Loving Houston Blog

Stories, Tips, & Inspiration

Stay Put… Or Not?

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Wow, can you believe school is starting in just a few short weeks? As schools make their final preparations, many are still in search of a committed, caring church partner. Would you consider what our dear friend Melissa Toon has to say? (You’ll want to read this – she’s a great writer!)

I have heard many wilderness experts say, “If you get lost in the woods, stay put in a safe location and let the search party come to you.”  I always keep this piece of advice in my head when I am out hiking. At times, I employ this same nugget of wisdom in other areas of my life where maybe it isn’t as helpful. 
More than once, I have found myself sheltering in a more figurative place waiting on someone or something to find me. The journey starts off with my heart being led in a direction by God toward a cause, a ministry, or a specific community. Then, off I go. I research, I learn, sometimes I even venture out and serve. Then, it happens. Before I even know it’s coming, I find myself stuck and feeling a little lost. You can even throw in a little bit of overwhelmed-ness into the mix to describe my stalled out spot. I heard about a need, I learned about a plight, I connected with a community, but then my heart and my head couldn’t process what to do next. It was all just too much. I couldn’t “fix” all of it, so I sat and addressed none of it. I put into practice what any good park ranger would advise me to do. I sat and waited. Surely at some point someone would show up and tell me how I was supposed to solve this heart-moving, sometimes heart-wrenching, situation I had found myself aware of. This community I was now awakened to needed my help. When I get the perfectly laid out plan of how things will all work out, I will for sure get started.  
Unfortunately, while we as churches and people sit waiting on just the right plan of action, others around us are starting to lose their grip on the ledge they are precariously clinging to. The people hanging by a thread don’t care if our plan is perfect. They just want us to get up and start reaching. Now hear me out. Plans and purpose are very important. Even on a hike, we know what direction we are going before we set out. The same should be true when we set out to link arms with people who need an arm to link to. We need to proceed with wisdom toward the things we see calling for attention. What we don’t need to do is get tangled up in the weeds. We don’t need to let all the challenges flagging down our attention in the world overwhelm us to the point to where we just sit down and watch the fingers holding onto that ledge slip off one by one.

Instead, what if we pick a set of hands? What if we ask God to help us really know in the simplest of forms what He designed us to direct our passions and energy toward? We know we are not God’s gift to everything, but we are gifted by God for something. When we know that piece of vital information, then we have a filter which we can pass all the input we receive about the challenges around us through. That’s the first step toward no longer being stuck waiting for direction. Now we know which way to start walking and who we are walking toward. 
I believe God is offering us a chance to be a part of the change we want to see in the world right now if we are willing to lay down our plans for His. If we are willing to open our heart and lean into the conversations He has already started around us, I believe we will find the next right step on the path toward change He is laying out for us. 
If you feel stuck and unsure what direction to head in, ask yourself and God these questions:

  1. What issue or challenge in the world around me breaks my heart most deeply?
  2. What skills, abilities, or resources has God gifted me with?
  3. What are a few ways questions 1 and 2 intersect?

At Loving Houston, we believe that you will find your intersection of heart and action within the walls of a local school. If your heart is broken by human trafficking, mentor a young student so she won’t be an easy target for this industry. Mentor a young boy so he has a healthy respect for girls at an early age. If childhood hunger keeps you up at night, partner with a local nonprofit who provides meals for a local school. If you want to slow the drop-out rate of high school students, start reading to an elementary class so they see that literacy is fun and important. Loving Houston wants to be a part of preventing the challenges that make the headlines on the nightly news. When we help churches partner with local schools, we believe we are doing just that.

Register for a 101 Workshop to learn how to start a school partnership, or a Leaders Luncheon to share ideas with fellow church-school partnership leaders: https://lovinghouston.net/workshops.   

Melissa is the “Do Good” Director at The Bridge, leads the church’s partnership with Pink Elementary, and writes periodically at notyournormalbeloved.blogspot.com

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