I walked out of Grabill Missionary Church Sunday night. It was my last time in the building as a staff member. We’ll be back as attenders in a couple weeks. I resigned from the staff, not the relationships or the community. (And I’ll talk more about some of what’s next soon.)
As I walked into the building Sunday morning, as I have most of the last eight years, I thought about the things on my project list that had never gotten done. And I thought, “It’s not my problem now.” But then I realized that most of those things never had been my problem.
Some of you will have no idea what I mean with what I’m about to say. But some of you will. I’m talking to – and for – you.
I worried as if they had been my problems, as if the subtle shifts in the walls were my responsibility somehow. But I realized today that often, I was concerned with what people thought about how I was responding. I mean, I often knew what to do, or not to do. I often knew a good approach. But I was concerned about measuring up, about whether others would think this was the right response.
And that worry was all in my heart. And my imagination.
I thought last week that I would tell my 25-year-old self to worry less. I realized that I would still marry Nancy, still work in higher ed and in church, still live where we lived. But I would spend less energy on worry and more on celebration and affirmation. I would look at situations less as problems and more as opportunities to learn about God and myself and my relationships. I would coach better, laugh more.
And I would remember that I’m so grateful for the last eight years. Of Nancy and I sharing life with a remarkable community of coworkers who are friends, a small group who has become community, a group of men who challenged my study to deepen, and a God who invited us out to Grabill, and now to a place we don’t yet know.
It never was my problem. It’s been God’s all along.
I’m also grateful that I’ll be walking through Lent with a bunch of people who purchased Lent for Non-Lent People last month. It’s available in paperback and for Kindle (for just 99 cents).
Sign up to get occasional emails during Lent: Lent Mail
And Lent starts with Ash Wednesday on February 10.