Being Humbled… Oh So Humbled…

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A lot of things have changed since the last time I logged into WordPress.  I grew up a little bit, moved to a city where I (once again) didn’t know anyone, started a new job, got an apartment, rented a house, got married… It’s been a crazy couple years.

I think something that I continue to learn over and over again is that I am not nearly as cool as I like to think I am. I am a brushstroke in a painting, an eighth note in a concerto, a pixel in a photo, a “the” in a great speech.  I am not nearly as important as I sometimes mistakenly let myself believe, but I am part of something important.

I am beginning to more consistently recognize the beauty that lies in the fact that I am part of an incredible work of art.  I am not the most significant piece, and the communities that I am a part of and lead collectively only make up a piece of this artistic endeavor.  But, we are part of it.

I forget this sometimes…  But I continue to be reminded of it as I wake up day to day with a woman who’s needs I long to place far above my own, and as I talk with the students I work with and long to celebrate them and help them see larger truths, and as I consistently drop the ball, disappoint people, and fail in my own standards.  I am human, I am flawed, I am imperfect, I am prideful, I am not enough…

And yet, God is.

I am making my way towards humility… I’m not as far along as I should be or would like to be, but I am certain that I am being molded and shaped into a being worth being…

I just wish it wasn’t so uncomfortable…

The Lone Ranger vs. The Justice League

I have often vainly felt that I have a bit in common with the Lone Ranger.  Not the mask, horse, or BA-“ness”, but the sense that I could come into a community as a hero, change it for the good, then quietly bow out leaving the community “rid of evil” and all the better because of my incredible awesomeness.

In my current context my boss (http://www.natestratman.com) frequently says, “All of us here are interim staff youth workers.”  I tend to hear some of my Lone Ranger mentality celebrated in that.  However this is not quite what Nate is getting at.  He means that as a staff youth worker I will be in my current setting for a limited time and should be investing in, equipping, and celebrating the ministry volunteers that have been around and will be around for the long haul.

In past settings I have carried this silent burden of being THE Hero and tried to live into that.  In actuality I need to be thinking more like a part of the “Justice League.”

The Justice league is composed of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and other assorted superheroes.  I am not the only “hero” at the table.  Each of these people brings something different and makes the others at the table stronger.

Now of course the metaphor breaks down, but the idea is that I am not the only “valuable” person at the table.  In every community there are people who are already at work doing great things, or have excellent ideas but need help implementing them.  These are people who will likely be around for a long time and are deeply invested in the community.

My prayer right now is that I can grow in my ability to think as a member of a League of Local Leaders who are working hard to make impacts that last beyond one personality.

Reverence, Curiosity, and Magellan

I just started reading the Message version of the Bible for the first time.  I know I’m a bit behind the times, but I’ve been very committed to reading “”“real””” (please note the sarcastic super-quotes) interpretations of scripture and am just now seeing the value in Eugene Peterson’s approach.

I was reading Luke 8 where Jesus casts the demons into the pigs and came across the phrase “It was a holy moment, and for a short time they were more reverent than curious.”

I thought this was a really interesting statement and it got me thinking that curiosity sometimes goes right along with reverence.

Reverence is a deep feeling of respect/veneration/awe.   I think that some of that includes a deep curiosity and sense of mystery.  I can hardly understand a fraction of who God is and why God acts in certain ways and this contributes to my respect of the Lord.

I have always thought it would be amazing to live at the time of the great explorers like Magellan, Lewis & Clark, and Columbus.  The unknown was physically right in front of them and they thrived on the mystery and danger associated with being trailblazers.  While that would be cool, one thing for me to remember is that the mystery of the Lord of Israel is so much deeper and richer than anything I could imagine.

So my prayer right now is that I would begin to embrace the mystery of God and would express reverence rather than frustration when I encounter His mystery.

Taylor Swift on Beauty

Tim Schmover of http://www.studentministry.org/ posted this video and invited discussion on it on his blog a few weeks ago. I really liked this and figured I would throw down a few thoughts here.

I really like this idea at 39min 31sec. The idea that sincerity is beauty… Or living into the fullness of who you are is what makes you beautiful.

I had never really thought about this. I definitely get caught up in shallow measures of beauty and I need to start looking a bit deeper.

I also know that I fail at this. I am often paralyzed by self-consciousness, cynicism, and fear. Too often I allow a façade to take charge rather than my sincere self.

This thought has been echoed by my boss http://www.natestratman.com as he has recently been saying things like: “When you don’t live into the fullness of who you are, you are robbing the Kingdom of who God created you to be.”

My prayer right now is that Taylor Swift would think I am beautiful :), also that I can fully live into the person that God has created me to be…

Quotes pt 2

Most of these are from Willow Creek’s Global Leadership Summit last month…

 

“I can only receive someone on the level that I perceive them.”  ~Steven Furtick

“If the vision you have isn’t intimidating to you, there is a good chance that it is insulting to God.”
~Steven Furtick

“We feel insecure because we’re comparing our ‘behind-the-scenes’ with someone elses’ highlight reel.”
~Steven Furtick

“There is no map for being an artist.”  ~Godin

“We can’t do something about everything, but we can do something about something.”  ~Salter McNeil

“Each of us is born an original, but sadly most people die a copy”.  ~Abraham Lincoln

“Just because the tide is out doesn’t mean there is less water”.  ~Seth Godin

“To be elegant comes from inside.”  ~Maggi Gobran

“In silence you leave many to be with the One.”  ~Maggi Gobran

“The most believable person in the world is the person who has your best interests at heart.” ~John Dickson

 

Some Quotes I’ve Been Sitting On

“The Church must be a place where a few somebodies and mostly nobodies feel safe, no matter how unsafe it is outside the Church.”   ~Mike Yaconelli

“The spiritual authority of Jesus is an authority not found in a position or a title, but in a towel.” ~Foster

“A Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who is not.”  ~Spurgeon

“Trials are the crucible in which our character is purified.”  ~Wilkes

“This world will never take God seriously until the Church does first.” ~Mark Moore

“What God needs from us is not moral perfection, but a persistent, tenacious faith.  That when we get knocked up we will GET BACK UP!”  ~Mark Moore

“Character is who a man is alone in the dark.”  ~D.L. Moody

“What unites Christians should be far more significant than what divides them.”

“God needs our weakness more than He needs our strength.”

“Play for the name on the front of the jersey, not the one on the back.”

“It’s awfully difficult to lead a calvary charge if you think you look funny on a horse.”

“To reach the people that no one else is reaching, we must be doing things that no one else is doing.”

“The last part of a man to convert is his wallet.”  ~Luther

“… Desperation that would fuel either depression or intercession.” ~McManus