I have been brooding over writing this post for the longest time.
For many years now my life looked a little like the picture above. All in neat little boxes with only my "Jesus" box allowed to touch the other boxes. I tried so hard to keep it like that...because that is the only way I could survive everything that life threw at us. A few months ago I started posting some things that we deal with in our day to day life at the Mission on Facebook and these posts went pretty much viral. Suddenly I was flooded with friend requests from people who were interested in what we do and that left me in a very uncomfortable space. Facebook was no longer a place where I felt I could share the "other" parts of my life and my blog just became a Scrappy blog...no more baring my soul :)
You see...when we signed up for full time ministry we didn't know that people have preconceived ideas and total misconceptions about what it means to be in "full time" ministry. There is this strange idea out there that if you are in ministry you must have "it all together". "They" sit in judgement over everything you do and nothing is ever good enough. I always believe that the day you publicly announce that your mission in life is to help others you pretty much put a huge bulls eye on your back. People just believe that they have the right to criticise everything you do. They believe the following:
- You should drive an old beat up car and live like a pauper. (Well sorry to burst that bubble...we drive good cars and live in the same beautiful house that we have lived in for the past 30 years). Why is it that everybody expects to hear that we LIVE at the Mission? It isn't scriptural to live like a pauper if you serve the Lord you know? According to Philippians 4:19: " And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus." Our God is rich not poor.
- People believe that your family have it all together too. I would have liked it...but reality is that it doesn't work that way. We are family and we don't always agree on everything...in fact in one year my oldest son divorced, my younger son lost his eye sight and my daughter ran away from home. Why shouldn't it happen to us just because we serve the Lord? Bad things happen to good people. We have to make peace with it.
- People believe that it isn't Christian to struggle with depression and that you shouldn't have low days. A memory that will always stay with me is an incident that occurred in those first difficult years at the Mission. I was in such a low place in my life that when a pastor's wife from our local church asked me how I was...I was honest and I told her. She wouldn't have any of it and told me that I wasn't meant to feel that way. Never in my life had I felt as ALONE as I did that day. I was floored and cried all the way home.
You can imagine that if people have these misconceptions it becomes very hard to share the REAL me. So in order to cope I decided I need MORE boxes. So on Facebook I made another box and I put all the "Friends of Vistarus" into this box so that I could post with privacy settings. This past weekend while I was teaching at a scrapbook store I had my AHA moment. I can't do this anymore! My boxes don't want to stay put - they want to touch the other boxes....so I have decided to just embrace this glorious messy life of mine. I don't think that God ever intended for me to have boxes but for a season they helped me cope. That season is now over I am going to live my life wholeheartedly. I don't care what people think or say anymore...I am not here to please them anyway. I hope you will stick around on this journey of my life.