As I made my way down the hall my mind ran wild with the possibilities of what I could have done wrong. I was heading toward my boss’s office and our upcoming 1:00 meeting. ‘Did I say something I shouldn’t have’, ‘did I forget to put something away’, pounded against my heart as I pushed against the heavy dark brown door and slowly entered the square tan walled office.
“Hey Amy,” I offered warily
“Hey, come in and take a seat,”
The next few minutes were spent with chit chat while my hands wildly described the littlest of details unable to silence the insecurity.
“So I really called this meeting because I wanted to talk to you about something,”
“Oh, here it comes”-I thought to myself as if I was still a child facing my parents; afraid of some ominous punishment for a mistake.
“Okay,” I replied
“As you know there is a position open on my team as a team pastor, and I believe you would add a great deal to us. Would you consider joining us as a team pastor.”
“uuhhhhh…that isn’t what I was expecting to hear,” I sputtered.
“What?? Did you think you were in trouble,” Amy replied in astonishment.
“YES,” I laughed out
“Well now that we have that out of the way, what do you think? I know you will want to talk to Charles about it. Right now though what do you think?”
“Well….” I started and then just let the silence come. Amy is one of those impressive people you can sit in silence with. It doesn’t make her feel awkward or uncomfortable, it is simple a part of the conversation. So we sat in the silence.
And in a little more silence.
“Well, I don’t know. I mean yes I want to be a team pastor, and yes I want to talk to Charles. But more then anything Amy, are you sure?”
“What do you mean am I sure,?”
“Are you sure you want to pick me. I mean I am a mess. I can be edgy, I can be insecure, I don’t always say the right thing, I can sometimes follow the rules to a default…..” And I wish I could remember all the other shortcomings I listed, cause there were a bunch. I went on for a while and Amy let me.
Finally, I stopped.
“Katie, I am sure all that you are saying is true. I just haven’t met that person that you are talking about,”
“But Amy what if I do something wrong, and say something edgy or I don’t but someone takes it that way and they come back to you and complain and I have hurt somebody. I mean I am a mess and I will possibly make messes!”
“Katie, it doesn’t matter if they do or if that happens…because I KNOW WHO YOU ARE and there is no mess too big that I can’t help you clean up. I am not afraid of you being messy,”
Whatever tears were being held back at that point flooded through releasing that child waiting for ominous punishment. Opening up elbowroom in the belief system of I am too broken, too messy.
That conversation came back to my mind last Sunday as I was standing in church. The tears fell easily remembering how known I felt in that moment; even more known then I knew myself. Amy loved and mentored me from the place of ‘please make a mistake’ and ‘trust me to love you through it, because I trust you’. I trust who you are and if you make a mess I trust you to clean it up, to make right a wrong, and apologize for whatever you may need to along the way. There was no punishment for mistakes or poor choices. It didn’t mean Amy never felt let down or sometimes frustrated, it just meant she could tell me and she trusted I would own my part, apologize and move on.
She trusted me when I wouldn’t trust myself. And you know what happened?
After 3 years I realized, God was saying the same thing to me.
God does not care how messy I am, or what I am working through. He sees all of me and he isn’t panicked. He isn’t aghast of my decision, my thoughts, my ideas, my dreams, my shortcomings, or my mistakes. He actually wants to live a life with me in which I trust him with my mistakes because it reveals his love. It carves out of everyday life this cavity of space that says, I am worth love not because of perfection but simply because of who I am. My mistakes and shortcomings are not the only things that make up my design; they are simply a part of me that continue to offer the opportunity to see how greatly loved I am.
How much are we missing this with our drives for perfection?
Or with our lifeless views on relationship with Him?
Or with this perception that He is trying to work the humanity out of us?
Or how many of us are holding those in leadership to these perfection standards; broken hearted when their humanity shows?
And how many of us chose to be the Amy’s of the world, and say ‘I see your humanity and choose I say there is no mistake too big that we can’t clean it up’?
I am less messy then I was 3 years ago, but I am still messy. I still make mistakes. I also KNOW WHO I AM, and that those mistakes are simply a piece of my humanity that I am more comfortable with. Amy’s belief in me, gave me the elbowroom to beat away at the shell of lies that kept me small. Her willingness to stand in the gap and say “I see what Jesus sees’ gave me the strength to keep beating away at the shell. Today as I walk around more whole I find myself compelled to make the same space for others, not just because it changed me but also because I believe it is simply apart of the gospel. John 13:15-17 The Voice Version says: 15 I am your example; keep doing what I do.
Let us be a people who do that.