On Friday morning it finally happened. Austin’s summer heat collapsed under the weight of clear skies and cool(er) temperatures. October and March, offer Austin the kind of weather that explains why us locals are willing to endure horrific summers and pathetic winters. On Friday, all across the city people wrapped that weather around them and headed to Zilker park and listen to glorious music wash over them at ACL Festival. And instead of running to join them, I got in my car and drove to ‘work’. (Well, my version of work – speaking at a retreat.)
I recently did an interview for a girl who is considering going into ministry. One of the questions she asked me was what do you wish you’d known about working for a church? And the answer that came to mind was: I’d wish I’d known that coming on staff has a way of making some peoples’ grace dissolve.
I think back to the girl I was when I first started in full time ministry. Mid-20’s. Eager and arrogant. Absolutely oblivious to the ways that her personality, mistakes, weaknesses and sins were going to hurt people. Oblivious to the punches she was going to take because of her personality, mistakes, weaknesses and sins.
I’m not a mom, so, stop me if I’m wrong, but I’m guessing that maybe sometimes it’s hard to see changing diapers as discipleship.
I work for a church. I run a program that develops women. I have weekly appointments to counsel women and I teach classes about the gospel. It’s easy for me to see ‘discipleship’ stamped on my day.
But what is discipleship, really? It’s meeting someone where they are and helping them conform more fully to the truths of God revealed in Christ. And if that’s true, there are some crazy things you should know about the human brain that might change how you view diaper changing.
Let’s start with a nice friendly neighborhood warning:
“Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house, to set his nest on high, to be safe from the reach of harm! (Habakkuk 2:9 ESV)
Habakkuk is talking about the Chaldeans who have established security in their lives and their families lives building ‘houses’ that they think will keep them safe from the reach of harm.
God calls this evil for two reasons.
First, because of how they gained their safety. They have established their security by ‘cutting off many peoples’, by shaming others, by the blood of man.
Maybe it’s my age, or maybe it’s my sanctification, or maybe it’s the end of the freaking world (here’s hoping), but whatever the case: suffering is in the water.
And all around me I hear confusion. Confusion about the marriage of tears and faith. Confusion about the intersection of pain and trust. Confusion about the gray area between grief and the Gospel.
Most of my generation cannot cope with the discomfort of ‘negative’ emotions. We’ve been bubble wrapped from unpleasant feelings and as a result, we have no tolerance for them. We fix them any way we know how.