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Our Ugly Little Selves

Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.

Spreading the Kingdom starts small—in ourselves, in our relationships and in our community. If we all step out in our own mission field, we will see the beauty in others and die to our ugly little selves.

Serving can come easily if you have lived somewhere long enough. You know the area. You know the needs. You establish relationships. I recently moved to Colorado, away from all that I knew. I was startled when it snowed in the mountains last week—in August! I moved to be near my boyfriend’s family and friends in Castle Rock, a town located right in between Denver and Colorado Springs. It is as beautiful and dry as expected, and there is definitely not a lack of outdoor activities.

But after moving from Orlando, a huge city where I was really involved in ministry, it has been a little difficult to start over and adjust to a relatively smaller town. Most people here are well off so the needs of the community are not as apparent as those in some of the areas in Orlando. I am not attending a church, but I am involved in a small group. Not only do I miss my friends and the familiarity of my life in Florida, but I also miss how much opportunity there was to serve. I have realized that being here, I have to be more proactive in seeking needs and reaching out. But I have had a little trouble getting started.

Our small group here is currently reading through The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. Last night, during the meeting, we wrestled with our role in serving others. Where do we draw the line in compassion and common sense? We are called to care, but wisdom and discernment must also be applied. How do we balance that with people who don’t want help or who are too stoned to know the difference? How do we truly identify needs without being presumptuous in assuming we have all the answers? Our best conclusion was to just get to know people, whether it be the homeless beggar on the side of the road or the rich neighbor up the street. By meeting them with our time we in turn share with them our love.

But while this is important, we must not also overlook those that are immediately around us. Sometimes we get so excited about reaching way out that we glaze over those near us. I don’t want to be a poor steward of what’s right in front of me. How am I treating my immediate friends? How can I truly spread the Kingdom of God to others if I can’t handle my own sphere of relationships?

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It has also been hard for me in general. Before I moved, I was stoked to impact this town. But, since arriving, I have been slow to act. My relationship with God has seen better days. The move has been jarring, so I try to cut myself some slack, but I admit to being at fault in my stagnant and unfruitful walk.

My heart is to start a small group for young women, but I feel I can’t do that until I get my self right with God. How can I lead if I am failing in so many areas? I have become depressed, self-centered and easily angered all of which I know spring up because I am not actively seek God or sharing that which He desires of me. It’s a catch-22. I won’t serve because I don’t feel equipped, but the more I abstain, the more beat up I get and the less ready I feel. Luckily I have been a Christian long enough to recognize the enemy’s schemes. If you actively pursue the Kingdom, get ready to be actively pursued by the enemy. Guess what? I’m tired of this mind game. It’s time to fight back. I miss God. I miss my blooming activist self.

I know my mission is service—new town, new life, new people, new me (as cheesy as that may be). And leaders don’t follow; they chart a new course. I can’t sit around and wait for something to happen. I know that serving gets my thoughts off me, me, me, so maybe I need to just jump in and get involved and let God worry about changing my rotting heart while I am busy serving a group of teenage girls who just need someone to extend a listening ear.

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