I’m not going to lie. I haven’t been in the writing mood much over the past few months (as you can see from my lack of posts). The reason? I’m not sure. I mean, it’s not like there hasn’t been a handful of important and/or memorable events to write about. From Christmas, concerts, a great trip to Boston with Caleb, playing roadie for an all-women country music showcase, the loss of someone close to my family, the wedding of one of my close friends, a car wreck, and accepting a new job, you’d think I’d find inspiration somewhere! It just didn’t hit…until this morning.
As I hinted at above, I recently accepted a new job. I start on Monday, and I am super excited for the new opportunity at hand (I’ll be doing outreach marketing for a local hospital). The only thing that weighs in the back of my mind is the exit I have to make from working at a place I love so much – Watermark Community Church. Over the past year-and-a-half, I have experienced so much life change from just being a part of the staff team there. It’s hard to imagine not going there every day of the week.
I remember walking through the doors on day one so uncertain of what my time here would look like. With training in various aspects of college ministry and marketing, I knew that Watermark would be a positive experience, but I had NO idea how that positivity would develop. You see, in the summer of 2010 (when I came on staff), I was still deeply struggling with obsessive thoughts toward exercise, and the desire to restrict my food intake to control the way I felt about myself. Not only that, but during my first six months there, I struggled with the deepest season of insecurity I had faced since high school.
I was miserable, and I wanted out.
Through these things, and a few others, I realized that there were many areas in my heart that the Lord needed to work on, and I was learning for the first time ever that thinking I could fix myself was not only arrogant, but also fruitless. My white-knuckled efforts only landed me in the same spot I had been the week, month or year before. Leaning into Christ was the only way I could go. Exposing the lies I had believed to myself, confessing them to the Lord and to others, and then running to the truth in scripture to combat them was the only thing I could do. I am forever grateful for this lesson. It has reshaped the way I see sanctification and the type of effort I should have in it.
I also realized that when you’re stuck on yourself – trying to fix yourself and focusing on what others think of you instead of the acceptance you have in Christ as a believer – you miss out on the amazing opportunity to love others. The Lord performed heart surgery on me by tackling the areas in my life that he wanted to transform and, because of it, I was freed up to deeply enjoy the people I interacted with from day to day.
At Watermark, I work in something everyone calls the MEGA Cube (the MEGA, for short). The MEGA is giant cube that consists of six smaller cubes housing all of the Community and Connecting Admins – and it’s pretty much THE place to be! Over the past couple of years, the personalities within the cube have changed, but the friendships in it have persevered. From Crystal to Tucker, Dana to Erin, Amanda, Lauren and me, the laughter is abundant, and the discussions are both intentional and entertaining. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t laugh really hard – and there are several memories that play out in my head on a regular basis that I hope to never forget: Volunteer-shoe-fix-it day with Dana, the Balloon War with Amanda, Winagetasung, creating a fake email account and emailing my boss asking random questions….the list goes on. I will truly miss the people this cube holds. I’ll miss Lauren’s gentleness and her ability to tune-in and work through the chaos going on around her. I’ll miss Tucker’s ability to talk about anything for a really long time and her knowledge of random deep-Southern traditions. Erin’s smile and concern for others makes each day a little brighter, and if you don’t know my friend Crystal, you should because she’s smarter than the smartest person you know and she uses the best metaphors while telling stories. Man, I’ll really miss Amanda’s ability to turn any topic into something exciting and the way that Dana sees, understands, and meets people right where they are. I can already tell this transition is going to be harder than I thought…
If there’s one thing I’ve learned here, it’s that people and the relationships we have with them are quite possibly the greatest gift the Lord gives us on earth.
“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything” (1 John 3:18 – 20).
Make the most of the friendships you have. Learn how to love well. Watch how Christ is committed to you, and commit to loving others. Step outside of the rules you try to keep and the things you wish you could change about yourself, and focus on the fact that he’s made you to be you – not anyone else. If you know Christ and the payment he paid on the cross for your sins, if your head knowledge of this payment and the grace he gives outside of your own merit or effort transfers to your heart, then please believe Him when he says you’re fully loved and fully accepted. It changes the way you see things.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38&39).