Saturday, July 16, 2011

Colorado Updates: Seasons of Cyclical Burning and Regrowth

Gunnison, CO. We'll call it Saturday. It's been a pretty awesome week. I was in camp all week, which means that I was tasked with the behind the scenes type of work that goes into the backpacking trips out on trail. I mostly spent my time packing food for the coming week and cleaning and organizing our gear. It was a wonderful continuation of what's been about 15 days off of trail. I've had a ton of time to relax, undertake simple, repetitive and cathartic work, and reflect on where I am and what I'm doing. I've been wrestling all summer with a sense of restlessness and discontent. I've felt threatened and marginalized by my lack of control over my own life. I've found myself carrying around a cranky attitude and disagreeing with leadership on a daily basis. This week, I was able to seriously reflect on the "why" of it all. Here's what I think: I'm an adult. I've crossed over that threshold of needing someone else to dictate where I go and what I do. I've lived independently without oversight or scrutiny from authority for a while now, being given the opportunity to embrace and pursue a natural personality trait of mine; an independent spirit. And, assuming the role of an employee, where my peers are 20 year-olds and leadership operates as if they were overseeing 20 year-olds, I've felt confined and restricted. As I've already outlined this problem in previous posts, I'll wrap up this idea. But, the beauty of this recent time off trail is that I've begun to see deeper into myself and my constraint. I've been able to come to grips with the fact that it's okay that I'm not in control, that it's okay that certain management styles aren't necessarily the ones that I think are most affective, that Christ in me is bigger than my selfish urge to rebel and fight against another authority. I can decide, understanding who I am and how I operate, to not have a bad attitude. I can choose love and submission over selfish urges to be in charge. I am capable of that because He is capable of that. And, I belong to Him. It's seems to be the most elementary of revelations, but it's one that has hit me pretty hard over this last week. I talked to Aunt Peggie and she said, "Ha. He want all of us, doesn't he?" He does. He wants to shave off the ugly pieces of me that keep me from him. And it's beautiful. He has empowered me to say, "Okay. I want to do the work that's put before me by those that are in authority over me." The work and weight of our ministry far outweighs my desire to be lord of my own life. It's on this path i'm walking. And, this understanding of things totally revolutionizes everything. I want to work. I want to help in the kitchen. I want to spend the better part of seven hours packing food rations into plastic bags so that campers can be fed on trail. I want to load life vests into vans and hang up giant tents to dry and wash sleeping bag liners. Not because that work in fun, but because it's needed. With those things getting done, Christ can move freely on trail and reach deep into the hearts of these High School kids that he has hand picked to walk up these mountains. So, hell yes. Let's work.
With this realization, I go forth into the last four weeks. I have a trip coming this week from Colorado Springs. It's a Young Life group, which are always my favorite. It'll be as hard as always, but I think I'm rested and rejuvenated enough to get after it in a big way. Pray that I wouldn't lose sight of what is important, that Jesus would reach into the darkness and set kids free, and that they would know nothing from me except love, love, love. I miss you all and can't wait to share stories.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Colorado Adventures, Release and Being

This time, I write from a new town. It's called Crested Butte and it looks like this. This week has been an oasis of rest in the midst of a summer that is seriously lacking adequate rest. It's the first week of the summer that didn't bring a trip to Ute Trail's Wilderness team, and we've been taking advantage. The stagnation is okay, considering there is only one week of it, and then it's back to hiking up mountains. After back-to-back trips, I've begun to really see something. It's been a whirlwind of ministry and community and homesick-ness and intermittent darkness. It's hard being confined again. My unwavering forfeit of control to an employer has brought down my spirit a little bit. I've found myself feeling some of the same feelings that plagued me during my time in the Navy. It's a different situation entirely, a different vision and a different outcome. But, the loss of control over my time and my effort has been a heavy element. I don't know, maybe it's Dad's fault for all his years of self-employment, setting an example of independence and self-sufficiency. Maybe I'm a rebellious spirit that needs to be tamed. Maybe I'm forgetting who I am and am worried about losing my arrogant and fabricated identity by submitting to someone else. It's been a tumultuous time of ups and downs. There's no denying the effect and growth that is happening because of my time here. Kids have met Jesus, relationships have crossed into new levels of depth, God has whispered truth after truth after truth into my obstinate ears. But, my spirit still is restless. My heart is still heavy and I don't know that I can really express why. I want to find the balance between community and "me-time," between work and play, between freedom and submission. The struggle of life is finding the balance between extremes, I've come to believe. And this Colorado adventure is one that demands balance. I don't know, there is truth to find. I just want to find it and walk in it. I want love to take over, and that great Trouble-maker to walk in front of me so that I might follow Him into a better truth than the one that I am trying to make work for myself. That's where the answer lies, in the edge of His cloak. And whether its strength or courage or vision that I need, I just want to reach out for it. I love and miss all of you, and I'm holding out for that better truth. So, please pray for me that I might find rest for my weary spirit; that I might choose Life over myself. He is there, He is holding me. He makes all things right. Now, I must choose to believe it.