I’ve been beating myself up lately about something, and I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop.
About sixteen years ago, I started the women’s ministry at my former church with a dear friend. I went on to lead it for ten years. It was my passion, and I loved every moment of it. (It also drove me crazy, but I think that’s par for the course.)
Then about seven years ago, I went through a personal crisis that led me to become very interested in social justice. And when I get interested in something, I don’t just read about it. I do something about it. And I did. It became my focus for probably three years.
Until another personal crisis hit – my dissolving marriage – and I had to put all my energy into trying to repair it and then admitting defeat and walking away from it. This took about three years, and I’m still in this phase. But this crisis shifted my focus to hurting women in difficult marriages, and those going through divorces, and the Church’s response to abuse.
And so here’s where I beat myself up: I think I might be causally fickle. I seem to jump on a cause and stay with it for a while, almost positive that it will be “my thing” for the rest of my life, and I pour my heart and soul into it, and then, bam, something sexier and shinier comes along and woos me away, and I drop the previous cause like an old boyfriend and don’t look back.
Which leads me to waiting for the other shoe to drop: am I going to do that with this current so-close-to-my-heart cause this time around? Am I going to all of the sudden be bored with helping hurting women? Am I going to get tired of talking about bad marriages and bad divorces? Am I going to run out of things to say? Things to do about it? Am I going to drop this thing and go onto something else?
I have no idea. Just like I assumed I’d be in women’s ministry all my life, and I’m now not. And just like I then assumed I’d be championing AIDS awareness and clean water and international adoption in daily ways, and I’m now not. I have no idea if one day I will realize that my current cause is no longer my thing.
I don’t know if this makes my fickle. (Why do I always have to put myself down?) It could just be that I’ve been listening to what God was doing in my life and following the Spirit’s leading. (Heaven forbid, it actually be that I’ve been doing something right!)
Plus, and this is a pretty big plus. It’s not like the effect of my influence ended the moment I laid down my women’s ministry director torch or when I switched gears from social justice to difficult marriages. I have prayed for years that the work of my hands have eternal value, and I believe it has. Women came to know Christ personally through events I planned. Some learned their gift mix, some learned to lead teams or small groups. And there are a few children who were orphans that are now living in the homes of some of my friends, and I played a part in that. And there are some wells dug that perhaps wouldn’t have been. And I shared the good news of grace with a local woman who has HIV. It all keeps going. And women have always been the common threads. And justice is still what I’m advocating for. It’s all interrelated; it’s all connected.
So this is what I do know. I know that I want to keep following God. And I know that I want my life to matter. And I know that I want my pain to mean something. And I know that right now, I am doing what I’m supposed to be doing. And I know that I am going to keep doing this until God tells me to stop. And that’s not being fickle; that’s being obedient.\
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