Just a LITTLE talk with Jesus

SuccessfulRetreatPlanning1-630x420I am at a visioning retreat for my church and so the focus should be my church, right?  Wrong.  It turns out that my scheduled little talk with Jesus that was apart of today’s program has turned my life upside down or perhaps, right side up.  I just don’t want to talk about my calling and especially not with Jesus.  So, can we please just talk about my church and the transformation that God wants to bring to our members and the communities where we live and serve?  And why can’t I just talk about race?  Okay.  Enough stalling.

I am presently serving as the associate pastor at my church and that is good enough for me.  I would be content to serve alongside the pastor but oh no, God just want let me be comfortable.  The word associate is like a security blanket and soon it will be taken away and I will be left alone with the word pastor.

Calling.  It is not the calling that we wrestle with.  We know what we heard.  Instead, it is the answer.  Did God call me?  Was God talking to me?  Why would God be talking to me?  Why would God call me… here?

We also wrestle with our history.  We just don’t see how our steps could lead to this place.  For some of us, even our present can be a stumbling block.  The calling can make us question God’s ability to see all things.  Do you not see who I am, where I am, what I am doing right now, God?  Can this wait?  Why now?

Most, if not all, fight the calling of God: “Is it I, Lord?  No, You don’t want to send me.”   For women in particular, we can fight with Paul, argue with church leadership and refuse to talk to or about certain Scriptures.  The calling can cause some of our relationships to struggle: parents, children, even spouses.

All these facts make it difficult to talk about.  But, there is a battle even more personal: our selves.  We fight with ourselves concerning what we heard.  And it’s not that we don’t want to hear it; instead, that we don’t want to believe it.  It’s not about ability or desire but belief.  “Are you serious?”  At least, that’s my story.

For the past few days, we have engaged in familiar spiritual practices: silence, solitude, journaling, lectio divina, scripture reading.  This afternoon, I was introduced to one that I was not familiar with: colloquy.  It means conversation and we were asked to have a conversation with Jesus.  It was another form of prayer and it seemed easy enough.

I pray all of the time.  How hard could this be?  How different would this be?  Clearly, I had no idea.  If I had, I would not have said a word.  Nevertheless, here’s what I wrote during my colloquy with Jesus.

ME: “What are You doing?”

JESUS: “You’ll see.  Just keep looking.”

ME: “Why are You doing this?”

JESUS: “You’ll see.  Just keep looking.”

ME: “Why me?”

JESUS: “You’ll see.  Just keep looking.”

ME: “It’s my eyes, right?”

JESUS: “Yes.  They need to be fixed.  Fixed  on Me.  Just keep looking at Me.”

ME: “There is so much that I don’t understand.  I want to walk away but I cannot look away.”

JESUS: “Yes. It’s all in the eyes– not mine but yours.  You can walk this out if you fix your eyes on Me.”

ME: “It’s already happening, isn’t it?  I’m already out of the boat.  Why couldn’t I just stay in the boat?”

JESUS: “Because you were looking at Me.”

ME: “Things are so uncertain and I don’t know if I can walk here.”

JESUS: “Keep looking at Me.  Focus your faith, put your faith, put your eyes, your vision in Me.”

ME: “But, I don’t trust myself.  I’m not trained for this.  I am alone.  No one has followed me.  What am I doing out here?  Who do you think I am?”

JESUS: “You are following Me.  You will not lead others to follow you.  You will lead others to follow Me.  Don’t see you; see Me.  And who do you think I am?”

ME: “I’m so tired, Lord.  My eyes are so tired.  My head is dropping; I’m sinking.”

JESUS: “Just keep looking at Me and take My hand.  Let your eyes match Mine.  Reflect what you see in Me… and walk.”

So, I had the little talk and I survived.  I lived to tell the story and so will you so… get to talking to Jesus about your calling.

 

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