Give and take

Giving ministry is hard work. Sometimes as I center into worship, I hear that still small voice I know so well. I tend to get anywhere from a word to a couple of sentences that repeat over and over. Sometimes it starts well before meeting as I prepare for worship. When I get the rumblings of ministry, I contemplate what the phrase means. I explore it in as many directions as I have time before something happens.

If I'm meant to share my message, I feel a quiver of fear and the power of the Lord. If the message is for me, I never get that quivering certainty that I have to stand. I'm often overly grateful for the handshake that means I don't have to speak. I hate giving ministry.

When I speak the Holy Spirit moves through me. I retreat to a quieter, smaller space and give my body over to the Lord. I'm only aware of speaking the phrase I was given, and anything I say to preface it. I rarely remember much what I say after the fact.

I hate speaking in front of people in general, but speaking deep spiritual and emotional truths is far worse. I don't want these strangers to have access to the deepest parts of me. I'd rather keep it secret, keep it safe. It is a distinctly dissociative event, which can be traumatic.

If I stand up and give the message the moment I feel shaky, the experience is just draining. If I postpone it until He lifts me off the bench, it's awful. It can take me several hours to fully reinhabit my body. When I resist giving a message, I get physically ill.

Several times over the past few weeks, I've had people bring up the idea that being a part of a meeting of any size is a give-and-take relationship. You can't just go to meeting to get what you need, you have to give back. Even when the meeting isn't meeting your needs and it feels like you have nothing left to give.


Elizabeth Bathurst

No comments: