ADD, My People, and Rearranging Furniture*

*otherwise known as the day my purpose shifted a bit

When you're the new girl in town, finding your place isn't always easy. Thankfully, all the experience I had growing up in 5 different towns and 5 different elementary schools really comes in handy. Yes, five. As weird as it might sound, I'm thankful we moved as much as we did. Was it hard? Sure. But we lived in some fun places, made some great friends, and I give the experience full credit for taking me from being the shyest kid in class to the outgoing introvert I am today. And while it's not my favorite thing, I'm able to walk up to people I don't know and introduce myself when necessary. It prepared me for a life in ministry.

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So, I'm going to tell you a little story. It doesn't make me look very good. It's pretty embarrassing, actually. But because I promised to be authentically me no matter what, here we go.

We were the new people in town. After spending a few weeks making our new house "home," feeling like the boys were starting to acclimate somewhat to their new schools, I decided maybe it was time to make some friends of my own. I was extra happy that it hadn't taken a whole lot of effort – people were pretty friendly in this new place! After being invited to a prayer meeting for moms, I was excited to go, feeling sure that this would be an opportunity to make some new friends. We gathered together, chatted for a bit, they asked me to share a little about my family, and then we shared prayer requests and started praying. Pretty typical. So far.

A full hour later, when the four of us were still praying, I started opening my eyes and looking around the room, trying to understand what was happening.

{ **Now before we go any further, a disclaimer here is absolutely necessary: I fervently believe in the power of prayer. Nothing else has impacted my life like time spent with the Lord. Prayer has broken me, changed me, and set me back on my feet again and again like nothing or no one else ever could. I've made it a habit to start my day in my closet (another story for another day) praying, and tend to stay in some sort of communication with God throughout the day. This really isn’t about that, so hold tight.**}

I prayed with these moms, lifting up the concerns the other moms shared, and then sat there and listened to each of them take their turns, and thought, wow, this is really nice. But then they each took another turn, then another, and then maybe one more, basically repeating what the one before had said, I suddenly got a bad case of ADD. I started counting the wood planks on the floor. Then I mentally rearranged the room’s furniture. I wondered what our dog was doing at home. I thought about the endless pile of laundry waiting for me, and truth be told, seriously contemplated whether or not they would notice if I just scooted myself right on out of there.

It wasn’t my best moment.

And all of that was compounded by the fact that while mentally a million miles away, I was simultaneously picturing God in Heaven listening to us, maybe with His head resting on His hand, fingers drumming on His cheek… as bored as I was.

Yeah, it was bad, but it does give you a glimpse into how my mind works, and you can now put to rest any concerns you had about whether or not I would be completely honest and transparent here. Was God bored? Of course not. In His Word, He tells us that He is “the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.” (Isaiah 40:28)

Isn’t that a relief? Yes. Yes, it is.

Sometime later I headed home, deep in thought. There was at first the most pressing question: What in the world is wrong with me?!? quickly followed by: How could I have been bored while praying? I didn’t have an answer, so I called one of my sisters, who knows me better than I do, and told her what happened. After she spent a few minutes laughing at me, she imparted her wisdom:

“There’s nothing wrong with you… they’re just not your people.”

Not my people? Shouldn’t everybody be my people? Well, the answer is as simple and complicated as this – yes and no. Something shifted in me that day, but it was only the beginning of understanding this ministry journey. What happened that morning, praying with those moms… God loved listening and He honored our prayers. It truly was a beautiful miracle. Prayer always is.

Ministry comes in many different forms, and God has called all of us to love, encourage, and point everyone we come in contact with to Him. To pray with them, comfort them, encourage them. Even when it's hard or makes you nervous or feel completely inadequate. But when it comes to finding your people, the ones you can trust with the worst parts of you, to celebrate the big things; the ones who will cry and pray with you, show up on your front porch with lunch just because… the ones who really get you? Those are your people, and when you find them, you hold them tightly.

I want to surround myself with a handful of people who accept me for who I am and aren't trying to squeeze me into their mold. At the same time, I need them to challenge me to look more like Jesus today than I did yesterday.

You're allowed to be picky, to be carefully selective in this area of life. It doesn't mean you have to be exclusive with everything else. In fact, you shouldn't.

Was I impatient that day? Yes. Do I think spending an hour in prayer is a waste of time? Absolutely not. It was just a different way of doing things than I would’ve done… it didn’t feel genuine, and truthfully, all the repeating the same things again and again struck me as odd and ineffective… for me.

I went back to that group one more time, partly to see if what had happened the first time was a fluke, and partly to see if maybe my mood was just a little off the first time. It wasn't. Different house, different furniture to mentally rearrange, but otherwise exactly the same. And it's possible that I referenced a Friends episode and was met with blank stares (*note to self: This group? Not ready.), but that's a different story for a different day.

So that was it. That day I felt released, with confirmation that it was okay to do things differently. It was okay if something didn’t really work for me. Not sticking with that group was just fine. There was another one out there, and I'd find it.

This was the day my purpose shifted a bit. When I realized that God called me to be a minister's wife for a reason, and He likes who I am. He made me that way. Maybe I could trust the Lord would draw me to the people He knew needed my particular (read: a bit quirky and totally honest) way of encouraging them in their faith. And I began to trust that He would do the same for me.

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