Not too long ago, Wendy and I decided to take a selfie to show our support for a cause. Now, neither of us are really good at taking pictures, much less pictures of ourselves. I am not sure exactly how many it took…and we were never satisfied with any of them…but we ultimately decided on one. The decision was more out of exhaustion than satisfaction. Thankfully we didn’t have to go with the first one, though.
There are many times in life when I wish I had a retake…a re-do…a “let me try that one more time and no one know about the other times I failed” We might not have said what we said in the way we said it…we might not have done what we did…we might have acted differently if we had thought it through…
And that is what this journey is all about. What might it look like… We don’t always get it right but if we don’t dig deep into what we are doing, will we ever get it right? If we don’t examine where we are…if we are not critical about how we do what we do…if we don’t really take the time to see why we do what we do and why we don’t do other things…if we don’t truly seek what is in our hearts and our intentions…then nothing will ever change. And our goal is not to change other people…but to change ourselves…for nothing is ever different if we just point fingers at others and never look in the mirror. This journey is about taking a difficult look at who we are and who we are not. It is about seeking God and finding him in the most unexpected places and most unexpected people. It is about getting out of our “we’ve always done it that way” mindset to see why we do it that way. It is ultimately about being more like Christ.
So, what how might that first step look differently? In Blog 2 (the first step), I talked about how difficult it is to take the first step…and how taking the first step, even when I am “like” everyone else there, is still uncomfortable…and why we don’t want anyone to break our natural rhythms… But what if we had a re-take? What if we try again…what changes do I need to make in order for this to change? What needs to change in BRAD? How can we begin to change the landscape of our worship and open our hearts to become welcoming?
In the first step retake…I look deep into my heart and ask myself why I feel the way that I do about others. Rather than asking people to meet my standards, what might it look like to live by the standards Jesus set…you know, the love God, love others part? Why do we feel the need to point out visitors and why is it that we only want to sit next to people ‘like us’? What are we missing or what is our hindrance to truly become welcoming? In my own evaluation…there is an underlying fear. It really comes down to fear. If things are not as they have always been…if there are people not like me…if things don’t flow like I want them to…then what? And that is scary… I’ll continue to look at this fear as we journey.
What is holding you back? What is it that is deep within? If you had the opportunity for a retake, what would change for you?
Disclaimer of the day: I want to reiterate that this journey is not about the church I serve or any I have served or been a part. This is about a journey I am on, not just as a minister, but as a follower of Jesus. I want to dig deeper into what it might look like to truly be welcoming…and I want to change. I am grateful for those that are on this journey with me…to seek how we all might change…and to begin to see things differently. I am not asking for everyone to agree with me or to think like me. I am asking for you to honestly evaluate you. May we grow together.