Stretched (to the Point of Dependence)

Seriously … How can this NOT make you smile?

Six weeks ago, I was frustrated with my job and ministry situation, because I didn’t have much to do. Now the pendulum has swung.

I’m not frustrated with what I am doing, because I love all of it. But it’s the ALL part that is getting to me. I’m not frustrated, but I am definitely stretched.

Responsibilities that Stretch Me

Without a whole bunch of fancy words, here is my the list of burdens that are currently buzzing around in my brain:

  1. A long-term substitute position at Lead Academy. I only teach two classes (every day), but I spend more time in preparing for class than I do actually with students. And I wonder how well I am reaching twenty-one unique and special students. It’s a teacher’s life!
  2. Facilitating a parenting class for young dads, every Thursday night.
  3. Developing my Elevate Youth ministry, under Mill Community Ministries. What I’m doing now:
    1. Building relationships with children and youth and near the Greater Sullivan Neighborhood.
    2. Helping to bring the Mentor Upstate program to Augusta Circle Elementary School (the school that the children around us are zoned for).
    3. Working to launch an after school program in the Greater Sullivan Neighborhood. We hoped it was launched already, but now we are looking at January.
    4. Exploring other development opportunities for students in other under-resourced communities.
  4. Helping to lead a youth development class (for teens) on Tuesday night, with Mill Village Farms.
  5. Helping with a soccer program in the Greater Sullivan Neighborhood, run by the city, on Wednesdays.
  6. Leading a 6th grade small group at Grace Church.
  7. Mentoring a 2nd grade boy who lives in our neighborhood.
  8. Supporting the football team at Greenville High School, with occasional Sunday-afternoon devotions for coaches, and after school tutoring every Tuesday.
  9. Raising funding for Mill Community Ministries. (I hate doing this, and I’m not really doing well with it.)
  10. Writing on this blog (thanks for reading!), and this one. Every few months, when I seriously consider stopping my blogs, that same day at least one person will go out of their way to tell me how much they enjoy my posts. My wife smiles and tells me that I’m not getting out of blogging that easily. (And I appreciate your encouragements. I really do.)

Oh, yeah. I also have a wife and three kids that I am responsible to shepherd and lead.

And my wife and I have a list of about 15 friends that we want to get together with.

Why Being Stretched Is Good?

If you read this post or talk to me, I may sound a little frustrated. But any frustration is directed at myself. I am wondering if I said “yes” to things I shouldn’t have.

Did I bite off more than I can chew? Was I relying on my own wisdom, instead of God’s? Or was I being led by fear, instead of faith?

Perhaps. But I have to remember that this is just for a season (substitute teaching at Lead Academy, for example, will only go through November). And each of these opportunities opens my eyes to new opportunities. And being stretched drives me to depend on Christ, and not on myself. That’s definitely a good thing.

As I continue forward, the “trick” will be to keep a healthy and dependent level of stretchedness, and to know what opportunities God has given me as my responsibility.

Please pray for God’s strength and wisdom to fill me, and that I would depend on Him each day, all day.

“Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.”  (II Corinthians 1:9)

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**image courtesy of James Marvin Phelps via foter

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