March 16, 2010
I’m sure you’re expecting me to be spilling with words about all of the exciting things I learned over the weekend and all of the cool stories and yada-yada-yada…(pstt: did you know that phrase originated from Seinfield in order to make Seinfield the “water cooler talk” of the year? now you do.) This dnow was different than any other I’ve been to in the past 7 years. Instead of getting caught up in the worship and being completely renewed and put on that “spiritual high” that so many experience at events such as these, I instead learned some tougher lessons with less enthusiasm. Less enthusiasm, yes, but also more commitment.
I’m an avid note taker. I write down everything a speaker says. The reason is twofold. 1) I love specific quotes, but if I don’t write them down somewhere, I tend to forget them, which frustrates me beyond belief. b) It’s the only solution I have found to ADD. This weekend, I took a few notes as usual, but looking back at them the one thing that I copied down more than anything else was “Your life is not defined by what you do, but who you are”. In case you missed that:
“Your life is not defined by what you do, but who you are.”
I’m not gonna lie, my toes are still a little sore from that statement. I have worked so hard to change what I do this year. I’ve worked hard to become a better person and step up as a leader and walk a little straighter, if you will. But I was going about it wrong. I’ve been fixing myself from the outside in. Not the inside out. It’s backwards. And it perhaps explains why it’s been so difficult. While I have had some major changes of heart over the past few months, it was not the focus of my attention. My focus has been on setting a better appearance for others and even for myself, but without the inner foundation, the outer shell is weak, like a haphazardly painted mask.
The commitment I made to missions a few months back was real. It was a call that I heard in my heart. And I have worked to follow that call in my actions. Getting a job to pay for trips, getting involved in local mission opportunities, reading books about serving and missions, etc. And yes, my heart has changed as I have followed the call. But the excitement has died out in the past month or so as I have become distracted. My plans have not changed, because I’m not one to back out of a commitment, but my heart has hardened ever so slightly. It’s gonna be a longgg journey if that doesn’t change soon.
This weekend brought my focus back to the heart of the matter. Which is chasing after God’s heart with all of my heart. Not my actions. That’s the key. That’s the challenge. Heart issues have never been my thing. It gets too messy and painful at times. I’ve learned that when you’re stubborn, a change of heart usually takes a broken heart, which is not fun, but is necessary. Because no matter what I do, or who I serve, or how well I lead, I can fool everybody and their mother, but I can’t fool God. And it’s all about Him, right?
So when the speaker encouraged everyone to go to the alter to pray about commitments, I stepped forward for the first time in my life. I don’t do alter calls, no matter what they are a call to. I’ve never been a fan of the summer camp commitments, because they seem so empty to me. They are provoked by good music and an eloquent speaker and the pressure of everyone else going forward. As for the alter calls to give up that one sin, I’ve never been one to go up because I always knew I would fail at some point, which would be an empty commitment-not cool. But this alter call was different. It was not emotional. At all. In fact, I didn’t even want to go up with the 108 other people that went up. I certainly did not want to write the commitments on a note card for the youth pastors. But because of this, I somehow knew it was ok to go. Because it was not a spiritual high thing. It was a do what I have to do thing. I commited to serving God long before this mission-focused Dnow, but I had not commited to the internal change necessary to do so.
So that’s where I’m at. Rather than trying to become what I do, not what I did, I’m starting on the inside trying to become who I am, not who I was.