I was given a moment of pause the other day after a small emotional-work victory. You know those types of victories. The ones that offer you some sense of completion and show both yourself and others that you are, in fact, doing your job. At work we have been struggling to get people involved in the neighborhoods in which they live. Not surprising given the modern desire for anonymity. But the folks holding the purse strings are really hoping for better results, and truth be told, so am I. There is simply little value in cultivating the environment at hand to maintain its unique qualities and character.
Anyway, I get out of this meeting (which, in proper fashion, I took over and directed) and I feel good about our progress. We not only had good ideas, but they were assigned to individuals to actually follow them through. Good stuff, small victories. I started thinking about my small group and God convicted me. I often try and run my group like a technical advisory committee meeting. It’s certainly easier to do it that way, and in a sense, there are similarities in urging people onward. But they are not the same.
I have been in meetings off and on for decades, and my patented blend of iconoclasm and humor have served me well in these contexts. I’d get things done, and pull off a minor miracle or two – thus perpetuating the form. It hit my heart, that this is what I’ve been trying to do in my small group…and not actively. This programmatic way of proceeding is just so ingrained that I was there without effort or awareness. So for this I repent.
In this same week I had been more connected (struggles and fun) with both old friends and pals from my small group throughout the week through a series of lunch meetings and emails. I have resigned myself to eating out often – and I justify the “extra expense” as part of my single guy toolkit. The email connection is simply part of the age – not unlike the cell phone I have that I was never going to purchase unless a ski park opened up in hell.
These connections throughout my week made it difficult to ignore the degree to which I was working at swapping hats between people groups…often leaving residue from the old hat in place, and not quite settling in with one good hat (that would be an odd metaphor for Jesus) – consistency in belief and action. What a trip...more to follow...