update/musings: [because i don’t usually ramble this much]

As the title indicates, I don’t normally freehand like this or just randomly muse on my day, but today something was on point, and while I’m not of the mind that we should expect to have the same quality of day every day if we can figure out what that one thing is (did you keep up with that sentence?,) I’d like to see what all came together today. That’s to say that, for example, I mowed today, and I don’t expect that every day I mow to be a perfect day. It was a compilation of many things.

In the last 28 or so hours, I’ve seen so many good friends. I started with meeting my neighbor (who I haven’t seen in about three weeks) at my old workplace, and seeing her as well as the many customers I knew from my time there was perfect, not to mention our great conversation. I was able to share my heart about good things and bad things alike, and was able to listen and be listened to. Then this morning I went to meet with my pastor (pops) about our upcoming life group (which I’ll get to momentarily) again at Purdy’s, and again saw a TON of people I know from my time there. I had a guy comment that I just looked really happy, and I couldn’t disagree. Things are well right now – my new job is going better than I’d expected, and I’m relishing the opportunity to be part of a community up in Lexington where the culture is so unique. And as far as the logistics of work – like pay and scheduling – they’re perfect, because I get paid more than at my old job and work less days in the week.

That frees me up for things like life groups (which I promised I’d return to earlier.) I’ve not taken a life group (or small group if you prefer) in something like a year, because I made the choice to focus on school for the last year and sacrificed the community of a small group in the process. I’m itching, thirsting – or whatever figurative verb is appropriate – to be a part of a small group, and I am blessed not only to be leading one, but also to be able to participate in one in a non-leadership capacity. I miss getting involved with other people on a regular basis and a basis in which you don’t exactly have a choice (you kind of do, but at the same time, I’m of the mind that the Holy Spirit in you doesn’t really afford you much of one.) God desires community for His church, and I’m excited to be obeying the call to commune with other believers.

But speaking of leading a life group (this is turning into a ramble,) if you read my last blog post you saw that I was stretched to teach a kid’s class with my co-pastor (current head of children’s ministry) and while it made me uncomfortable, it was okay, and I was forced to rely on the Holy Spirit and not just my own preparation (I believe the two intersect for a successful class.) Well, I’m leading this life group with my spiritual father, who just so happens to be the pastor of the church. My tendency would be to “co-lead,” meaning shrink back, have my name on the contact as a “leader” and let him do all the talking, ask all the questions, and I’ll speak when spoken to. But not so this time around – God was really specific in telling me to take up some responsibility, and when I ran that by pops, he was more than okay with that. It’s a time of stretching for me, realizing that I can be confident in the Holy Spirit and that leading with confidence isn’t a pride thing, but actually quite the contrary: being humble enough to realize that I – despite how much or how little I prepare to lead, teach, preach, etc – have little to no effect on the outcome, and that it’s all about the Holy Spirit inspires and guides our group.

This is stretching for me emotionally as well as mentally, because to be honest, I’m beginning to think I lack empathy. That is, I don’t usually think of what other people will think of, especially not in groups like this. If we read a scripture, what are people going to think of? What’s going to bother people? In what ways will their experiences in life or church dictate their responses? But this is forcing me to prepare for almost anything, and that’s a stretching I need as well as, quite frankly, desire. I’m limited to my own experiences as far as how I think about things, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, I think I’ll be able to anticipate what may come up.

Finally, and speaking of relying on the Holy Spirit (I guess this post has become thematic!) He’s said something to me lately that I’ve yet to figure out, but it goes something like this: there’s a song we’ve sung in worship that contains a line that says, “I know I’m filled to be emptied again, the seed I’ve received I will sow.” That’s a really good way of summing up what God said: Jeff, get ready to be poured out. Honestly, I used to dread hearing that kind of thing, but for some reason my heart is so stirred, and I can’t wait for that! I’m tired of being full, tired of sitting at the table being served while I could be the one filling other people’s glasses (metaphorically speaking, of course, but I suppose it may be literal as well.) I’m ready to see how God will open doors, and what doors He’ll open to let me share what I’ve learned with others, and ready to see how, by grace, He’ll help me do it (because Lord knows I have no idea!)

So if you, like my friend this morning, see me and you wonder why I’m happy, that’s why.

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