Arizona 2019

This is the trip I look forward to. The 41 hour bus ride from Pennsylvania to Arizona…the 7 days working on the Navajo Reservation in Window Rock, and the 2 days camping in Ouray, Colorado. I love every minute of it.

I am so grateful for these past 11 days. It seems like we’ve been with these students trekking across the country for a year. The number of relationships that were established was so encouraging. Kids who had known each other for years yet never really took the time to get to know each other are now friends.

The students worked hard painting houses, tearing off and putting on a new roof, ripping out what seemed like a never-ending amount of weeds, and learning about Navajo life.

My boyfriend had the opportunity to baptize a student at Molas Pass in Colorado which is where I was saved last year. And another student came to Christ. It was such a God centered trip. God is so good. The come to Jesus moments were beautiful and I am so blessed I was able to be there with the students.

I can’t wait for next year.

Youth Ministry

In July 2018 I began to burnout serving at church. At the time I was the preschool and nursery lead, junior and senior high girls youth leader, part time front desk helper, part time assistant to the communications director, and a menagerie of other things.

In April 2017 I went through a much needed breakup and returned home and returned to the church. In an attempt to justify my actions that happened while I was away from home being a reckless stupid moron…I threw myself into serving at church. I spent every waking second helping at church or thinking about church.

I never sat in the service. Instead I would serve all three services either at the desk, in the children’s ministry classrooms, or the sound booth being the assistant to the communications director. I didn’t fellowship. I didn’t worship. I was working. I was trying to balance the last 5 years of transgressions with burning myself out serving. My heart wasn’t in the right place. My intentions were to say yes to every need.

In July 2018 I was also saved. So I wanted to start sitting in the service. I wanted to start worshiping. I wanted to start pouring all I had into my students at youth group. I wanted to build relationships with fellow Christians. But I was being pulled in so many directions that I started to hate church. My idea that fixing my sins by serving was starting to ruin me. I met with the director of student ministries and told him what was going on. He had me seriously pray about each area I was serving in the church. He told me it wasn’t my responsibility to say yes to everything. That it was okay to say no. And it was not my responsibility how other people would react by me stepping down. And it hit me like a truck…my heart is in student ministry. My heart is with those teens.

So I stepped down from everything else. I still serve 2 times a month in children’s ministry but that’s because I have a heart for those preschoolers. Since then my relationship with God has flourished. My faith has grown stronger. I’m still at church at least 3 times a week, and I’m still meeting outside of church with students, but I’m doing what I love, I’m doing what God wants me to be doing.

My point to all this is you don’t have to say yes to filling a need just because it’s there. Pray about it. Talk to God asking Him where He wants you. It is so easy to burnout and want nothing to do with the church or God by over-serving. It totally is possible to over serve. Trust me.

If you’re burning out – take a look at where you’re serving and what you’re filling your time with. Are you serving just to fill a need? Here’s some daily Christianese for ya: God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.

I would sooner quit my job then leave youth ministry. That’s how serious I am about pouring into those kids.

John 12:26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

1 Peter 4:10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

Auto-Pilot.

au·to·mat·ic pi·lot
ˈˌôdəˈmadik ˈpīlət/
noun
noun: automatic pilot; plural noun: automatic pilots
  1. a device for keeping an aircraft on a set course without the intervention of the pilot.

I was walking through the grocery store today, in a lot of pain, in a hurry, pretty ticked off, probably with a not so nice look on my face, and I thought how terrible would it be for someone from church to see me like this? When I’m in church mode I’m on auto pilot. I laugh. I engage. I smile. I ask the right questions. I nod at the right times. I don’t say the wrong things. I don’t bring up my stance on politics, drugs, guns, or any other controversial topics. I’m just a generic nodding smiley gal with no opinions.

It’s exhausting though. I love when it’s over. I love when I get into my car and can release. Release the tension I have been putting my body through for the last four and a half hours, just let my mind breathe, let my body breathe. It’s such a relief. I’m not an extrovert. I have never claimed to be one, but when you’re in so many ministries you have very little choice on the matter. You are programmed to be bubbly, outgoing, smiley, polite, pleasant. Dare I say fake. Gasp. Yes, fake.

You don’t want to see the real me. No one wants to see the real me. The real me is in pain 24/7, the real me is a serious introvert. The real me doesn’t like hugs. Or people. Or talking. Or trying to remember a thousand names. The real me is impatient and a very deep thinker. The real me has struggles with God. My relationship with Him is really rocky. It’s on the verge of a cliff almost every second of everyday. But I can’t show that. I can’t show the real me. So I will continue to put myself on auto pilot to get through the day in one piece.  But as soon as it’s over and I am in the comfort of my own car I break into a million pieces. I usually sob on my way home and lock myself in my room under the covers because I am so exhausted I cannot do life anymore that day.

If you do happen to see me one of these days in the grocery store in a cranky state, I suggest you keep on walking, for your own sake.

Predicament Continuation

The stress has tripled. The expectations are limitless. I’m at the absolute end of my rope. My rope is currently frayed and to the point of disintegrating into dust. I am frustrated. I am struggling. I am completely overwhelmed. The good thing is I read somewhere that at the end of your rope is the beginning of God’s doorstep. So maybe this is a wake up call to be falling to my knees in His mercy, love, and understanding.

I am finding there is a very fine line between volunteering and being taken advantage of. You are told you can say no without any consequences, you are told it is your right to say no, yet that is rarely the case. Judgement and conversations that leave you feeling like a failure are usual the result of saying no.

vol·un·teer
ˌvälənˈtir/
verb
freely offer to do something.
work for an organization without being paid.
THAT is the definition of volunteering. Volunteering is not being available 24/7 for whomever wants to chat. It’s giving our time, our gifts, our money to something we are passionate about, something we are called to do.
Do not let yourself feel defeated or like a failure. Especially when you are already putting in so much time, effort, and money. You cannot be expected to give every last piece of yourself. It isn’t fair of the leaders to ask that of you. I certainly don’t ask that of my volunteers and I loathe when it’s asked/demanded of me.
God has called you to serve right where you are, He has called you to step out of your comfort zone, He has called you to serve HIM. You are where you are to serve HIM. You are not there to serve the pastor, the church, the ministry, the director, the leader, the staff, you are there to serve the LORD. How awesome is that? We are called to serve the Lord. What an honor. Serve like you’re serving the Lord. Because I know for me, if I continue serving like I’m serving the church I will crumple and burn into a giant explosion of fire. And nobody wants that.