A sampling, a snippet, a story...
For those of you who wonder what I actually DO all day long :)
It is 1:00 on a Wednesday afternoon as I sit in Starbucks on campus, slowly absorbing the smell of coffee into my clothing and hair - an unfortunate byproduct of my surroundings that is the plague of those who have no official office, but instead borrow tables at local coffee shops to hold meetings and answer e-mail. Today, I am meeting Sarah (name has been changed), and I must admit that I'm a little nervous. I've noticed over the past few weeks that she has been keeping me at arm's length - faithfully showing up to our weekly one-on-one discipleship/mentoring times, but always finding a way to avoid answering the harder questions that I'm asking about her life and relationship with God.
I know what's really going on. She's fallen in some way, messed up in her walk with God, and like all of us at one time or another, has believed the lie that she is now somehow unworthy of the love of Christ. Has believed the worse lie that she was ever worthy of His love in the first place, as if she had earned it somehow, rather than it being the free gift that it is.
Isn't it strange? We can study the Bible and talk theology all day long, but it's always the simple things, the basics of the faith that we forget. Like how we need the grace of Jesus just as much today as the first time we realized our sin and need for it. How it's just as undeserved today as it was then, and continues to be a free gift. How easily we forget that Jesus came to free us from shame, to take our failure on Himself and cover our sin with His perfection, not expect us to be perfect now that we have accepted His grace.
We are meant to live in the light of freedom, not the darkness of shame.
But Sarah is hiding in shame. And it's affecting her relationships, not just with me, but with the other girls in the Bible study that I lead. I've noticed, and so have they, how she has been pulling away from the fellowship that they share; avoiding spending time with them.
And the Lord has told me that it's about time I addressed this business rather than let her keep hiding in the darkness and the shame. He had reminded me that I'm her spiritual leader, that He has given me the role of shepherding her at this point in her life, and I'd better consider what is best for her more than I consider the uncomfortable situation that confronting her might create. (I hate it when He does that - it makes ME uncomfortable!)
So Sarah shows up, and we start to talk, and wouldn't you know - before I can even get the words out of my mouth, she's telling me that God has been convicting her about all of this! We proceed to have an incredible conversation and dig deeply into her heart and life and all that God is doing through it all.
And I'm left in awe and wonder at how God is so good, and so faithful - to give me a job that is incredible, with a front-row view of how He is working in the lives of others. Yet also to humble me and remind me that He invites me to partner with Him in His work, but He is the One who is truly accomplishing everything. I'm like a kid going to work with Dad; tagging along, not really helping, probably making it more difficult most of the time, but He brings me because He loves me, and wants me to be there with Him.