Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Posted by Erin Posted on 12:02 AM | No comments

Becoming Thankful

Today I was overwhelmed with thankfulness. I went to the church today to volunteer in the singles office. It will be a regular occurrance. I make copies, type up sign-up sheets, and other officey things. But last week and this week when I went in, Steve gave me some personal work. He had me do a personality test last know the ENTP stuff....I was ENFP...Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving. Then he had me take a strengths finder assessment. It gives you your top five strengths (or super powers as some like to say). Mine were connectedness, communication, strategy, empathy, and woo (winning others over...I had to ask too). Then it gives you a description and suggestions on how to improve and use each of those strengths. It is fascinating.

This week he had me do a worksheet with my strengths. I picked three and for each one drew out three phrases from the descriptions that stood out to me most and then used those phrases to make a scentence beginning with "I come alive when..." So, for example, I chose WOO as one of my focuses. My sentence that I made up from three phrases in the description of woo was "I come alive when I get to be part of a team in which members and outsiders feel comfortable and when people share parts of their story with me."

As I did this excercise I was overwhelmed with joy. It is so encouraging to be able to put to words the things that make my heart come alive. It is encouraging to know that what I thought God was calling me to do lines up with how He created me.

I left church so thankful for these last two months. I never thought I would be back at First Baptist, where I grew up. I didn't think I'd be back in Houston. I didn't want to be. I knew what I wanted to do but not where. As a result I spent so much time looking for a position instead of a purpose. I didn't care where I was as long as I was doing what I thought I wanted. That is so not the right way to do this. The Lord was good. He continued to shut doors. He didn't allow me to stay in Austin or return to College Station or move to Dallas. He shut all those doors so I would have to move home. I am supposed to be at HFBC. And I now realize that it is better for me to be WHERE I am supposed to be doing what I love as a volunteer instead of getting paid to do what i love in the wrong place. I love this church. I love pretty much everything about it. I'm sure if I wanted to I could be nit-picky and find things that should change, but why would I do that? God is moving here. He is growing the church. He is growing me. He is using me. I am so thankful for that.

I am thankful for Steve requiring honesty on Sunday mornings. I am thankful for new connections and old ones that have been renewed. I am thankful that my Pastor believes the goodness of od so much that he will promise to refund my money if God doesn't take care of my financial needs when I tithe. That's just goofy but it is a testement to God's faithfulness. I am thankful to be in a church that uses it's finances to reach the world....from the apartments next door to Africa.

I am thankful to have a job that requires faith, that stretches me. I am thankful that the Lord is providing opportunities to share my faith even when I don't ask for them. I am thankful that I get to work someplace that requires that I love to be outside.

I am thankful that the Lord has given me songs again. He has removed the block from my writing and begun to spill out songs through me again. I am thankful that i get to sing with others on Sundays. I am thankful that I am slowly becoming friends with my cousins. I am thankful that I get to worship with them at church and hear about wht the Lord is teaching them.

I am thankful for coffee with friends. For small words that encourage so greatly. I am thankful that some people think i am joyful because that means the Lord has not allowed my selfishness this last year to affect everyone in my path. He has spared some from the hurricane of self-deprecation that ruled my heart for awhile. I am thankful for the ones that were patient with me during "hurricane season" and thankful for the honesty of someone who loved me enough to tell me that i need to be joyful and that even strangers have said there is a sadness about me. I am thankful for the wake-up call.

I am thankful that the Lord has created in me certain strengths and passions and left others out...on purpose. I am thankful that He is leading me to places where those strengths can be used for His glory and my good.

I am thankful for lessons in discipline and financial responsibility. I am thankful for lessons in health and for free rent. I am thankful for my parents trying to treat me as an adult instead of their baby girl. I am thankful for the moon roof in my car so I can enjoy the wind as I drive to work. I am thankful for cooler weather and goofy costumes. I am thankful for the past...and I am thankful that the past has passed.

I am thankful.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Posted by Erin Posted on 11:31 PM | No comments

Becoming Transparent

Today was so good.

I suppose I should catch you up (you, being the imaginary people that read this since I am fairly positive no actual people do). I am now working part time at REI. It is not my dream job by any means. However, I am glad to be there. They treat their employees so well and I have a feeling that being in that culture will bring out the adventurer in me that has been screaming to get out for years. So, I am glad to have income and something to do. Work is good. Work was given to us before the Fall...before we messed up. Work is good for us. The frustrations with work...the little fruit from work is what we have to deal with as a result of our innate sin.

I have also been getting involved at church. I have been going to class events and volunteering in the singles department. I am also going to join the Sunday morning praise team. I absolutely love my class! First of all there are a ton of Aggies so it can't be too bad right? The teaching is fabulous. Steve (the teacher), has been really drawing things out of us. He is very conversational in his teaching and has us talk amongst our table about whatever question he presents. He also presents questions to the class as a whole and waits for answers.

Last Sunday, he asked, "Who is it that you need to forgive?" *pin drop*

It was silent. I think we are so used to rhetorical questions in church. I mean, that is an extremely personal question. Who do i need to forgive? If I tell you that, you are going to know my areas of pride. You will see my pettiness. You will think I am weak and silly.

Steve just waited. He actually expected us to answer. He wasn't offering that question for us to ponder until the next Sunday. He wanted us to tell the entire class...the other 36 people in the room what our forgiveness issues are. He finally said, "If you can't be honset here, where will you be?"

A voice spoke up from one side of the room, "My parents. I come from a broken home. I'm angry about the divorce."

Another girl from the back said, "A customer that came in to my workplace and falsely reported me to my manager. He just made it up because he was flirting and I wasn't flirting back. And he had his son with him. He is teaching that to his son. I need to let that go but it's hard."

I finally said, "People from high school. Ugh, I hate that. It breaks my heart that I am so bitter about things that happened. I need to forgive people that for the most part have no idea that I was hurt by unintentional words or by being ignored or whatever."

A couple more people spoke up. It was beautiful. Honesty. In the church. I think people are afraid to honest. It's dangerous. What if you spill your guts to someone and then they don't help you, they tell someone else, or they blow it off like it's not a big deal? Yeah. It's dangerous. I've been hurt before because i've been honest. Because I have asked for help and not received it. But if we are all waiting around for other people to prove themselves to be trustworthy, then we will all be waiting forever...holding all our junk inside, pretending we have it all together. So, I have decided. No more waiting. When it is appropriate, I will be honest. Is it always appropriate? No. I have had to learn that too. But honesty is needed and someone has to get the ball rolling.

I am learning to be transparent. On Sunday is was about forgiveness. At REI it is about my faith. I am so out of practice when it comes to being a Christian among the lost. That is so sad but it's true. At A&M it was easy to just sink into the Church. Everywhere I turned I was surrounded by believers, at work, at home, at church, in the neighborhood... That is not the case here. Now, I am not the only Christian at work, but I know of far more co-workers that are not than ones that are. So, I am having to consciously make statements in love and about faith. Have I shared the gospel yet? Well, no. It's not time for that yet. Right now I need to love my co-workers. I need to show them that I am trustworthy and fun and that I care about them. So I am learning to e transparent about my priorities at work.

And on that note I am going to start a second post about thankfulness.