So I'm doing this internship at church.
I decided last summer to do it because I wanted to be purposeful about growth - and about being pushed out of my comfort zone - and to challenge myself. I felt like I'd had time to heal from the amazing opportunity caring for Tejan had brought to us. I was ready to put myself out there a bit.
Now, you should know, most of the interns are college aged. I'm by far the old lady on the team. And while the intern program is really designed to help kids find their niche in terms of ministry, I knew I wasn't there to 'figure out' what God wanted me to do with my life. I'm pretty sure He wants me to love my husband and continue raising my kids... so I'm not dealing with the same issues most of the interns are wrestling with.
However, the past month or so, God has really stripped me bare in terms of who I am and what ministry looks like. And I'm struggling.
In January, we had the amazing opportunity, as a group, to immerse ourselves into the heart of Spokane. For about 30 hours, we fasted, walking the streets of Spokane, visiting different ministries that serve the downtrodden and poor in our community. It was an amazing experience. A tiny little bit of perspective on what it must be like to live on the streets... no resources... stripped down to the bare minimum that it takes to survive. I was thrilled to see how well Spokane takes care of it's poor, and humbled to be able to serve alongside these incredible ministries for a brief period of time.
Afterwards, I vowed to never drive past a homeless person with the same absent minded dismissal I'd adopted in the past. Now I look at their faces. And I recognize some of them. By name even. And I've prayed for them.
But in reality, I went back to my comfortable house and I struggle with the deep divide in the 36 city blocks that separate me from them. I wrestle with how easy it is to be completely removed from the reality they face each and every day.
Now, in February, we've been reading a book by Alan Hirsch called The Forgotten Ways Handbook. Alan is a friend of our church's founding pastor, and I had the opportunity to hear him speak last fall. And now I've been reading this book...
I hate this book.
Because it pushes me WAY out of my comfort zone and it uses big, stupid words and it makes me feel archaic and old and completely irrelevant.
Last week at our intern meeting I went on a rant about really wanting to find 'my chapter' in the book... the one that would resonate with me and make me say "Oh! Now I see where I fit in!!!"
Last night I finished the book and had a great big messy cry with Asia because there is no chapter for me.
The book is basically about church planting and how the traditional, institutionalized church will never meet the needs of people in our post modern world.
Which I agree with.
But I also find myself struggling with the tension between what I'm comfortable with, what's worked for me in the past and what I know needs to change...
I really don't see myself at all in the Alan Hirsch model.
And so I feel outcast and irrelevant.
And I'm really struggling to know what in the world God wants from me.
It makes me want to just hole up in my house and pour all my energy into being a good mom and a good wife and never think about ministry outside of these four walls.
And it makes me REALLY nostalgic for my time with Tejan - where I knew I was doing exactly what God wanted me to do in a ministry that utilized my gifts and abilities to their full potential. I was really good at being Tejan's mom. I was called to that. And it was a perfect fit.
But I haven't really found a perfect fit since then.
And that sucks.
Especially in a church where the vision and calling of those around me is modeled after Alan Hirsch's church planting, apostolic, rapidly multiplying, organic, free form Jesus loving, Jesus sharing life-on-life extravaganza... where everything is relational and loosey goosey and non-institutionalized and exhausting...
Exhausting because it doesn't feel like me... like who God has created me to be.
And maybe I'm just being terribly self-centered.
Or maybe I'm just a loser.
So I'm struggling.
Because I don't see myself fitting in. Or maybe I don't understand it completely.
It sucks because I feel like I'm in this no-man's land.
I don't desire the institutionalized religious church. But I also don't know where I fit into the future of the church.
I understand the vision and the value of relational ministry... but I suck at relationships.
I understand the importance of multiplication... but I am a fiercely loyal person who needs intimacy that cannot happen in rapidly mulitplying, organically free flowing and always changing models.
So today I will focus on what I know I'm called to do.
Today I will clean my bathrooms and wash the laundry and do my job.
Because it's safe and I know exactly what's expected of me.
I apologize if I haven't explained myself well in this self indulgent rant...
I just needed to get it out there because it's eating away at me.
And so there it is.
I suppose it's exactly what I signed up for.
So I'll walk through it...
And I guess as long as you're reading, I'll take you along with me.
Wish I could tell you where we're headed...
...but not today.