It happened without me being fully aware that it was happening.
But there I was sharing some pizza with some other Student Ministers as we talked about the week of camp that we're planning together this summer. The conversation was flying and it was one of those lunches that you just don't want to leave because you feel a kindred spirit among everyone around the table. I really don't know how it came around, but suddenly we found ourselves talking about our age and years of experience in ministry. Each of them sharing that they were in their early to mid-twenties and then there's me. I'm now closer to 40 than I am 30. When did that happen?
Like I said, "it happened without me being fully aware that it was happening." It's like, one minute you're tossing back a Red Bull and rallying students to keep going at that church lock-in and the next minute you're donating your Xbox360 because, now that you have kids of your own you never really have time to play it. I can't say that I like the fact that I'm getting older, and upper thirties in youth ministry is getting up there.
As this reality has settled in, I've been thinking a lot about seasons of life. These certain periods of time in life that present distinct opportunities. For example, Watching my son score a goal brings me infinitely more joy than winning the World Cup on FIFA 2011. Of course it should, but when I was in that season of life, I couldn't even describe the pride that I would feel at seeing my little guy beam with excitement after planing one in the back of the net.
I'm at a place in ministry, now, where I'm regularly trying to hack at how I'm leading to see if I can work smarter and not harder. It's such a freeing feeling to know that the things I'm terrible at don't disqualify me from ministry. These are opportunities to find others to serve and use their strengths for God's glory.
There is a time for everything,
I remember listening to the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast several years ago and Stanley mentioned a phrase that changed my whole posture toward these seasons of life. Stanley said, "When I say, no, for now, that doesn't mean never." It's completely natural to not be able to do everything all the time...who can? Instead, give yourself the grace to say "no, for now" with the understanding that maybe some time in the future I will have the margin to step into that opportunity. A good example of this for me is inviting people over to my house. Before we had kids, Erin and I would have people over frequently for cookouts and bible study. When our kids came along we had to say "no, for now" on that aspect of ministry. However, there is another season coming when that opportunity will open up again for us.
Looking upon seasons past, I regularly see things that I missed and mistakes that I made, but they're part of the journey. I'm just glad to be on the journey...it's something that I know I've been called to do. Which reminds me, I'm definitely going to have to write a post about "Calling" real soon.
Regardless of the season that I'm in, I hope to make the most out of every opportunity, as Paul says, because, "the days are evil." (Eph. 5:16). The days seem to get increasingly evil as the years seem to go 10x faster that when I was in high school.
What's one thing that you love about your current season?