I am not one to write. In fact, my entire life, I have wanted to be a beautifully prosaic, profound writer. Alas, perhaps not my gift, but I have felt an extreme pull to participate on the Village website as we are discussing Thessalonians. I believe the Holy Spirit is beckoning me to publicly profess what I am discovering about myself. My head takes over first to analyze, thinking it is about what I can offer others in my wisdom. How vain is that? Then my soul speaks to me and I realize it has everything to do with embracing my identity as a follower of Christ and hence pouring my love out to others.
I have been thinking a lot about this idea of “pouring yourself out” and what that means, particularly for someone like me with significant and complicated health issues. Now, I am not so self absorbed that I don’t know there are many of us in the community with drains on our person, be them physical health issues, mental health issues, or secondary trauma from the work we do with others. But in a recent conversation I was having with my beloved husband over a most delightful dinner, he was very passionately talking to me about his mental and spiritual shift to just pouring out all the love he has to give. I am watching his face, etched with sincerity and thoughtfulness and I am thinking to myself, “Well that is easy for you to say. You aren’t sick like I am.”
So those of you who know me well, know that I give. I like to give. It makes me happy to help others. Unfortunately, I give and give and give to others until I am completely drained and often unable to care for myself. It is part of my being. I have always been this way. It comes from a very primal place of fear of being eliminated from my pack; my community; YOU! After discovering I was ill, the giving stayed the same, though my energy levels depleted. I am guilty of “giving on fumes”, and not much of the giving do I allocate to myself. This really resonated with me after watching a certain pastor in our community do exactly what I have always done and it hit me- God just full out whacked me upside the head- and I realized that pouring oneself out does not simply mean I give everything I have to offer to everyone else. That in order to be a faithful and productive servant of God, I MUST give to myself. I find the things that renew and energize me. I have conversations with the Father, I find beauty in all that He has created around me so that I can fully engage in the dance He has invited me to. Okay, so obviously, because I am writing this, I have not mastered this, but I am giddy in the revelation.
At my first visit to the Village I was mesmerized by Colleen G. I was very broken then. Well, more broken than I am now, anyway. I had no tribe in this town, I was extremely depressed, I had come to the realization that I could no longer work in a field I love. The beauty and peace and joy on Colleen’s face, well really her whole being, was what kept me coming back to the Village. I could feel the Holy Spirit coursing through her. I don’t know that I have ever told her that but I remember thinking, “I want that”, so I kept coming back-even though the Village is not always a comfortable place for me to be. We are not always so great at showing up. We are not always so great at consistently reaching out to others that are not in our immediate friend circle. What we are really amazing at is accepting the invitation to dance. I keep coming to the Village now because I can taste Christ’s love through all of you and I get a little braver each time I come. I am incredibly blessed and grateful.