"I know you can be overwhelmed and underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?"
Anyone remember this quote from the movie 10 Things I Hate About You?
This is totally how I feel right now. I'm usually underwhelmed or overwhelmed, but rarely am I stuck somewhere in between the two. When I'm underwhelmed I'm fairly apathetic, halfhearted, passionless, lackadaisical about life in general. And then something happens, and I'm completely overwhelmed with passion, concern, inspiration, challenges, etc. Right now, I'm in a state of overwhelmed.
While most would assume overwhelmed is a negative thing, I am in a place where it is good. Overwhelmed usually means you're drowning, overpowered, or buried underneath the weight of something. These are still very true, but when you're overwhelmed by truth, conviction, and the Holy Spirit, it's very much a good place to be. And that's where I am.
I'm actually hesitant to write anything, because I know it won't do justice to what I'm trying to work through. But as I typically find with myself, when I write, things seem to work themselves out in my brain and heart. I'm trying to make that happen. I've neglected writing for quite some time, and in a way, that means I've neglected a lot of things in my heart. A few years ago I discovered that writing helps me push through the messiness in my heart and it forces me to discipline myself. So here I am.
As of late, I sense the Holy Spirit pushing me and telling me to step it up in some things. Last week I had the privilege of going to the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta, GA and hearing some great words and worshipping with 13,000 other Christian leaders from around the country and abroad. There's something about being in a place with that many people leading the Church that makes you feel both incredibly responsible yet so very small in the grand scheme of things. That's the tension of where I am right now.
Isn't this the way of a leader?
If you are a Christian, you are called to lead. To lead the lost to Christ, and to teach them to then do the same.
So being a leader means you're responsible for lives.
You should carry a heavy burden for the lost, for those you lead, for the needs of the world around you - locally and globally. The message we carry is life-giving, and life depends upon it. So much of the world, including ourselves, is living in all kinds of bondage, and we hold the very keys to freedom.
So why do we forget this? I know for me, I am fearful. I get caught up in my own circumstances. I would rather watch TV. I am lazy. I forget that lives hang in the balance, and all the while I am eating popcorn on my couch and worrying about what to wear and making sure I'm caught up on my DVR or on all the new music that's out there. My life is so filled with the things that do not matter in this world, because I forget to live in the urgency that some people have not heard or do not know about Jesus. Or I forget about the people who do but have questions about him and I don't want to lean into the responsibility of trudging through the mess of their lives with them, because there are layers and layers of doubt, sin, and life experience to dig through.
And who am I, anyway, to tell someone about Christ? What if I use the wrong words? Who am I to walk through life with a high school girl while I feel like I've messed it up myself? Who am I to walk into a strip club and share Jesus with a girl who has experienced hell on earth in her 21 years of life and thinks she's too sinful to be forgiven? I'm only a sinner myself, so how can I explain this?
I'm not worthy.
Mainly, I just have excuses, none of which are valid.
I'm not worthy, but I am still responsible.
But I'm overwhelmed right now with the truth that I've needed to hear, and now I just don't know what to do with it. My heart is wrestling with the responsibility I am called to and my own laziness. There is a stirring...
You know when you make caramel, you have to keep stirring the mixture or it will burn on the bottom of the pan. I feel like this is the same (as lame of an analogy as that may be) with my heart. The Holy Spirit is stirring something in my heart, and if I don't keep working and letting Him stir, there won't be any fruit in the end.
So right now, I'm trying to lean into the stirring. I'm trying to remove the excuses and the worry and the fear and the laziness and the junk in my own life, and instead I'm leaning into the truth of the word. I'm trying to listen to songs that point my heart back to Jesus to remind me what I need to hear when I start to believe the lies that I start to tell myself. I'm going to be more intentional with my time. I'm going to "do for one what I wish I could do for everyone" (thank you Andy Stanley for that wisdom). I'm going to stop trying to supplement the Savior, because He is enough (thank you Judah Smith for that truth). I'm going to abide in Him, and let Him keep stirring.