Dear Wellspring family and friends,
Have you ever had to do something that you didn’t really feel like doing, but you know it’s going to be good for you anyway? As a little kid, maybe it was when your parents made you take a nap or eat some kind of fruit or vegetable you didn’t prefer. As we grow older, there’s things like schoolwork, homework, college applications, resume-crafting, taxes, flossing. I haven’t always loved these things. You probably have your own list of things you’d rather not do, but you do anyway because you know they’re important.
Well, this week I had to write a paper that I didn’t really want to write. (Or perhaps I should say, I got to write a paper. What can I say, I’m praying that God helps me change my attitude.) You see, next Sunday, Pastor Cheryl and I will be attending the Evangelical Covenant’s MidWinter conference in Denver. During the conference we’ll also be taking a week-long class that requires a lot of reading and paper-writing, some of which we have already begun. Taking this class and attending Midwinter conference is the next step toward further credentialing in our denomination, part of God’s call for both Pastor Cheryl and myself. Pastor Dale went through this process when Wellspring was first planted. Both Pastor Cheryl and I are going to miss you all next Sunday the 20th, but we’ll be back by the 27th to share in community together.
On one hand, I’m incredibly thankful to meet for a week with our fellow sisters and brothers in the Covenant community, discovering more of the denominational resources available to us and learning and growing from other ministers in their contexts. On the other hand, I’ve only recently completed several years of full-time graduate school and a year-long chaplain residency. In the past 4 years, I’ve written more papers than I care to count. So the thought of spending 8 hours a day for a week taking yet another class doesn’t sound super exciting. Hence my prayers for an attitude adjustment. :)
Interestingly, God has been speaking in the middle of this discomfort, as God often does when we feel annoyed or uncomfortable or anxious. Looking deeper within myself, it has felt like I should have “moved beyond” this point - and yet precisely in this recognition is the understanding that God is using this class to not just grow my mind, but grow my heart as I become humbly willing to study theology in class once again. God reminds me that when I feel reluctant to do the right thing, it’s God who longs to supply grace and comfort in our pain, as well as when things are light and bright.
This week, as you find yourself faithfully doing what you’d perhaps rather not be doing, know that there is grace for you. Perhaps your burden is a large one, like my friends affected by the government shut-down. They are faithfully choosing to trust in God, leaning into divine grace in the midst of stress. Whatever the size and shape of your burden, remember that God is present in the big and small things, ready to offer an encouraging word of insight and the grace needed to make it through.