Friday, July 19, 2013

The nagging voice called "Courageous"

One of the challenges of a new church start is finding the right space to call home.  While we have been settled in the same space for awhile, I am always on the look out for something more permanent, something better suited for all we dream of doing.  On Wednesday of this week, I met with the owner of a building that has been waiting for renovation.  A former neighborhood grocery store, there are still empty refrigeration coolers filling this now over-crowded makeshift storage room.  I have driven by this building a thousand times, and have always wanted to see the inside.  Upon entering, one of my first thoughts was wow, this is a ton of space.  It is roughly 5 times as much space as we now occupy for our Sunday morning worship gatherings.

As I often do, I began imagining the potential and I began day-dreaming of the many ways we could bring this place to life. I envisioned how we could have more room for our children to learn and grow, more space for hosting community groups and more room for storing all of the equipment we set up and tear down every week.  And, so on and so on.   Just as I had decided to quiet that daring and dreamy voice and to listen to the more practical side, I heard a familiar phrase that came from deep within my heart and mind.

It's a phrase I've heard a lot lately, and one that if I'm honest, scares me quite a bit.  I've heard it as I've been in conversation with friends, in discernment meetings, and in the books I'm reading.  I've heard it in scripture, in sermon preparation and in quiet moments of prayer and reflection...

Think bigger.  Think bigger.  Think bigger.

I have to admit it's really starting to get on my nerves.  After all, I left my career, moved away to pursue a calling into ministry and said yes to starting a new church from scratch.  As a woman living in a pretty conservative city in the South, isn't that big enough?  

Apparently not.

I don't know exactly what this bigger thing is, but I have some ideas.  I have a hunch it will require me to stop second-guessing myself.   I have a feeling it will cause me to listen to the voice inviting me to risk doing something beyond my capabilities.  It has everything to do with the courage to act on the belief that God is capable of doing something even bigger than what I can even ask or imagine.

I have often joked with our church that I am an idealist, and at times have used that line to minimize what I am about to say.  It's almost like I am apologizing to them for having to endure the dream, idea or possibility I want to share.  The truth though, is that I do believe God has given me (us) a dream, and I need to stop apologizing for it.  I have a deep sense that God wants to use us to help restore a community, that God wants to use us to help restore the church, and that God wants to use us to retell a story of Love that has been misrepresented and manipulated for too long.  We won't do it perfectly and it will be overwhelming at times, but we will never realize this dream without taking some risky steps in it's direction.

I will never help us realize this dream, if I do not help lead us in this direction.

I began this year by naming courageous as my word for the year.  Looking back, there have been times when I have worn this word well.  I trained and completed a 15K, we moved our family into Springfield, I've dared to  begin life coaching, and I have had far more fierce conversations than in the past.  I'm learning to let fear be an okay thing, yet not letting it have the final say.  I'm glad there's still another five months to go, though because I sill need some practice.  I still need to trust the voice that says think bigger, and to let the dream become the vision that guides me forward. 

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