Like a cup of cool water

glasswaterSometimes, it’s good not to be in control.  But.  This.  Is.  Not.  My.  Nature.

I could rightly be accused of being a control freak.  (I prefer to think of it as planned independence.)  That’s my default.  I don’t like feeling hemmed in.  I always want options.  I like flexibility.  I want to be independent.  I want to decide my own fate.

For example, I don’t carpool to work.  If I need to run an errand during lunch or after work, I don’t want to be limited just because I rode with someone that day.  Or, I don’t want every detail of a vacation to be planned because I wouldn’t want to become enslaved to the itinerary.

This weekend, a group of us from church drove about 90 minutes north to help encourage another congregation.  We helped teach them some new songs, shared a meal or two, and added some strength to their voices by staying Sunday morning for a worship assembly.  Though a small congregation, they are a good group of people.  There is a kind and sweet Spirit among them.

My wife and I chose to ride with some other people that were going, too.  At her suggestion, we chose not to stay in the hotel in town.  Instead, we took our chances on staying with a host family – a roll of the dice.  (Think: This is an adventure.  This is an adventure.  This is an adventure.)  We did this all knowing that it was just going to be 24 hours.  We can survive anything for 24 hours, right?

Without getting bogged down in the details . . . the weekend ended up being exactly what we needed.  The singing was fun and encouraging.  But the icing on the cake was getting to know our hosts.  They are a delightful younger couple in their mid-20’s.  We sat and talked for hours about life, family, and anything else that came to mind.  It was as natural and refreshing as re-connecting with old friends . . . like a cool glass of water on a hot, summer day.

For the last few weeks, our lives have been long on hectic schedules, frustration, and general fatigue — and short on joy, dwelling in God’s presence, and simply being.  We were growing desperate for respite.  This weekend, I think we got a good measure of what we needed.

Had I been in control, we would have missed out on the best parts of a great weekend.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Like a cup of cool water

  1. maddog

    This sounds like life at its best! I’ve been listening to some of the Lipscomb stuff you gave me — I was struck by Mark Love’s contrast of our typical “problem solving” approach to church leadership with a much more flowing, Spirit-lead, expecting-the-unexpected kind-of experience. Could this kind-of personal experience relate to church “leadership”?

  2. If I remember correctly, you’re talking about Mark Love’s comparison of technical change (e.g. the room is dark even though I flipped the light switch — time for change) versus adaptive change (e.g. this situation is not spiritually healthy for my family — time for a change). He didn’t use those examples. I’m just making those up on the fly. (BTW, if you would like my notes from those sessions, let me know.)

    I know this is going to sound all post-modern and stuff, but could you “unpack” that your question me. I’m not sure I understand what you mean.

  3. maddog

    I’ll try to unpack a little for you –> I was churning Mark Love’s stuff around in my mind. In the second session he makes the point that church leaders often try to follow a business-like process (identifying/responding to problems and formulating/implementing solutions), but that a more Biblical model of “leadership” would likely not be problem oriented…and, in fact, if the leaders were actively seeking/submitting to the Spirit’s leading, the congregations path forward — while joyously fulfilling — may in retrospect bear little resemblance to any kind of course (i.e. think 5-year plan) that the leaders may concoct. So…when I read your rendition of your weekend experience, and the unexpected joy & satisfaction gained mostly through submitting your course to someone else’s plan, I couldn’t help but see a parallel. I don’t know exactly how a church accomplishes this kind-of submission (I assume it would involve cultivating/fostering a new culture of mutual and individual openness), but I would sure like to see an end result for GV that mirrors your experience. Clear as mud?

  4. Ok, I understand where you’re coming from now. I think cultivating a new kind of mutual and individual openness would go a long ways toward moving people in a spiritual sense. One of the big points that Mark Love makes is that with technical change/problems (like the lights aren’t working or the room is too warm), expertise becomes highly valued. Even if you don’t need an HVAC technician to adjust the thermostat, you can probably imagine a situation where someone would automatically go to our friend Robert and ask him to see if he can find out why the room is so warm.

    With what Love calls “adaptive change”, there are no clear answers. And we may not even have a clear picture of what the problem is. And the outcome from any solutions that we come up with is difficult or impossible to predict. In these kinds of situations, trust becomes highly valued. If we have a problem, we don’t quite know how to identify it, and we don’t even have a clear idea on how to fix it . . . I’m gonna have to trust that whoever is spear-heading this effort will do what is best, will have a discerning spirit, and will be able to tell when something isn’t working and when it is.

    Someone (or some recognized group) has to lead on this. Otherwise, I think chaos will ensue. The only way sheep will follow is if they have trust. Openness is the currency of the trust economy.

    (BTW, if I sound authoritative on this, I don’t mean to. I’m as clueless as anyone. I’m just reacting and building on your thoughts.)

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