Thursday, April 24, 2008

Turtle On A Half Shell....

I have always described myself as a turtle. A recovery turtle. Simply said, that means that I usually move slowly. Make changes slowly. Make decisions painfully slowly. I usually know which way I am headed and the goal in sight but I just take a while to ‘get there’. I am steady and purposeful in my steps. I rarely falter in my steps and I never seem to change direction. I will however stop and rest. Make a pit stop and evaluate. I have been sitting at a pit stop for a time. Not spinning my recovery wheels or anything like that…just evaluating where it is that I am headed. I often will take a look back over my turtle shell and see where I have come from because I think it’s important to measure progress. It also gives me a chance to pat myself on the back for hard work done.

I was talking to one of my mentors at church recently about this turtle persona that I have taken on. I shared with her how I have been hurt by the leadership and other people that I serve on a ministry team with. She said “well, where is your shell?”……I had one of those “HUH???” moments. A moment of clarity. Where is my shell? Then it hit me square in the heart. I have been extremely vulnerable. I guess in order for me to function on a recovery type ministry team I have always believed that we have to be open. Honest. Direct. And vulnerable. Un-masked. WITHOUT the SHELL. I guess I was trained to be all of these things in the past ministry I served in. How can you minister to others that are hurt and broken if you cannot share you own hurts and brokenness? How can you show hope without being raw and real with the pain and the past that Christ has healed you from. So I have always functioned without my shell in this type of ministry. I have exposed myself and walked around with the expectation that I am safe in a ministry that is recovery focused. I walked around thinking that the others that I served with would be healthy. And as result I have come away with wounds. Deep wounds caused by people that I believed were there to help to bind up wounds not create them. I was deeply mistaken to think that the others were healthy. I was grossly mistaken when I believed that I was safe.

So I have some more sorting to do. After taking some time off to lick my wounds and get focused I know that I know that I am supposed to give away the hope and healing that I was given by Christ. I am called to teach. To teach and guide. So do I go back into this ministry still vulnerable without my shell? OR can I slip that protective shell on and still function? How can I be bare-assed honest with what I have when I feel unsafe and worried that I will be hurt by the team that I serve with? Can it be done and is it what Christ wants from me? Or does he want me to serve as HE did? Without shells or pretense? I am called to share in HIS suffering. He was hurt, rejected, called a heretic. Why should my life and my walk with Him be any different?

I have found in the church. This bride of Christ, that there are so many wounded broken people. ‘Stupid Church People’ MASK UP when they are in church. Very rarely do we see authenticity. Rarely do we see the real stuff. Rarely do we see the ugly of the brothers and sisters. Recovery ministries are where we need to get honest and throw the guts on the floor. It is where we are supposed to feel safe and cared about enough to do that. Do we in ministry and the church really need to offer a fake response to the real dirt? Or do we need to show the guts and glory of recovery? Just a thought or two. Can I give away what I have to the leaders when I am discredited? Christ was discredited by the Leaders of his day. How can I wash the feet of those I serve with and those that need help when I am not accepted? Christ was not accepted by the Leaders either. How can I stay healthy and focused when I am constantly looking and scanning for the next burning arrow that is flying towards me? And is it worth it to even bother with THIS ministry. THIS church? THIS team?

In true turtle form. I will take the time to sift and sort this one. Ponder. Ponder. I don’t have to ‘get there’ today. But is sure nice to enjoy the current pit stop that I have found. I am safe here. I can rest. I can be healed. I can wait for the next step.

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