After much discussion and thought and prayer, I decided to take the opportunity I told you guys about last week. Now that it’s officially part of my life, it’s only fair to fill you in.
I’m going on my tenth year in this place. The first eight years, I was heavily involved in the college ministry at my church. Over those eight years, I was in Bible studies, I led Bible studies, I did an internship, I did a nine-month long program for women who want to learn more about their Bibles. All of this stuff was great, until I tried to do too much at once.
Because of my good intentions to serve in the ministry, I overcommitted and got a bit burned out. I learned that even if you’re good at stuff, you can’t commit to a thousand things and give 100% to everything. Sometimes saying no is the most helpful thing you can do.
The past two years I spent laying low and learning a lot of things: things about being married, about being a good friend, about living a balanced life where I think about others, but don’t neglect myself. Finally, I figured out what it is I have a passion for (writing fiction) and am pursuing it. These things are great, and I’ve recovered from my final two years of overcommitted crazy tiredness. Those were years I gave of myself – to the church, to employers, to people-people-people – until there wasn’t much left to give. Those were years I tried to be Little Miss Perfect when really, I’m just this worn-out rag doll with mismatched buttons for eyes.
Last week, I got a phone call: Would you consider being a mentor for the leaders of the freshmen Bible studies?
Deep breath. First, I’m surprised they’re even asking. My failures intimidate me, but I guess they’ve considered that and are asking anyway. I think about the opportunity and know I now have a lot to offer these girls – I’ve been there, for many years, with the good, the bad, and the ugly. But, I know myself, and I know how it turned out last time I helped.
People change, have you ever realized that? I changed. I have more of a spine than I had a few years ago. I don’t tiptoe around people’s eggshell feelings, I don’t take blame when it’s not mine to take. I definitely have more road rage and am more forthright with my thoughts (though I still aim for tact). I’ve learned more about love, not only the comfortable kind but the kind that’s sometimes tough to hear or say.
The ministry I worked with is changing, too. New ideas, new leaders, new members, which means an exciting time to come back. It’s a blank slate. For everybody. For me.
I said yes. Now I’m praying that God will change people’s lives despite me. That I’ll be successful at the few commitments I’ve made – my marriage, my novel, and now, the girls from church.
I’m hoping to turn my lemon years to lemonade; I’m hoping for, well, more hope.