Friday, November 9, 2007

Re-learning old lessons

Why is it that we humans can't seem to learn a lesson the first time? It seems to me that we often have to learn something over and over and over and over again. I know I do.

And alas, I see this in my daughter. A month or so ago, she started throwing herself to her knees, bursting into tears, and yelling "WHY??" in response to getting the answer "No" - a word she appears to enjoy using, but seems to be not so fond of hearing. Anyhow, for a few days she would go straight to timeout each and every time she threw herself down. After a couple days, whaddaya know? - this behavior vanished. (For once I was successful in eliminating a problem behavior!!! Yeah, me!! Probably because this particular one drove me absolutely insane.) So a few days ago, I noticed a disturbing pattern - yup, once again, throwing herself down and making a scene. So. . . I guess I shouldn't have been patting myself on the back yet. And back to timeout we go.

Yet - am I so different? Do I learn my lessons the first time? Sometimes ... but unfortunately, it seems as if the most important lessons are the ones that take some time (and a few cycles of re-learning) to sink in.

For example, since we began attending our church 2 years ago, my husband and I envisioned potentially starting a small group for younger married couples. Our small church has seen a lot of growth lately, and so, with the pastor's encouragement and blessing, we decided to take on the ministry of beginning a small group. Immediately my insecurities started taking over. What if no one is interested in joining the group? What will we study? What if a Bible scholar joins the group and thinks we are spiritually stupid? What if we're too quiet/introverted/etc. to lead a group? What if people drop out? Maybe people won't like us . . . etc, etc. If I would have stayed with this train of thought, the group would have never even gotten started. And truly, don't our insecure thoughts get so absurd sometimes? I used to lead small groups as part of my JOB, for pete's sake, and no one ever ran out screaming! :)

As I began to pray about all my insecure thoughts, however, the Lord reminded me of something quite important -- this group wasn't about ME!! It was something He was fashioning and forming, for His glory. If it was going to happen, He would be the one building it. He would lead us through the process. This was not Chad & Amy Smith's group, it was God's, and I needed to put it all in His hands, trust Him, and keep my paws off of it!

This is a lesson that I have learned many times before. I could go on and on with stories of how God has provided -- for my cross-country move for graduate school, how I raised almost $3000 for a missions trip in a few weeks . . . I even see God's hand in how I ended up with my husband! God is always faithful and always provides when we trust in Him, and not ourselves. I am so grateful for this truth, even though I seem to have to learn it over and over again . . .

So, here we are, a few months into our group. In September we had the four other couples over to our home for dinner as kind of a group "kick-off", and as I sat at the table and watched all the positive energy in the room, I was so thankful. Thankful that God had brought the group together. Thankful to get to know these fellow believers. Thankful to be used by God in a way that was so exciting. And oh so thankful that God had helped me see that this wasn't about me. The real joy for me is standing back and listening to God and letting Him work through this.

Keep praying for us as we seek to serve God in this new way. I, for one, am praying that I will continue to trust God with the things He has called me to do -- and that I will believe and not doubt.

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