Thursday, October 19, 2006

Photos on the fridge

I got a missions publication in the mail yesterday from an organization with which some of my friends serve. Though I hadn't seen this particular magazine in a few years, I still had a similar default reaction as I leafed through it. I felt guilty. I used to think I felt guilty because I wasn't orienting my life to follow suit with the people in the pictures and stories. I also thought it might be because for years I bought into the idea that God calls everyone to go and since He didn't really tell me to stay or go, then it would be safe to just say that I am disobedient. I also wondered if the guilt had anything to do with a lack of zeal for the condition of the world, and a general hard-heartedness I possessed. I now don't think it was any of these. I feel guilty because its easier to want to be someone other than yourself. I've always carried with me a buried feeling of not being enough to really make God smile. I found it hard to accept that the things I was good at actually had a place in God's Kingdom. God needed preachers of the gospel, not a gardener or a lover of nature or a guy who could make memorable beer and pesto. I constantly compared myself to people who witnessed better, spoke better, served better, led better, and deceived myself into thinking I needed to be like them. God was happier with my friends in Nepal than He was with me. I admire folks who live cross-culturally with the purpose of helping people find faith. I love their newsletters. I read their blogs. I stick their pictures on my fridge. But slowly I am doing away with the notion that I have to be like them. To do so diminishes their giftedness, their calling, their passion and their unique place in the story.. well as mine.


Strider said...

Hey Watchman! To know us is to really not want to be like us at all. It always cracks me up to go back home and be idolized by so many. My friends and coworkers are some of the most admirable and tremendous people God has ever redeemed and transformed. They are also a bunch of really average sinners. I suspect you are just like them after all.

Blythe Lane said...

Yes, how I understand the "guilt" as well as the feeling of not being "enough to make God smile." Personally I wonder if some of that comes from those in the ministry world defining ministry...kind of a "this is it and what it looks like and you aren't or don't." That was a huge realization in the last years of working for my campus that led me to start helping students figure out what God had in store for them rather than trying to fit (sometimes quite frustratingly) into our ministry mold. It was freeing to help students in that way. Now, I find it's my turn to work through some of those mixed messages, you know? They certainly do run deep.

Watchman said...


yes, they do run deep. now after 25 yrs i am trying to regroup and rethink what i have been handed. thats part of the purpose of this blog. i am thinking "out loud," and am finding that in doing so, others are thinking the same things.