My friend Steve-O and I were having a conversation the other day: actually, I was pouring out my conundrum-filled heart and seeking counsel. See, next Sunday thereís two good things going on – a couple hundred miles apart. And I want to be at both because Iím asserting my right as an American to Want It All. But No One has granted my deepest desire as a mother to be able to split into two. And that same slacker No One hasnít figured out affordable teleportation yet. So: state of conundrum.
My wise friend asked a question (heís good about asking questions rather than pronouncing judgments): was I making a choice out of fear or out of love? Many times choices in ministry are made out of fear rather than a God-placed compassion:
- What if all the young adults leave?!! Letís make a program to lure them back in!
- What if people stop tithing?!! Letís do a guilt-laden sermon on how to spend money!
- What if another church offers a program or ministry we donít have, and then folks attend there instead of here? Weíd better offer it, too, even though we have no resources and are totally strapped as it is!
- What if people question if weíre Quaker-enough or Emerging-enough or Evangelical-enough or Post-modern-enough or Conservative-enough or Community-oriented-enough or Socially-active-enough or . . . ? Weíd better throw something together right quick!
I find myself doing that with parenting as well. I wonder if Judah should be watching more PBS kids so that he can absorb the bi-lingual programs, or maybe he shouldnít watch tv at all because tv is bad. Did he nurse long enough? What if I cut him off too soon and he grows up with a detachment disorder? Am I giving him enough protein? What if he doesnít like to eat veggies? Will he eat bagels and string cheese for the rest of his life? What if I donít have Baby Einstein playing in the background while weíre going over shapes and doing baby yoga? Oh, it can be so overwhelming.
But what if I make parenting decisions moving out of a place of love? I love Judah, and I love seeing his excitement when he learns new things: letís play with shapes together. I love seeing how much Judah is enamored when a good song comes on the radio: letís have some music playing for him to enjoy. I love seeing him feeling and acting well: Iíll feed him what keeps him on an even-keel and keeps our relationship healthy (which doesnít happen when I try to shovel food down his throat that he doesnít like – yes, he protests a bit).
And what would that look like if I was part of the Church thatís grounded in Godís love and moved from there, from what His call rather than my panic that I might miss out on something? Just because itís a good thing doesnít mean that Iím called to do it: sometimes I have to say ìnoî (see the above ìwishes not grantedî for reasons why). Do I want to move out of the panic of fear, or the peace of love?
So Iíve come to peace with my options for next Sunday thanks to wise words from my friend Steve-O (although itís rather interesting that Iím going to the thing that *heíll* be at and that he wanted me to come to . . . hmmmm . . . . ). ðŸ™‚