What Hollywood and Church-Planting Have in Common

I honestly started making this a Facebook post, only to realize that what I had to say was way too long and obnoxious to flood someone’s news feed.

So you’re welcome.

I was just watching a documentary about the Oscars. Towards the end, someone who I can only assume to be a director or producer was describing the morning after the Oscars, where he was in his sweats, drinking nasty coffee, sweeping a floor. He reflects, “That one night…that is what everyone thinks Hollywood is about. The glamour and everything. But really, that’s the one night a year where we all dress up and put on a show. Hollywood is the waking up and doing everyday, difficult, ordinary, grimey, mundane things, behind the scenes, that no one sees. That’s what Hollywood really is.”

And it hits me.
That’s what church planting is.
Everyone sees the glory moments, the moments that are publicized and broadcast and celebrated. Coming from a church that is missions-based, the “powerful” testimonies are the ones that fuel you. We hear about the churches that have doubled in size in a week, the gang members who are transformed by the love of Jesus overnight. And we BEG God to send us. We want revival NOW. We want to see it all NOW. We want those glory stories.

But it’s more than that. Hear me out…I am not trying to undermine these amazing works of God. And I am not trying to stifle anyone’s fire. Please…stay lit.

Church-planting is mostly unseen and unheard. The every-day, ordinary, mundane, difficult things. The behind the scenes that make for the glory moments. It’s stuffing and addressing envelopes. It’s making sure there are enough Krispy Kreme doughnuts for every guest. It’s measuring the width of a middle school door to make sure a banner can fit. It’s having the slides cued and ready for worship on Sunday. It’s taking hours to pray and plan every week.

The unseen moments really do shape the seen.

It’s the same with our relationship with God. It’s in the quiet, solitary places where intimacy with Him is formed…when so many times all we hear are the glory stories. Cultivating deep, rich, history with God is about consistency and commitment. Am I going to stay consistent in the ways I pursue Jesus? Am I going to stay committed to Him and the things He’s called me to?

These award-winning movies…Think of where they would be if people hadn’t been consistent or committed. If people refused to do the dirty, unseen work. If there hadn’t been that lady fixing Helen Mirren’s makeup off-stage. If that man whose only responsibility is to bring the director exactly what he needs when he needs it simply quit. That girl who sweeps the set and makes sure props are in place worked half-heartedly. The glory moments can’t happen without their seemingly inferior acts.

Don’t despise the seasons of the mundane and ordinary….for they cultivate a richness and depth with God that will lead to greater glories than we could ever imagine.

Enough

I went on a date earlier this year.

An actual adult date. The kind where he calls, asks me to go to lunch, picks me up, and pays.

The kind where we talk, bond about common interests, and he thinks I’m funny.

And he never called again.

Now let’s just pause for a second. This is not a bitter rant. This is not a post about how men are the scum of the earth and gosh darn it, I just deserve better.

I’m writing because I believe there are single Christian women around the world who know what this is like.

And I’d love to tell you how I wasn’t phased in the slightest. I’d love to assure you that when you are securely rooted in your identity in Jesus, then yes, you too, can have events like this happen without flinching. You can just keep walking and not skip a beat. I’d love to give you a step-by-step process on how to do so. Because, you see, my life is perfect and I have everything together.

Who am I kidding.

Because I’m a woman, my brain swirled. Held together and composed on the outside, my emotions ran rampant throughout my mind. I replayed the date in my head over and over again.

Had I missed something?

Had he hinted at something to reveal that he wasn’t interested?

Did I have food in my teeth the entire time?

Is my laugh that annoying?

And the ever-dreaded question, am I secretly really ugly?

I pondered this one day and thought… “You know….I guess I will never know what is was that made me not enough.”

But that’s where my overanalyzing stopped. That’s where God stepped in. The moment the thought crossed my mind…

“Why wasn’t I enough?”

And I realize this is the fear of most women. That we are not enough. Or that we are too much. We worry that all of who we are is the wrong “amount.”

Will I teach well enough to gain approval from my supervisor?

Will I be beautiful enough to hold his attention?

Am I funny enough to make them laugh?

Am I too emotional for my friends and community?

Will ALL that I am be accepted, loved and appreciated in its perfectly ordained amounts…the places where I am too much and the places where I am not enough?

It’s our biggest fear. Being the fullest versions of ourselves and being rejected. We then dwell in the insecurity of our biggest fear – that if we risk, if we take the chance to expose our inner nerd and quirky nature, that it will be too much. We assume this as a truth. They will realize we’re not as put together as we’d like to appear. So we stay hidden. And we trick ourselves into living a life half-full… half alive, rather.

 

I recently have started watching Parks and Rec. For those of you who have never watched it, it’s stinking hilarious. But there’s something about the main character, Leslie Knope, that has fascinated me.

Leslie Knope is all together too much. There are things she does that I have restrained myself from doing for fear of what other people will think. “Well if I geek out like that, they’ll think I’m too much to handle.” But Leslie Knope does it anyway. And it’s so freeing. She is loved and accepted by those around her in all of her too-muchness because she lives her life unashamed of her places of excess and her places of lack.

leslie-knope-waffle

She is too passionate, too involved, too concerned, too extreme. But she is herself, in all of her waffle-obsessing glory. And she walks in the fullness of it, unashamed.

What I’ve learned from Leslie Knope is that who I was created as IS the perfect amount. The fact that I have extreme bursts of excited energy when I hear an idea I love isn’t too much. The fact that I have never had a six-pack makes my beauty perfectly enough. The fact that I can get so overwhelmed with emotion that I have been known to burst into tears when watching a Disney movie isn’t too much. And the fact that I might not have the perfect and most witty response to everything is enough.

My places of lack and my places of excess make me perfectly me and perfectly enough. And the realization of that truth puts every lie and insecurity from the enemy to shame.

The fact that this boy never called me again does not define any of my worth or value. It doesn’t mean I was too much. And it doesn’t mean I wasn’t enough. Because I have something that has been stamped on my forehead from the moment I was created by a Savior who died for me: Justified. Beautiful. Valuable. Enough.

So walk in the fullness of who you were created to be. All of your areas of being too much or not enough are the areas that make you perfectly you.

A Topic Avoided

As a single Christian female blogger, I have purposely avoided one category in particular because I feel like it has been beaten into the ground repeatedly, exhaustedly over-communicated. It now lies breathless – the words of single Christian girls everywhere attempting to grasp and comprehend its purposes and hidden mysteries. We all take a stab at it. We seek God, gain bits of revelation and attempt to piece them together as more single females come together, bringing additional pieces with them to fill in the space. This dumb category. How often our conversations in our twenties turn to it.

Singleness.

Marriage.

Dating.

Relationships.

And ultimately, Contentment.

I have kept these things at arms-length away from my blog.

Correction: I have kept these things football fields away from my blog.

Arrogantly, I haven’t wanted to be a stereotypical single Christian female blogger.

Notice I said arrogantly.

Because my heart bursts to write about the thing I pray most consistently about. And I refuse to consider it an embarrassment any longer.

I refuse to be shamed and swallowed up by insecurity about the fact that my husband has already had hours upon hours of prayer sown into his life. This place of intercession that I stand in for his day-to-day life, even when I have no idea who he is, is powerfully and actively changing things. And the enemy would love nothing more than destroy it.

I refuse for this to be classified as an MRS degree.

I refuse to believe that this is a sub-par call on my life.

I refuse to believe this is just a mediocre mission.

Think of an awesome, influential, God-fearing, single man that you know. An unmarried man in his 20’s or 30’s…who leads with confidence, preaches with Heavenly authority, loves servant-heartedly. A man who urges other people into the throne room of Heaven, who calls other men to higher standards of honor and purity.

What if it’s possible that the life-changing encounters with God he has today, the revelations he gets in this moment, are all because there is some woman, somewhere, talking to God about the husband she hasn’t met yet and praying into the places of his life that no one else will get a chance to that day.

What if it’s possible that he is the man he is because of the prayers the woman he doesn’t know yet prays.

You see, it’s not about this fairytale marriage. It’s not about the dream wedding.

It’s about knowing and fully embracing the fact that the prayers I pray for my husband are not only actively affecting his life in this moment, but they are actively affecting someone who I will get to be lead by, loved by, and known by for the majority of my life. I get to live with the results of these prayers.

I’m tired of making excuses about it. I’m tired of condemning myself – that when I pray for him, it’s really my romantic heart and emotions, carrying me away into this dream world, where being married means life is perfect and I should really focus my entire prayer life on more important things.

So I won’t make excuses about it. I will not shelve the urges to change a man’s life who I will one day share everything with.

My choice to pray for him is providing some of the most pivotal moments of his life.