So, this is what it looks like now, eh?
Last week I’m flying into Indianapolis to speak two main sessions at a conference. After the 1st talk, I’ve also been scheduled to meet and speak with a group of 40 from a wonderful faith community in Kentucky.
It’s that one I am most anxious about.
For I am not on my game. And I so much want them to see me on my game. This group has been vitally employing Truefaced across the face of their ministry. I’m a huge fan of what they’ve been daring to live out with thousands. And I so want them to see, in me, and in my insights and answers, a validation that they have chosen well, living in the Room of Grace.
And I am currently in a season where I am battling something not unlike a free-floating, anxiety. My heart is good. I love my life. But its like my body is betraying me. Sometimes I find myself cold, shaky and constricted; like adrenaline is running rampant throughout my body. That is not a good thing for a speaker who’s entire approach to speaking is built around timing, rhythm, cadence, transitions and volume control.
The first main session goes wonderfully. Once I’m running around on stage, I pretty much can suspend distraction from anything else.
But then onto this gathering, where I will have no notes, and will probably be asked to speak, off the cuff, on many controversial subjects. I take a deep breath and walk into the room…
There they are.
Smiling at me, like they all know a secret they’re about to tell. They’ve been waiting for this moment. They have not come to ask me anything. They don’t want anything from me. They’ve asked to meet with me for one reason-to lavish love and appreciation upon me. They have assembled so I could take back home to our team a message of how deeply grateful they are for these truths that have transformed their lives and the lives of their friends. They begin to tell me redemption stories. They affirm and bless and affirm and bless. At first I felt embarrassed and clumsy, like I should say something wise and profound, to prove worthy of what was being said. But, in the kindness and gentle strength of their words and expressions, it dawns on me that I should not deflect this. Regional members of the tribe of grace are meeting each other on the road. And blessing and affirmation are the gifts they exchange.
Then they ask if they may pray over me. Not to fix me, not because they were sad for me. Not because it was the religious thing to do to close our time. But because they thought it to be the highest honor they could give me…to stand with, around and amidst what we are doing and what it costs. To bring us all into the midst of Jesus and proclaim our common need, and proclaim how He has met all our needs all along.
And I felt peace. And calm. And safety. And destiny. And love. The peace of sensing God saying, “How about this, huh? Before the world began I put this little soirée together, my boy! I’ve got many more of these along the way. Just relax and believe them and let Me inhabit their words by trusting that I will act upon them. These are some of my most mature and delightful servants I’ve picked for tonight. I hope you liked it.”
I don’t remember walking back to my room. But I still carry with me the power of that evening.
Here is what I think I am beginning to learn in this season. God does not need me to prove the rightness of this Original Good News by being on my game. In a message that is about learning how to meet needs in loving and allowing ourselves to be loved, it might be nice if this messenger allowed himself to be loved every now and then. It might actually validate the message and give others a chance to do what they want to do most with their lives-meet the needs of another in love.
And so, this 59 year old is maturing in this season of chills and constricting adrenaline rushes. And, at least, for that evening in a side room of the Marriot Hotel in Indianapolis, the feeling of contentment, affirmation, delight, awe, and sacred worship-it was all worth the cold.
So, this is The Cure, for even such a one as me.
John-one of the three amigos, part of the ever-growing tribe of grace.