Sometimes I worry that you're getting tired of it.
Sometimes, I actually picture you out there saying, "Oh, for pity's sake, it's been TWO AND A HALF YEARS! GET OVER IT!"
And other times, I remember that I am (sadly, sadly, sadly) not alone.
Some of you are struggling too.
And sharing struggles as well as victories is part of being real and authentic- and though I'm just as tired as you are of hearing those hashtag phrases, there's a reason that they've become so popular in churches these days.
hint: possibly because there's been WAY too much fake perfection going on, and it's simply doing more harm than good. Being #real or #authentic is better than being #sickandtiredandburntoutfrompretendingallthetime
So, anyhoo, in the interest of full disclosure, I share with you this:
When a person goes from being a church staff member, a ministry leader, a very connected part of a church body for 18 years to a new church where literally 2 people know your name.... well, that's the making of what "they" call a rough transition, my friends. Making all new connections is hard work when you're not eight years old anymore. Especially when you can't really want to.
Truth be told, we did this kind of on purpose. We needed a place where we could blend in and chill out and, frankly, heal. Nobody asking me for more dirt on the scandal, nobody trynna pressure us into ministry too soon, nobody asking us to take sides. Nobody to disappoint. Nobody to disappoint us. We chose a large-ish church in a far-ish location, and we hid out for a little while and enjoyed our zero-risk-for-heartbreak membership. (I should mention here that in addition to anonymity, the church also offered fantastic Bible teaching, heartfelt worship, and very darling, welcoming people.)
It wasn't long before I found myself circling an ad in the bulletin. The listing mentioned that the church was looking for people who would be willing to do some copy editing. Though I had given myself permission to take a year off of ministry, I felt compelled to move. I was excited to use my red pen addiction for God's glory. Plus, if you want to know the really real truth... I liked the idea that I found a loophole! I could serve in the church without really getting to know anyone at all! Whoo hooo! I could be helpful AND anonymous! No interpersonal connections, FTW!
So, that's what I did- and have been doing for a while now. It's been lovely. And kind of fun. And safe.
Imagine my utter
I wrestled with the idea of not going. But then I got to thinking... the simple fact is that when you're part of a family, there is a certain amount of vulnerability there. And you miss out on the whole point when you come home and go in your room and shut the door in self-protection. You miss out on the responsibility and risk, yes, but you also rob yourself of all the benefits of being part of a family. And that's just dumb.
At some point, you've got to stop worrying about protecting yourself, and let God do what He does best.
So, I went. I sucked it up buttercup, put on my big girl chonies, and I got in my car and drove way-the-hay out to my far away church and spent a couple of hours with my church family.
And you know what?
I had a really good time.
I met some really neat people. I got to hear some really great vision casting. I geeked out about grammar with others. I enjoyed good food and thoughtful decorations. I was reminded about the true heart of servant leadership.
And I didn't die.
Instead, I took another step toward being a healthy person who can actually be a part of a church family again.
Will these people disappoint me, too?
Will I disappoint these people?
Will my heart get broken again?
Will it be worth it?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.6
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT