By Shannon Martin —
Do you ever wonder if you are, perhaps, the resident nut job at your church?
Our church families are just as complicated as our biological families. We all have that one crazy member that everyone can identify as THAT crazy person. The one that we cringe at when we see them coming (yes, church members are still humans!). We find them harmless enough, but they just don’t know when to stop talking or just have no filter……
I am wondering if that is me.
Over the last several years I have been involved in a variety of projects and served in a number of different ways in different capacities. Last year I realized after soul-searching that beyond being a people pleaser I was also very prone to believe that my identity was found in the things I did.
After a lot of reluctance and stubbornness on my part, I finally surrendered to God’s will and began to step back from some things and give other things up completely. This has put me into a very odd position for me.
I am not currently the person serving in different areas, but I have a ton of knowledge about how things have been done, changes that have been made over the years and why they were made, and other historical type information like that. A repository of mostly useless information at this point.
As a result, I get asked a lot of questions……at least at first……and in a way, my busy-a-holic soul loved this because it kept me in touch with those positions I had given up. I was still in the know……I was still important…….
And then the questions stopped coming……and I had to remind myself that this is a VERY GOOD THING!!! I have successfully transitioned out of multiple roles with just a small remaining role in the worship planning/leading arena.
However, I still seem to stumble upon conversations coming and going at church and I JUST CAN’T STOP MYSELF at times from throwing in my two cents worth.
This is why I am now wondering have I become the resident church nut job? The one who just can’t seem to keep her nose out of things that are no longer her concern?
So just as I have had to become more intentional about prayer times and scripture study times, I must now also become intentional about not picking back up the things that are not my current assignments from God.
I have often complained that I don’t like people stepping on my callings, or feel like I am at times being held back by folks from doing the currently assigned tasks from God. However, if I refuse to let things go, then I am the person stepping in the way and holding others back from their full potential in God’s callings for them.
Letting go doesn’t mean losing a part of me, it instead is actually FREEDOM for me. Freedom to continue to grow and the ability to allow others to grow as well. Freedom to spread my wings and be open to trying new things.
My identity is found in belonging to the one true living and eternal God. The God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. The same God that Deborah, Ruth, and Esther belonged to. This needs to be my focus. This is what I need to be intentional about. I am being prepared for “just such a time as this” (Esther 4:14 – NRSV).
What I do at church does not define who I am in Christ.
My new guiding verse can be found in Isaiah 58:11 (AMP):
“And the Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your soul in scorched and dry places, and give strength to your bones: and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.”
Going forward I will speak less and listen more. I will reserve my opinions and keep them to myself unless asked specifically for them. Yes, yes, I know, but please try to contain your laughter at those last two statements…… I will, with God’s strength and guidance, be able to accomplish even this!
So, while I may be a recovering busy-a-holic, and a recovering nut job (okay, may not be any way for me to escape this one!), at the beginning, the middle, and the end of every single day I am a child of the one true King. And that makes me ENOUGH.
I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:12-13 – NRSV)
Shannon Martin and her husband live in North East Ohio with with their teenage son. They attend Midway Mennonite Church. You can also find some of her writings I on her blog Wisdom Wanderings.