I decided to write a blog as a new mission developer for many reasons. One is that I wanted a way to reflect on my experiences as I learn and develop. Another is that I want to share my experiences with others. I suppose this comes partly from being a teacher for so long. Another reason is that I hope we can learn from each other–our joys as well as our challenges.
My previous posts have been about some of the joys I have experienced in my mission and ministry. At the risk of sounding like I’m whining, today’s post is about one of my challenges. Today I feel a lot of stress. To be sure, I have a lot going in my life. I have to move for the third time in less than three years (I’ll save the reasons for that for another post). I still have to do my taxes, and as a pastor for part of the year I don’t think I’ll be able to do them on my own. I want to support my kids, especially my younger son as he gets set to graduate and sets out into the world.
And of course there are parts of ministry that I find stressful. We are new and small. I’m always fearful that no one will show up. I sometimes worry that I will fail. I wonder if I’m cut out for this because there are so many uncertainties, and if there is one thing I like, it is to have some control over outcomes–or at least feel like I am in control. Today I worry about what the future holds, for me personally and for Tapestry.
So I write about this stress today. Because it’s my reality for today even though I know this work is not about me, even though I trust that God is at work in our ministry, even though there are fabulous, faithful people who accompany me on this journey. I write to acknowledge the reality of what I feel and then to remind myself to breathe. I write to remind you, if you are feeling stressed today, to breathe and to remember that God cares for you.
One of my favorite passages from the Bible is from Matthew 6:25-34:
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
This work is work we do together as the people of God in the world. God takes care of us. Today I will just focus on our Leadership Team meeting tonight rather than on the what-ifs of tomorrow. Today I give thanks that our God takes care of all of us, along with the birds of the air and the lilies of the field and the photographers and the butterflies and the mission developers and the people who sometimes get a little stressed. Peace.