‘cuz i need freedom now
and i need to know how
to live my life as it’s meant to be.
–the cave by mumford & sons
eight years ago i sat across from a young man, Matt Conner, with my good friend Lindsay. this young pastor was full of excitement to be planting a church in Anderson, and together the three of us dreamed, giddy with the possibilities God had in store. we were young, naive, eager for the future. before the idealism ran out, and the reality of ministry set in. before the struggle of birthing something brand new and the mistakes to be made in that. before the desert, and the wilderness, and the sometimes surprising waterfalls one stumbles on in those lands.
we launched the church and, for my part, it was an increasing struggle to stay committed. i learned so much about myself, what i’m gifted in, and even more so what i’m not (eh hem…children’s ministry…eh hem). i eventually left the community to strike out for Arizona, came back for a brief period, and then officially left when i moved to Indy. i’ve kept up with them, though, this beautiful little community in Anderson, as they’ve strived to serve an underserved population with little to no resources. they’ve established a thrift store, a bike hub, an after-school program for the neighborhood kids. they’ve seen young people come, and young people go. they’ve prepared people for ministry, and sent them around the world. they’ve struggled financially, but been blessed with so much life.
now, after 8 years of steering this ship, my dear friend is aiming to do what he has encouraged so many of us to do over the years: “Set your heart on God. Follow accordingly.” he is stepping down as pastor, opening himself to a new direction. he is living out what he’s taught. he is beautifully, and crazily, and recklessly living into the Kingdom. he is, as usual, setting an example and blazing a trail for the rest of us.
i have been wrestling, myself, with what it looks like to live the life i’m meant to live. the cave by mumford & sons (lyrics above) has been my anthem for the last year or so, as i scream the words and shake my head whenever it comes on (in private only…that may scare people). here is an excerpt from some journaling i did early this am:
“i think my greatest struggle lately has been having the confidence to live my life as i think it should be lived. to the outsider this won’t make sense, as i’ve taken incredible leaps and made tremendous changes (to my life). but inwardly, i battle constantly, allowing myself to be bullied by the thoughts and opinions of others.
still, something is scratching at the surface, pushing me to own my life, to choose what will be in it. Beth (Booram, a wonderful woman!) sat that to me a couple weeks ago, that i should choose the life i’m leading, instead of living the life others would choose for me. this is in line with the call of Christ, for He has a life for me, has created me for a certain kind of path. if i do not choose to walk it, i miss out on being fully myself.”
so, here’s to my dear friend, Matt Conner. here’s to our naive selves, and to those selves who’ve learned the hard, and the selves God has created us to be. you are such an encouragement, friend, and i am excited for this next phase of your journey.