I have a confession. Last fall Darren and I talked about leaving our church. A few things made us feel like that might be a possibility - we didn't like the series we were on, I didn't really care for the study I was doing in my small group, the friends we hang out with often go to different churches, our friends are pastors at other churches, etc. There wasn't anything big or crazy that happened, there was just something pulling at my heart saying maybe this isn't where we need to be. So we prayed about it. Quietly. But dog-gonnit, I prayed every day Jesus would make it clear to me. And He did.
Hear my prayer, LORD, listen to my cry for help. Psalm 39:12
Sometime in October or November, our pastor called me to ask Darren and I to lead a young couples social group for the church. Say whaaaat? He picked us? Out of the whole church. Are you sure? No, we weren't the only couple on the list but we were on it. He wanted us to lead. Jesus was calling us to lead.
Maybe some of you are born leaders (my husband is) but I am not. I don't like attention. I hate speaking in front of groups even when I want to. (You know that saying, "Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes"? It is so me.) I broke out in hives at our wedding, not because I was nervous to marry Darren or because I got stung by a bee. TWICE. Up my dress. But because there were a lot of people there. Looking at me. Listening to me. That scares me.
We felt good about staying at High Pointe. I even felt relief. There's something peaceful about Jesus saying, "No, child. You are right where I need you to be."
When my small group starting a new study this last January, I was still feeling a little frustrated. I LOVE that entire group of women, do not misunderstand. But the study was not enough. After our meetings on Friday, I was still hungry. After church on Sunday, I was still hungry. I needed more and I was blaming it on other people. "Pastor Kevin isn't feeding me enough!" "This study isn't enough!" "This series isn't enough" "Maybe this church isn't enough?"
What I realized is it's not up to other people to fill me with the Holy Spirit. Yes, pastors and leaders can be great influences and teachers and they are very important. But at the end of the day, it's my relationship with Jesus that is the foundation for my life. Not my church attendance. Not the sermon I heard or the Bible study I read. Me. It is my responsibility to seek God with my whole heart, every day. No one can do that for me.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13
I needed to learn to self-feed. So I did. I prayed more than ever. I read the Bible more than ever. I searched God's Word for what He wanted me to hear. There I was; listening. That's the thing about learning to spiritually feed yourself. It's like every time I open God's word there is a message written just for me.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24
Come June, I had finished reading the entire New Testament (I could read it over and over) and my small group leader approached me about starting my own group. Crazy. So now I plan to. I'm not saying my voice won't shake. Or I won't break out in hives. Or that I have all the answers. But I know where to find them. And I'll search and dig and read and pray until I am full; until my thirst has been quenched.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations. Matthew 28:19