June 26th 2011
The city is a very busy place, there are people and trains, buses and banks blaring music everywhere. The temptation is to wrap yourself up in the busy atmosphere. To fall in line with the business men and their nice white suits and clean black jackets. To become part of this incredible state of doing something whether it’s talking on your cell phone to changing the song on your I-Pod while you walk briskly down a crowded sidewalk doing the exact same thing everyone else is dong. Walking briskly down a crowded sidewalk talking on their cell phones and….
So many times in my life I find myself doing this figuratively, I’ve grown up in small towns, but lived at the same pace as I do when I blend in with the busy business men walking to work as I go to my next bus stop on my way to work. I have always had something to completely consume my time. A Job, the bands I’ve been in, 10:31 Ministries, AWANA’s, Youth Groups, Kids Club, drama and the list goes ever onward. I remember in High School when the Marching Band season would start she would say “See you in January” and in January she’d say “See you after theater season is over.”
As a teen I simply dismissed these comments as my mother being humorous. That is until I’d hit a wall half way through the semester and I would have to take a trip to Wal-Mart or whatever. I had a monstrous social life born out of a need to be recognized and loved by those who saw me. My Youth Pastor Lance would always tell me “You’ve got too many irons in the fire man” and that too I dismissed as foolishness.
When I arrived at college I continued doing the same thing. I tried out for the praise band (didn’t make it) started doing Kids Club, drama, church, 18 credit hours, 10:31 Ministries, Music and again the list when on and on. Again I heard the same thing, this time from my good friend Paul “You’re doing too much man, you need to slow down” but I was set in my ways, I was as stubborn as an ox. I had an ax to grind, I had to prove to people I could do whatever I put my mind to, that my disability had nothing to do with what I could and couldn’t handle.
Then came this summer, “We want you guys to have solitude time, to find a third place, where it’s just you and God” they told us. “We also want you to do something selfish, something that your soul wants to do” and these two things we were supposed to do once a week. Now I’ve never been good at the hour of bible study or hour of time in the word. God and I seem to function really well off the fifteen minutes of devotions I have in the morning. That seems to allow God and I to discuss deeper things during the day and into the night. I wasn’t ready to have solitude time, I wasn’t ready to do NOTHING and I wasn’t ready to be selfish.
I did thought, I work two jobs on Wednesday and Thursday, one at Christ’s Body and then down at Joshua Station. But I have the time in my schedule, and my soul has found a need, to go to a coffee shop after work. To unwind and spend that time with God, thinking, praying and reading. This has become my sanctuary, my “third place” as they call it, my chance to slip into the hands of God and just rest and relax.
This isn’t going to be popular with you more conservative readers but I didn’t go to Church today. Instead I found myself sitting at my third place, sipping a cappachino and talking to God at my favorite place in Denver. I don’t know why I did it, I was actually planning on attending Church of the City, but instead that’s where God led me, and it was good.
Sometimes we need to take off our suits, we need to stop doing and take time to be. This is the hardest concept for me, my I-Pod is always on and my Cell Phone is an extension of my ear. I do everything I can think to do for others nowadays, even wash dishes to the surprise of my roommate, but in all that doing I never be. I think to myself “If I don’t get this shower cleaned out that I won’t be a good witness to the next person who showers here” Then I forget to go sit in the back with the homeless guy and just be there listening to his stories. I forget to go be with God and I forget to take care of myself.
I have such a hard time with that last one, but it is really good just to sit down and do something your soul longs to do. It’s healing, relaxing and down right healthy, but we don’t do that enough. I encourage you to find a place where you can slow down, take out the ear buds and surgically remove your phone. That you would take time to stop doing and be like Mary in the bible and just be. As my boss Pastor John Moorhead told me on my first day “there is a time to be Mary and there is a time to be Martha, don’t always be a Martha” I tell you my friends, you will find yourself to be much more relaxed and life to be a little less hectic when you find your third place and spend some time with your soul.
I’m gonna go put on my robe now and watch some 1950’s Serials, because that’s what my soul longs for at the moment, then I am going to sleep. I pray you all will do the same, only do what your soul wants, not what mine does.