Presidents' Message: 'I want it all, and I want it now' or How is it with your soul?

Presidents' Message: 'I want it all, and I want it now' or How is it with your soul?

Scarritt-Bennett Center: March 2018

Mission u, 2014, spiritual growth study really struck a chord with me. How is it with your soul? Pray, learn, mentor and transform were the four verbs utilized in this study. We are supposed to do these together. The question has been my check in with God ever since. But I haven't been using it the way it was intended. I haven't been in fellowship with others to grow spiritually. I haven't been checking in with other women walking the path of Christ. I have not been sharing my journey, my learning, inviting others to share.

You see, it all started with a response article. I was writing my monthly column and I realized it was to the wrong audience. I needed to change the subject and wrote about fulfilling our spiritual calling. I have not been doing that, I have been forsaking my spiritual growth. It was "okay" with my soul but was it well with my soul? This "check in" with my faith, with my Father was happening but I didn't have an answer.

"And then it happens, one day you wake up and you're in this place where everything feels right. Your heart is calm, your soul is lit, your thoughts are positive, your vision is clear. Your faith is stronger and you are at peace-peace with where you've been; with what you've been through; peace with where you're headed."

All of this started me thinking and opened up some unanswered, unchallenged questions in my own life. United Methodist Women, something you should know about me, I can only complain about a situation for a limited amount of time before I get frustrated about complaining and find a way to fix the situation. Complaining doesn't fix anything.

I found that every day when I was leaving work, I was complaining about it. Each time I met up with friends, I was complaining about my professional life. I am at church every Sunday, participating in the life of the church, but I am not investing in my spiritual growth. I am not attending Sunday school.  In my church, we have some very established Sunday school classes, one has been in existence for 40 years. Although I know I am welcome and invited to attend, I am intimidated by the history and relationships those members share. So, I put off going to Sunday school, forsaking my spiritual growth for comfort. Similarly, I have been using my commitment to United Methodist Women as an excuse instead of an asset. "I can't leave my job, it affords me the opportunity to say yes to United Methodist Women. I can't start a new Sunday school class, I am traveling too much."  

This simply isn't true. I decided to turn it over to God. Yes, give up control, and take the steps necessary to be ready for change and to trust God's plan for me. "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference."

So, to stop complaining, to "fix the situation," I came up with some quick fixes and some opportunities for growth.  

I "gave up" complaining for Lent. I am participating in my church's Lenten study. I committed to praying every morning and attending communion every Wednesday morning before work. I committed to attending Mission u in my conference this summer. I reached out to some friends in fundraising and marketing and updated my resume. I am quietly looking for new professional opportunities. I am not sharing this with my boss and coworkers, but I am putting my house in order so when that next opportunity comes along, I will be ready. I will not use my "busyness" with United Methodist Women and my established five weeks of vacation as an excuse to deny my talents and stay in an unfulfilling job. Any new job opportunity will see my growth and development through United Methodist Women as an asset. Anything worth doing will take sacrifice and compromise. My intimidation at the established Sunday school classes, may mean that it is time for a new class and it may be up to me to lead it.

I won't be able to make these changes alone. I will need support and I want support. And I don't expect these changes to happen overnight. Mission u in Indiana is not until July. I want to recruit some help and will need to work with church staff to start a new Sunday school class. These small steps in my life can feel pretty big, but the best thing they feel like is that I am doing something. I am doing something to make my life better.

I want it all and I want it now. How is it with my soul? It's getting better.  

I was recently asked by a United Methodist Woman what I am most passionate about in our work. Immediately, images of current events came into my head. Laws that girls as young as 15, changed recently from 14, can be married right here in the U.S.A. The right to drive is coming to women in Saudi Arabia. Last week more girls were taken from a school by Boko Haram in Nigeria.

I answered, "I want all women everywhere, from young girls to seasoned ages, to have every opportunity available to anyone else." And then, the images of the work of United Methodist Women came flooding in. Reusable sanitary pads, books, micro loans, cross culture partnerships in waring nations, afterschool programs for youth and children in our communities. I want it all, and I want it now.

United Methodist Women is full of "little fixes" that have made a big impact in improving the lives of women, youth and children. Economic inequality can sound like a big priority issue but there are "little fixes" each of us can do. Find your passion within this priority issue and find others to work with. We are one only when we are not working together and sharing in community. Together we can make change. In re-reading our spiritual growth study, I am reminded that it is in community that we grow. John Wesley wasn't asking God, "how is it with your soul?" He was asking others in community with him, growing spiritually with others.  

I understand that every woman may not want to travel to the moon. However, I want every woman to have the opportunity to travel to the moon and believe she is worthy to do so. I want every woman, youth and child to believe that anything is possible, and they can work for it. I know that as different as women are, we all want different things-education, children, a job, a home. Whatever you want, I want all women, youth and children to know that they can have ANYTHING. I want it all and I want it now.

It took hearing my own complaining overtake what was good and productive in my life to start to make a change, to take action and next steps to make my situation better. I challenge each of you. If you know you have been complaining about something, decide today to take one step to change it. It doesn't have to be a big step. Look for the next step in the work you already know. Ask someone for help. Pray, learn, mentor and transform are the actions we are called to perform for growth. How is it with your soul?

Posted or updated: 3/19/2018 12:00:00 AM
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