Okay so first of all, to my blogging friends, don't even try to figure out my blogging patterns, because even I can't figure them out. It's like once every few months, I just feel a blog coming on, so...I write! But I can't figure out the method to my journalistic madness..either way, here goes...
I served as the assistant youth minister at Harpeth Community Church for six school years. The youth at HCC are true family...as close as blood brothers/sisters. Honestly, I feel like they might as well be my own children. I have gone through every level of experience with many of them. I have cried with them (and for them), laughed until I couldn't breathe, hurt for them, tried to protect them, been overwhelmed with pride over them, wanted Jesus so badly for them, and have loved them in a way that I truly - TRULY - never knew was possible. They made my heart so full.
That being said, this has likely been one of the hands-down hardest things I've ever done. Thing is, I knew it was going to be hard. I was trying to prepare myself for it...thinking that might make it easier. But it was harder than I even thought it was going to be. It's amazing how those kids and that ministry have become such a massive part of me. It was as if (and I know this sounds a little dramatic but it is, nevertheless, true) there was this part of me that was actually dying.
This leads me to my point (...yes, I'm getting there). I have realized over the past few weeks how, no matter how many times I teach and preach on this topic, I tend to place my identity and my worth in what I do and in what people think about me. To some extent, I don't know how this can totally be avoided. But for how many times I have tried to drill this idea into the heads and hearts of the teen girls with whom I've worked, you'd think I would have this thing conquered! (I know....funny)
I realized that I've been in this youth ministry for six years and I started to wonder if I even was going to know myself outside of ministry. My identity had become "youth minister", "big sister", "mentor", the "go-to girl for problems"....I was used to being needed and valued and sought out...and now, that identity was about to be stripped. Thankfully, I anticipated this identity crisis coming, and I'm thankful that God gave me the heads up on it; otherwise, I might be having a real freak-out right about now.
I took the "Strengths Finder" test a few months ago and it told me that my #1 strength was "Achiever"...which was totally - and somewhat annoyingly - not a surprise to me. I'm one of those people that always has to be doing and achieving and performing. Yes, this can be a strength. And yes, I have to constantly keep it in check lest it become a big problem. One of the problems that can result from this "need to achieve" is that my identity and my worth tend to be tied to my achievements. Therefore, if I'm not achieving, my sense of worth begins to drop. (Side note: A dear friend of mine, Monique Zackery, wrote an awesome post on this very topic...check it out here)
Problem is, I do not know what is next for me. I have some ideas, some dreams, a little direction, but I don't know specifically where I will be or what I will be doing one year - or even 6 months - from now. This is hard for me. Because one season has ended, but it's like the next one hasn't begun yet. And this "achiever" really needs to be "achieving", so it's driving me crazy to not have the next thing in my life ready and waiting on me to perform!
BUT...I believe and I know that God has been telling me, "not yet". It's the weirdest thing. I so rarely feel like I'm hearing super specific things from Him, but this one is so specific and clear. He wants me to wait. He wants me to be still. He wants this "achiever" to stop achieving for a little while. He wants to remind me of who I am - not because of anything I can do - but because of who He is and what He has created in me. He wants to remind me of the greatest gain - HIM. Nothing I do or achieve, no ministry, no external (or even internal) blessing, no relationship, nothing is of more infinite worth than Him. "Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you."
So I feel like He's just inviting me into this season where it just gets to be me and Him. A season to be rejuvenated and reminded of the One necessary thing in my life. A season of preparation. I don't know what's next but I do believe that whatever is coming is way, way "bigger" than me. So I think He knows that this season of being still and of allowing Him to pour into my heart and my soul is absolutely vital for whatever is next.
I'm excited. I'm so looking forward to putting aside my "Martha" tendencies and be a "Mary" - to just sit at His feet. The "achiever" in me may be wrestling with this season (however long it will be...), but the Spirit in me is saying, "No, this is good. This is necessary. This will be LIFE giving. Treasure this season. Be still and know..."