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Being Present

What’s the good word? Before I came to Ethiopia this September, I had been struggling with something that I think is a bigger problem with us all if I am correct. For a long time I have been a “go” person. I have always been a more is more person, and something began to shift this summer for me. I began to look at my life. I had a brand new home, a wonderful family, and every thing a guy could want. Yet I felt something was missing. I was snippy. I was unhappy. I was there, but I really wasn’t there. I was being pulled left and right both by stuff on the home front, but also being a pastor of a church. My faith was struggling too. I have always believed that God’s Spirit dwells within all of us and also in this world. I’ve know that, but my life spoke differently. Something inside of me was saying “no more!” I looked and my little girl was now 6. What happened? Had I really been there? 

Not only that, but I also was feeling as though I wasn’t really making a difference. When I am hear in Ethiopia, I see the change. I see the difference. It’s hard to see that often in the church. It’s like turning a big ship, only that ship is being pulled the other way by 500 years of tradition. You hear the bad stuff, but you don’t always here the stories of changed lives. After all, isn’t that what we are supposed to be about? Changed lives for the sake of the kingdom? I question whether we are on the right track. Is what we are doing as “church” really what we are supposed to be doing? 

When I am hear I am forced to slow down. I am forced to be present. And that’s what I want when I go back. I want to be, as Shauna Neiquist says, “Present over perfect.” What I ache for these days is space, silence, stillness, and time with my family. I want to do what makes me passionate. I want to continue to see the work here in Ethiopia grow. I want to live our my call that God has for my life. I also want less of everything. It’s just getting in the way. I want less stuff. I want less proving. I want less hustle. I want less meetings that really don’t move the ship. I want simplicity both on the inside and on the outside. 

“God hasn’t invited us into a disorderly, unkept life, but into something holy and beautiful- as beautiful on the inside as on the outside.” 1 Thessalonians 4:7- The Message

That’s the good word for today. Be you. Do good. 

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