Thursday, May 9, 2013

What's Holding You Back?

Occasionally, I get in ruts. I think we all do. I used to bury myself up to my neck in my rut and just mope around in it. Now, I dangerously asking myself - what's holding you back?

A rut is just that. You get stuck in one way of doing something. A habit. A belief. An acceptance of "the way it is, is the way it always will be."

So this weekend, after an awesome message on being Fully Alive at Innovate Church, I asked myself what was holding me back from being Fully Alive. I won't lie, lately I've been tired, stressed out, battling chronic headaches, and fighting what seems like my own personal dark cloud. Here are the things I immediately identified as holding me back:

Caffeine - If you're addicted to caffeine, you can probably sympathize with me on this one. I was to the point where if I didn't have the equivalent of an IV drip of coffee in my veins at all times, I would get terribly painful headaches. Also, my caffeine always came in the form of a super sugary soda or coffee- with loads of cream and sugar. Not exactly healthy.

Going out to eat - Again, not healthy. But also, TERRIBLY expensive! We had gotten in a really bad habit in March and April from how busy we were to just go grab something to eat for dinner. At work, I was buying my lunch almost every day because it was convenient and it was a way to "splurge" when I was having a stressful day.

Facebook - Yup, I love Facebook. I love the way it keeps me connected with acquaintances new and old, I love to document Blakely's firsts and post pictures... but I didn't love how much time it was consuming. I didn't love that sometimes I was picking it over spending time doing things with the people I love. And while it seemed like a great option for "vegging" I actually realized that some of the things I read on there were actually causing me more stress!

So what did I do?

I went cold turkey. ON ALL THREE OF THEM. In a weird way it helped because the nauseating and distracting headache from cutting caffeine made me considerably less inclined to miss getting on Facebook or going out to eat. I guess you could call it fasting. For me, I needed to reset, and the easiest way for me to do that was to totally cut myself off. The caffeine withdrawals are pretty much done. I haven't bought food outside our house for a couple weeks. And because I didn't even think about signing onto Facebook tonight during Nate's worship practice, Blakely and I read books, played with toys, watched some cartoons, and took a bath tonight, without any interruptions.

What's holding you back, and what are you going to do about it?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Business of Being Jesus

Some people have really awesome, really clear ministry gifts. My best friend Holly has a huge heart for kids. She does an amazing job teaching and nurturing them. My husband's gift, among others, is that he is awesome at leading worship - both singing/playing guitar and being able to connect with people. I've never really felt like I've had that kind of gift. The closest I've felt to that is my ability to make things happen. Get things paid, get people where they need to be, get things on track... so when we started the process of planting this church, I gave myself the honorary title of Associate Pastor of Getting Sh...tuff Done. Ali Morrison, APGSD.

At first, that "job" was really fun. I got to proofread, format, and assemble Shawn's proposal that was presented to the district board to approve our church plant. Boom, accepted. Yes! There were several other really cool things that I got to do to help get Innovate off the ground.

But after a while, the fun of the job... and why I was doing it... really started to fade for me. And that was my fault.

Writing checks, scanning receipts, designing postcards and flyers, ordering things... They didn't feel like ministry. They felt like a hassle. I felt like I was helping run a business... not a church.

Oh, and you know what's really fun? When the postcards you expedited for a hefty fee don't actually end up arriving in an expedited fashion. OR when you want to strangle your bank because their computers were down when your insurance company tried to run the church's liability policy premium and your calling back and forth between the two to figure out how to resolve the payment before your policy is canceled. Oh AND everything they are looking at says Innovate Church all over it, so if you tell them to go... fly a kite... like you want to, you're really delivering that message on behalf of the whole congregation and Jesus too. *Just as a note, I managed to get thanked for my patience from all parties involved, due to the abundant grace of Jesus and how he helped me take deep breaths and count to 47,000*

But today, I got to sit in service for the first time to enjoy the worship experience, instead of serving. It was the first time since we've started the church that I've got to watch my husband lead worship. It actually brought tears to my eyes to see him fulfilling that part of his calling. Shawn delivered an amazing message. I told him it was the best sermon I've ever heard, and I'll stick with that. And as I sat in worship, I was so humbled and honored to have been able to support the amazing things that are happening there in some way.

I saw people that Nate and I invited. But I didn't just see them sitting in the congregation. I saw them do the video announcements, play in the band, and run the sound board. I saw equipment that was purchased from the account I set-up, items I had written reimbursement checks for, and items I had saved my own receipts to be reimbursed for. I knew everyone was protected with the liability policy that I painstakingly worked to maintain when the bank couldn't figure out how to run the premium through our account. And I watched people walk out with postcards and invite cards that I had worked hours on designing, making, and ordering, so they could invite their friends to know about Jesus.

Don't mistake, today wasn't a day that I patted myself on the back like look what I did. On the contrary, I had to take a hard look at the attitude I had about many of the things I had done as part of my ministry, that I had forgotten was a ministry.

The "business" of being Jesus doesn't always have the cool immediate pay-offs of other gifts, like seeing others sing along in worship, or listening to the kids recite their Bible verses. But I will work tirelessly at the business of being Jesus, if that is how I can help connect people with Jesus. Every check I write. Every time I call CEFCU and say, "Oh hey buds, it's Ali from Innovate Church again." Everything I can do to help the church and help people find Jesus, I will do it, thanking God every day that he has gifted me in some small way to do his work.