This post is the first in a series about the recent Intermissionary Retreat.
One of the participants from Intermissionary Colorado, a young woman named Kara, caught a ride up to the retreat with me. That's a 14-hour journey across the Great Plains from Texas to Colorado, in a car, carrying two people who've met maybe twice.
Laughing about this later, one of my cheekier staff members said to Kara: Oh you poor thing, she had you cornered for 14 hours!
I've been told I can be a little invasive; that I ask questions inappropriate for certain relationship levels.
And guess what? I don't care.
Somewhere in New Mexico, I found myself saying "sorry, not sorry" to Kara over something I asked her. She replied, "It's ok, I like it when people me ask things."
People are dying for intimacy and connection in our culture, and we're looking for it everywhere it's not - Instagram, big-screens, porn, work whatever. I believe people are dying for someone to exhibit enough curiosity to ask inappropriate questions like:
How's that approach working for you?
If you were going to die next week, what would you do today?
What's stopping you from doing that?
Pleasantries and coffee talk are nice, but at Intermissionary, we only have seven days. So tick tock, let's get down to the way things are. When I offer to listen intently without interruption or talking about myself, I find it takes people approximately 30 seconds to spill what really matters to them. Crying is often involved, so yah, hanging out with me is fun.
Another of my favorite questions is:
If you believe Jesus is who he says he is,
are you living like YOU ARE who he says you are?
The Sunday school answer everyone gives is "Oh yes, of course amen," but dig one inch deeper and nearly everybody says "yes, amen, but ... first I've got to study more, pray more, forgive this person, forgive myself..blah blah blah."
You may need to do those things, but none of them alter who you are - your identity is fixed (see below). The good news of the gospel is if you choose Jesus, you're in, no matter what work you still have to do. That's it. Now, what do you want to do with that amazing free pass?
See how important that question is? Who in your life is asking you that?
It takes discipline to believe you are complete, loved, clean and royal. It's a choice that will make you look weird because the world doesn't think like that, and in fact, it will shame you for attempting to live like you do.
But do it anyway and watch your life change.
That's why I don't care anymore if people think I'm weird. It's fine. I am. If you are a follower of Jesus and you tell me you are racked with guilt, I'm going to ask some questions about that. Then together maybe we can dismantle the lies you believe and replace them with the truth of who God says you are. This is what Paul meant when he spoke of renewing our minds to the truth of God's word.
I'm tired of seeing Jesus-following women settle for cheap, trinkety deals that are beneath them. I bristle to hear women parroting half-truths, fabrications and outright lies that contradict the gospel, just because it's normal.
It may be normal, but normal in this world means broken. Jesus rescued us from broken and shows us how to live whole.
Freedom and Wholeness...that's what I want for myself and every woman who comes to Intermissionary.