What an emotionally exhausting weekend. I've just come from ZOE Conference in Nashville (follow the link if you want to read about it - it's a worship conference whose theme this year was being "missional" - spending more time reaching out to the world, loving, sharing Jesus). So emotionally exhausting, in fact, that I spent the last 45 minutes of the trip home in a bad mood after an innocuous comment from my wife. What I first thought was my wife being insensitive, I later realized was me being overly sensitive.
I sometimes get frustrated with the lot God has given me personality-wise, but then I realize he has given us all gifts that we are to use for Him. (Through a Sunday night Bible study in the book of Ecclesiastes, God is letting me know just how logical it is for me to be trying to figure out what He does right and wrong.) I'm overly sensitive when it comes to criticism, particularly when it comes from someone as close to me as my spouse. But, I also tend to be sensitive to people's feelings, which, I guess, can help me reach out to others. One of the most important lessons I learned this weekend was at Otter Creek Church this morning. Tim Woodruff, minister at Otter Creek, was talking about the importance of having elders who were safe and comfortable and elders who had a vision and would step out and take risks. The body of Jesus needs everyone, and God has given us different gifts and talents and personalities for a reason. Sometimes I forget that and am quick to judge personalities that don't mesh with mine, or personalities that don't always seem (to me) to fit into God's plan (such as being hypersensitive to the comments of others). Then God reminds me that there may be other times these personalities fit into His will (such as being sensitive to what people might be feeling).
Once again, the breadth of offerings at the conference this year was quite wide - different things will appeal to different people with different gifts, talents, and interests. The most amazing thing, I think, though, was that they all touched me somehow. To be honest, that's quite unusual for me; normally, I understand that different people will relate to different things and different speakers; and there usually are a few that (while rolling my eyes) I realize will probably relate to someone (else). Almost to my chagrine, there was nothing like that this year. From the worship and praise, to Mike Cope's speaking, to Jeff Walling's creative presentation of Matthew's account of the life of Jesus, to the dramatization of the women in the genealogy of Jesus, to the experimental mission lab I took part in (that story for a later day). Every different thing, intended to touch different people in different ways, all reached out to me creating this spiritual high that I think I crashed from on the way home this afternoon, thinking about going back to life, and work, and everything else...
Quote of the Day
We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
-Paul, in his letter to the church in Rome