The One About the Decade

It’s hard to believe that in just two short weeks, our church, LWIC, will be celebrating ten years of life. For nearly half of my 21 years, I’ve been somehow involved in ministry, and to say that it’s all been rainbows and butterflies would be a lie. Continue reading to see what 10 years in ministry has taught this young 21-year old…


 

About two months ago, I was sitting up in bed reading and listening to some Civil Wars (duh), when one of their lyrics caught my attention:

Let me in the walls

you’ve built around.

We can light a match

and burn them down.

Watch the Dust to Dust video here:

And then the little voice in my head said, “Tell me about the walls you’ve built this past decade.” I closed the book in my lap and let out a heavy sigh. I started thinking about how many musicians, worship leaders, friends, family, and partners I’ve seen walk out the front doors of the church and never walk back in.

I thought about the many people that I was once close to and about how now I’m not even sure if they live in the same city as me anymore.

I thought about the people that I may have once called ‘family,’ and the ones who we spent Easters and Independence Days with…and how now, there is no relationship to speak of.

I thought about the laughs, tears, and close friendships that were shared with people who are now complete strangers to me.

I’m a relational person. I crave human contact. Sometimes, when people you trust, love, and are close to leave, and the relationship dissolves with them…you become so used to it that you become calloused to the feelings of losing someone you’re close to.

At one point in the past six months, I told myself, “Jonathan, you CANNOT allow yourself to feel the hurt of seeing someone leave again. You need to accept the part of being in ministry that involves people leaving and relationships ceasing to exist. They way to stop that is to stop building those relationships.”

I convinced myself that the best way to avoid feeling like crap again was to not get close to anyone. If I didn’t allow the opportunity to invest my emotions, energy, and love on people that would just eventually leave, then I wouldn’t have to worry about feeling horrible when they do decide to move on. Cause they ARE going to move on at some point.

The day I decided to stop building deeper relationships with people is also the day I decided that I wasn’t going to invest too much of myself in my current relationships. That day, I built a tall, wide, impenetrable wall.

Who knows how much time passed as I sat on my bed that night thinking back to the not-too-distant day when I made that decision, but again, the voice spoke, “Jonathan, I found a match. Let’s burn this wall down.”

The next few weeks after that night, He started teaching me about the importance of community and that with my wall up, I effectively exclude myself from community.

I’ve learned how absolutely important it is to surround yourself with people who love you, who aren’t afraid of calling you out on your crap, and who challenge you to be better. I’ve learned that I’m already surrounded by some pretty amazing people, and that I just need to let them in.

I’ve taken it upon myself to not be afraid of emotions that I feel. I’ve learned that it’s completely okay to call someone I trust and tell them about how angry, hurt, sad, or afraid I am. I’ve realized that there is so much power in doing life with people.

Everyday that I’m around these people that God’s placed in my path, I’m amazed at their strength, dignity, power, transparency, wisdom, faithfulness, bravery, passion, and honor each and every one of them walk in.

I’ve reminded myself that we are all created in His image. By reminding myself of that, I’ve realized that it is in community that more of Him is revealed, because we all exude and leak different aspects and characteristics of Him.

To my tribe at LWIC: Without listing any names (you know who you are), here’s to you. Thank you for teaching me these things without even knowing it.

To my long-distance friends, Andrew, Grace, Paul, Jeshua, Lisa, and Alex: Y’all are the best. Thanks for responding to my 4 am texts and phone calls. (And thanks for being the calm one when I occasionally freak out.)

Friends, I think it’s about time to light a match and burn those walls down.


I am on the leadership team at Living Word Church in San Antonio, TX. The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs held at LWIC.

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