Truth Behind the Facade

I am not sure when it happened or why it happened, but it happened. Somewhere along the way I lost myself, and even though it feels like it has been forever, I feel like I am getting her back. I have made some decisions in my life that have taken me down not necessarily the most destructive path but most definitely not the RIGHT path. Reasons for taking those paths have varied from fear of everything including failure and standing alone to a misguided notion that a woman’s only place in ministry was beside a husband.

Perhaps I should back up and let you in on a little secret about me. First, I have been a Christian since I was very young, and it’s not one of those stories where you think you are “saved” but you really aren’t. At a very young age, I understood that I was a sinner and that Christ is real and His love is real. As I got older, I wanted a date to dispel the doubts that plagued me – so in high school, on July 20, 2000 to be exact, I got a date. However, when I look back to when I truly accepted Christ and He intervened in my life I automatically go back to me as a very young girl kneeling at the altar of Mount Vernon Congregational Methodist Church as my mother led me in prayer. I remember meeting with the pastor because I was so young they wanted to make sure I understood as much as a young girl could about exactly what I was doing. Okay so now that you know that part, there is also something else you should know.

For almost as long as I have been a Christian I have also known that I am different and my life was to serve some specific task. The pastor of my church called it this past Sunday a “holy dissatisfaction” – an unshakable unrest due to the knowledge that there is this task and unless you are actively in pursuit of its accomplishment you simply cannot live with yourself. I know this feeling all too well, and I must say it is as miserable as it sounds if you are not doing what you are called. That’s right, I know there is a calling on my life – something I am supposed to do with this life I have been given. There I said it, I have been called to ministry. I don’t really know what that looks like for me, and the last time I really shared this with anyone my confidante told me to wait until I was married and my ministry would be whatever my husband’s area of ministry was. At first I was angry and defiant, but then I realized that going through ministry alone was not something I really wanted to do. (I am not saying that I was right in my thinking whatsoever.) So, I took her advice and I have been sort of waiting for that person while in the meantime, I am dying inside. Overtime, I became quite adept at faking it because evidently my idea of ministry was completely wrong. I kind of felt as though the real me was stuck behind a brick wall kicking and screaming while some sci-fi, more socially acceptable, puppet version of me lived the public form of life. The scary thing is that throughout this entire process I have been growing more and more distant with God and my relationship with Him until very recently when I simply said that if I am to be content with Him, I asked that He pursue me and woo me. Can I tell you, that He did just that – in the midst of me moving away from Him, putting up walls, rebelling against Him, He loved me enough to pursue me? Looking back, He has been pursuing me all along.

So I somewhat chased a little rabbit wit that last bit, but suffice to say that I have found the old me. I am still trying to dismiss the façade, but that is taking some time as it was a very well-built façade. So now you know – I have been called to ministry and I am still in the educative process as to what that will look like exactly. I know that we as believers are all called to share our story of how Christ intervened in our lives and how His love has changed the world, but as to something more than that – yeah, still working on that. Also, the advice about waiting to do ministry until I got married might have worked if I were not 27 and single. I don’t really know what the propellers of this “ministry=marriage” theory do with women who are called and single. I mean do they sit on the bench until marriage – “sorry ma’am, no ministry for you until billy bob proposes!” That just doesn’t sit well with me or even make sense to me.

The weirdest thing that has come out of all this is the fact that through getting to know the character and person of Christ, I have rediscovered who I really am – the person He made to be. So in finding myself again, there are some things I would like to share:

1. Please don’t lie to me – Two things that I find utterly disgusting are lying and hypocrisy. I know that I am not perfect, and these two qualities are two that I can’t stand to see in myself. This post is pretty much my attempt to regain truth and authenticity in who I am.

2. I love smart comedy – anything that makes me think and laugh rocks my world. An audience is as intelligent as you allow them to be, and conversely stupid comedy bores me. Yeah not a big fan of Will Ferrel movies.

3. I am a reasonably intelligent human being who just so happens to have a voice of a five year old; however, that doesn’t mean you may speak to me as though I am a child or stupid. I am neither.

4. Whatever I do, I am passionate about – I love acting and I think it can be used in a worship setting. Also, I love history and I love knowing the historical aspects of the Bible. It makes it come alive to me. When did it become cool not to be passionate about what you love?

5. I don’t care if you disagree with, don’t like, or have a problem with anything written in the above paragraphs.


We Learn and We Love

I am an inherently good student, and please don’t think this is me bragging because I have a point to this I promise. Anyway, school comes very natural to me, and I have never really had to study very much. My mom used to tell me that I could have been Valedictorian if I would have brought home a book during high school. Even when I got my masters, I could make A’s and B’s without reading the material. A fact which I know really aggravated one of my professors.

So when it came time to choose a major, I chose education and because I love history I made it Social Science Education. I was good at absorbing information, so I thought I would stick to what I know and become a teacher. After having several not so good history teachers, I decided I wanted to be the antithesis of the boring, memorize facts, lecture-note-test kind of teacher. That was so incredibly boring to me, and to this day I like to be challenged in my thinking. I would rather you disagree with me completely and have a good discussion than you just sit there and have no opinion whatsoever.

So even though I am a good student in a classroom when it means learning about someone else’s story, I am stubborn to a fault when it comes to learning a lesson in my own personal life. Recently, I have seen that God has had to somewhat knock the obstinacy out of me. If you don’t get anything else out of my ramblings, please get this – this lesson hurts and avoid if at all possible. Stubbornness can be a positive character trait when it leads to perseverance; however, when it means that you are holding onto the last fragments of control when everything around you including the Savior of the world is commanding you to let go, it is just an obnoxious quality.

So where does this leave me? I am back at the drawing board in a completely familiar posture learning several unfamiliar lessons. Let me explain what I mean by all of this. The familiar posture is that of a student – I am a student of God, seeking His presence and guidance in hope of finding my path. With two degrees in Social Science Education, you may be thinking that I already know my path. However, I am not so sure because with all logical thinking, I should be teaching now, but I am not. Perhaps, I am not supposed to be a teacher or perhaps I am not supposed to be a teacher right now or perhaps I have been looking in the wrong places. Nevertheless, you can see why I am seeking guidance.

BUT GOD has been teaching me so much more than that. (Another one of those “but God” moments) I have been reminded of just how sweet being in The Word is and how sweet His presence can be. One thing that I love about studying the Word of God is that it is challenging and intriguing to me. One thing that makes history so interesting to me is learning someone’s story and how things in the past relate to that person’s story. The Bible is so full and rich with relationships and people’s stories and how God intervenes in those stories.

I have been re-reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan, and I once again blown away by how this simple idea of LOVE has completely rocked our world for the past two thousand years. Maybe I am just a little slow to comprehend some things or maybe I had gotten away from this need to truly know God and have a relationship with Him, but this idea of everything boiling down to love has really rocked my world. I had always heard that God wants a relationship with me and that He loves me, but hearing that and witnessing that are two completely different things. The motto or creed of our church is to love God and love people, and for a long time I thought it could not be really that simple. However, I am convinced that it is that simple. We love God by loving the very creation He died for, and in doing so, we become more and more like Him. In loving others, we draw closer to and fall more in love with Him. For me, being confronted with the kind of love He has for me even in my messed up, sinful, rebellious, confused, and just unattractive state makes it so much easier to look for good in my fellow messed up human beings and love them.

I hope these ramblings make some sense to you, and I will leave you with this –

“This is my commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends, if you do what I command you.” ~ Romans 15:12-13