I tend to avoid reading into things too much. Wherever the possibility of coincidence is an option, I usually choose it. I am often skeptical about folks who say, "God's trying to tell me something." I guess I just don't want to put words in God's mouth just because something happened to me or because I witnessed something. I've seen people attribute some pretty silly and superficial things to God's voice and, subsequently, I've seen as many people do some things that were from anyone but God. I try to avoid that. That's just me.

That being said, I think God is trying to tell me something...


For the past several weeks, this one word has been popping into my head..."Expand." The curious thing is that I don't know why. It's not like it has been a buzz word for any reason and I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with my waist-line (although the connection could be made). Every time I sit down to write, every time I begin to pray this word just wants to come out. Very curious indeed.

Recently, more than ever, I've been tempted to speak my mind on issues that I have determined not to for the sake of inclusivity and unity. Some of these issues are more important than others but I know that if I become too vocal on them, my relationships with my church and with my network of colleagues in Ramona would be affected and it might hinder me from being effective at the things I've been called to do here. How can I ask others to set aside differences and work together if I cannot do so myself? So it has been healthy, in this stage of ministry and in this particular community in light of the good we are doing together, for me not to bring up those issues. But, as I said, it's tempting sometimes. Sometimes I get in a mood and I just feel like putting it out there. And it gets all the more difficult to keep my mouth shut when others open it. When others assume that the differences aren't there and when others "get political" it gets hard to see why I shouldn't (and in Ramona it seems that you're only allowed to speak up if you're a conservative). If I were to speak up, it would almost certainly narrow my influence and jeopardize my credibility. But who says that's bad!? Perhaps I should have been speaking up all along!! Perhaps I've been taking the path of least resistance, putting my own credibility before my values...

But perhaps "expand" is all about this... perhaps in light of my temptation to lose focus and to speak up on issues, as important as they may be, which are peripheral to the work I've been called to do, God is reminding me to expand my influence and to expand partnerships in the community... not to narrow them. Perhaps I need to leave those issues to others and focus on what I'm here for... including bringing people and churches together around what they have in common, a commitment to Jesus Christ.

I want to be a bridge builder... I really do! And I believe that I have been uniquely positioned to speak to opposite sides of the spectrum and to understand where people are coming from. I believe that this is close to the heart of my vocation. To do this, it means that sometimes I need to refrain from choosing sides... at least publicly. Sometimes it means standing in the middle of the brokenness, not on one side or the other, and weep for both sides.

Not even sure why I'm making this connection... but perhaps this is where God is calling me to expand.