No Off Season

bright-seasons-43850I was given the opportunity to serve my home church by being a small group leader for our annual camp that is held for the youth ministry, and this year’s theme was “Gospel Ready”. But what does that mean exactly? Our theme verse this year really embodies what it means to be gospel ready.

“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” – 2 Timothy 4:1-5

Coming into my 3rd year of college, I was nervous. Heck, I’m still nervous. Why, do you ask? Well, I’m part of two organizations on campus, and both organizations are trying out a new structure, figuring out how to gain and retain members, and both have a new leadership team who have lots of great and new ideas. Now, don’t get me wrong…there’s nothing wrong with this at all. It’s just that there’s so much uncertainty in this upcoming year. I’m nervous because I don’t know how this year is going to turn out. I don’t know what it’s going to look like at the end of the year. I don’t know what kind of fruit it’s going to produce. I just don’t know, and that’s what makes me nervous.

I was also nervous because I was already feeling tired, drained, and worn out even before school started. I was scared that I was going to burn out, that I was going to get to stressed, that I wouldn’t have time to rest, that I wouldn’t be able to talk to all the new freshmen, that our structure would fall apart, that people wouldn’t pull their own weight. I was scared. I had so many insecurities and doubts, and I was scared of what the future was going to look like and how everything was going to come into play even though school hadn’t even started yet.

And honestly, there are so many times where I’ve wanted to give up, to stop serving, to stop doing everything because I was tired. Tired of fighting, tired of arguing, tired of feeling misunderstood, tired of feeling like everything I was doing was done in vain, and honestly, a couple of nights ago was one of those times. Leadership is tough, and it’s definitely no walk in the park. But then I’m reminded by my church camp’s theme verse: “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” No matter the stress, no matter the worries, no matter the doubts, no matter the struggles and hardships, there is no off season. I’m called to be a child of God and a faithful servant so that God may use me as a vessel for His kingdom. There is no off season for Christianity, no off season for glorifying God, no off season for living a life like Christ. There just isn’t.

It’s so easy to say “I’m done. I quit. I’m not doing this next year.”, and no matter how many times I tell myself that…I don’t think I can actually follow through with it. You see, I say and think those things, but all of that disappears as soon as I see all the fruit that has been produced producing even more fruit. All of that disappears when I see our members reaching out and loving on the new members with an overflowing love. All of that disappears when I see how our members are stepping out of their comfort zone to make our new members feel comfortable. It just poofs away because what’s replaced instead is joy. God has truly blessed my college ministry, and it is so amazing to see how He is working through our members and through the ministry as well.

Through all of this, it makes me wonder what else God has in stored for me, for the ministry, and for our members. I can worry and doubt and freak out all I want to, but I can only wait until the end when everything will be revealed in His perfect timing. After seeing such a huge turnout for our first core group meeting, I’m confident and at peace in knowing that God’s hand is still working in Epic and that He’s not finished yet. I just have to trust in Him and leave the rest up to God.

Leadership, school, and life may be tough, but I encourage all of you to keep on fighting the good fight. Stay strong and love always. Be gospel ready.

No Off Season

Growing Distrust.

treeI wouldn’t say I’m ignorant, but I am naive about certain things. I do know that I’m overly optimistic which has bit me in the butt countless times, yet I still hold true to that mindset. I’ve also noticed that no matter how naturally broken and messed up we are as human beings, I choose to see the best in people, but I think one of my biggest flaws/blessings is that I’m pretty vulnerable to others which is good because that’s how a lot of friendships have gone from peer to best friend but bad because I can get easily hurt. I think the root of why I am so willing to be vulnerable is because I trust too easily, but whether or not that’s a good thing, I have no idea.

This past year was really tough for me in many ways. Fall semester was spiritually and physically draining, discouraging, and stressful while spring semester was an emotional roller coaster, tugging me in all sorts of directions, testing my limits, all while pushing my boundaries. It was definitely an adventure, and a journey I’m glad I experienced nonetheless. Something I noticed, however, is more often than not this past year, I was disappointed in my fellow officers and leaders of the organizations I’m a part of. Why? Because as an officer and as a leader, we are held to certain expectations and we have responsibilities that we must tend to and fulfill, so when those expectations aren’t met, I find myself getting really frustrated. As a result of this frustration, I find myself not being able to trust my fellow officers and leaders as much as I used to. It’s come to the point where they’ve failed too many times to do what they’re responsible for, that I don’t know if I can trust they will do what they’re supposed to do in the future, and that just makes me really upset.

I find myself having to constantly remind them to do things over and over and over again because they keep forgetting. I find myself earnestly trying to get them to help advertise, yet they never do it. I find myself struggling to raise up their spirits and to bring excitement and hope into their dry and unmotivated minds. I find myself brushing it off like it’s no big deal when in fact, it really is. It is a big deal. The first time they’ve failed to do something, sure, it’s okay. The second time, yeah it’s okay. The third, fourth, and fifth time…it’s still okay. But after a year long of constant reminders, constant forgetfulness, constant pushing…it gets to the point where it’s not okay. Through my past experiences, I’ve noticed I’m naturally pretty forgiving because I’m too understanding, and I show too much grace (like I said in the beginning…whether or not that’s a good thing, you can be the judge of that). However, it comes to a point where too much is too much. It hurts when they say they’re going to do something, and they say they’ll do it but they never do. I trust that they will do it the first time, but they never do it. Even after I send reminders, they still don’t do it, nor do they respond back to me. I know I should show them grace and forgiveness (and I have, countless time!), but I feel disrespected like I’m not taken seriously enough…like I’m just a whisper in the wind that they don’t hear…like I have no voice, no value…like I’m nothing. I feel like they just don’t care. And it hurts. It honestly hurts.

Yeah, yeah, I know that maybe I need to be more understanding, more forgiving, more patient, more something, more anything, but I always feel like I’m the one who always get hurt in these kinds of situation or in all situations, really. Maybe I always get hurt because of my darn big ole heart for people, but can’t I just feel sad and upset and everyone be okay with it for once??? The thing is…I hate feeling this way. I want to work together as a team. I want us to be able to trust each other with what we said we were going to do. I want to know that if no one reminds them, that they’ll get the task done. I want to know that if I don’t remind them, that the task will get done. But how can I be reassured in knowing that things will get done if they haven’t been so many times in the past? I don’t want to do everything myself, but sometimes I feel like I have to because if I don’t, then nothing’s going to happen, nothing’s going to move forward, no one’s going to know what to do. I like to take charge, yes, but only when I know that my teammates are right there with me doing their part of the mission. But right now, I don’t feel like they’re all fully there. I don’t feel like they care or want to, so how can I feel safe in moving forward if I’m not able to trust that they’ll do what they’re supposed to do? I’ve trusted too much in the past, and I know I can be too understanding, but now it’s just too much. I feel like that trust is slowly dwindling away. I feel like I can’t trust them at all.

I just don’t want to be the one who is always reminding them. I don’t want to be the one who’s always taking charge. I don’t want to be the one who has to make sure things are getting done. I have my own things, my own responsibilities, my own stuff that I’m in charge of, that I need to do. It’s just too much for me to do what I need to do and to take care of their stuff as well. I don’t want to be their mother, I don’t want to baby them, I want us to work together as a team, but right now, I feel like I’m just telling them what to do. I don’t want to feel this way. I don’t want to have this distrust and hurt going into this year because I know that’s only going to hinder me from being able to work well with my team, but I don’t want to get hurt or annoyed or frustrated or disappointed that they’ve failed yet again. I don’t know if I can do this anymore…I just can’t.

Now I’ve found myself stuck in this awful place of growing distrust, and I don’t know what to do. Yay.

Growing Distrust.