANY DAY!  My hygienist that works 3 days a week has been out with a back problem since before Christmas and I am not sure when she will be able to come back.  The hygienist that works one day a week worked this week, but was on the verge of getting sick all day.

DO THE MATH PEOPLE!  That leaves ME!

I don’t know what kind of message God is trying to send me these days.  Sometimes it seems it would be easier to work at McDonald’s.  Nobody complains there. . . right?!?

I love when people challenge me.  I love when people make me think.

Boy, did that happen yesterday.

I was at work and a couple of friends stopped by.  Our discussion quickly turned to all that is going on in my life and the struggles I am going through.  That’s when it happened.  He asked that big question. . .

“Do you think this could be a faith issue on your part?  Do you have faith that God can fix the problems?  Are you hearing Satan’s voice and letting him win?”

I have asked myself these questions a million times.  It would be a lot easier if God would just send me a burning bush or something.  So far, though, no fires.

So, I wrestled all night.  Maybe I don’t have faith.

Here’s what I know.  I do believe that God is in control.  I do believe that anything is possible with God.  I do believe that God has a huge plan for my life.

Here’s the question.  Even if you believe that God can handle anything and fix any situation, according to his plan, how long do you stick around in all the chaos and confusion before you remove yourself?  Do you stick it out at all costs, knowing that God has his hands in it?

I don’t know those answers.  That’s what I am trying to figure out.  I just know that I had to get out of the game before I never wanted to get back in it.

This sucks!

When you are little you don’t have much choice.

My parents dressed us up in our Sunday best and took us to church every weekend.  We were the perfect family if you had no idea the fights we got into trying to get dressed and ready.

At that time, though, I didn’t mind.  I loved going to church.

You get there and there is a class full of kids your age with a teacher who is way too old to sit on the floor with you but tries anyways.  I always loved her for that.

There was a story on the felt board, a craft, singing, and candy at the end if you were good.

What’s not to like about that, huh?

Here’s the question.  Wouldn’t it be nice if someone would explain to you the story you just saw in primary colors of felt?  Wouldn’t it be great to know that Jesus really does love you. . . it’s not just the words to a song that you have to sing for the grown-ups next month?  Wouldn’t it be awesome to know that, even if you don’t get that candy, Jesus is still there?

Yea, for me, church was all about the fun, the felt, the candy.  It wasn’t about God.  But, is it for anyone that age?