Monday, January 25, 2010

Wow God! That was fast!

Saturday afternoon I had a mini-melt down. I went to the Advanced Training for our First Impressions Team at church. I had every intention of letting them know that I would like to be a substitute for people who had to miss a volunteering shift instead of a full-timer. You see I started doing the First Time Guest Tent volunteering full time in August last year. At that time it was all new and exciting and there were 3 other girls doing it with me. Slowly that number dwindled and for the past month I have been the only one there volunteering at the table for our 12:30 service. It started to wear on me because…

#1 it was a lot of pressure- if I didn’t show up, there would be no one there!

#2- it eats up A LOT of your Sunday. If I went to the 10:45 service and volunteered for the 12:30 every Sunday, I spent about 4 hours at church and you do know there are only 2 days in the weekend, so it gave me hardly any time to get things done around the house or relax.

#3- Because of that I wasn’t attending a service at all. And pouring myself into the church without getting “fed” with the sermon for an extended period of time was starting to affect me.

#4-It was lonely. I could hear all the other volunteers chatting at the coffee bar while service was going on, but oftentimes, the information table was unattended and I had to pull double duty and I had to make up the gift bags, take down the tent, and clean up by myself. I’m shy so even if I had time to “chat” I just couldn’t walk up and join the group.

But when I walked in to training, the team leader came up to me and thanked me so much for serving and begged me not to get discouraged and said they were really looking for someone to help me out. Then after I sat down at the table the campus pastor came up to me and said basically the same thing. It was like God saying “Sorry but you are going to have to stick it out a few more months.” The next commitment time was Feb.- July and as I sat through training I started to get more and more overwhelmed at the thought of doing this EVERY Sunday by myself until July!

I also happened to sit at a table that was all composed of a small group who were volunteering as a team for our new service location. So when we broke into groups to discuss the various needs and stuff I was so isolated at that table. They were all in a small group together and volunteering for a totally different service so I didn’t have much to add to their conversation. This led to that lonely, small feeling I get in such a big church and I felt my face getting hot, my throat constricting, and tears welling up behind my eyes. So I just got up and left.

I am not a crier and I certainly didn’t want to cry in front of these people I didn’t know for something so trivial. As I drove home I cried and cried. I did not even know why this was all bothering me so much. I talked to God and just told Him I was so tired and felt so alone and I didn’t know if I could do it. I was so overwhelmed with everything in my life and this was the thing that finally brought me to my knees.

I talked to my small group leader and my best friend and they were able to help me calm down. But I was still dreading church the next day. I knew if I skipped the service it would be just like it was last month and I would be miserable. But the thought of going by myself made me want to vomit. So I texted one of my co-workers who mentioned wanting to go to church with me and he agreed to go to the 10:45 service with me. I was so glad because I hate asking people to go to church with me. I am so afraid they will take offense and think I am one of those crazy Christians trying to “save” them because they are such a heathen, but really I just want someone to sit with me and I hope they can get something from the sermons and songs like I do. I learn so much listening to our pastor and the music is really good, so I just want to share it with someone.

Anyway, he came with me and I prayed on the way there that we would get seat because I heard last week there were 87 people in the lobby! We were running a little bit late and had to park in Siberia, but there were plenty of seats left when we got there! I was so excited. Thank you God! The service was good and I did not have that lonely isolated feeling. I was still dreading serving at the tent though.

When service was over we walked out and stopped by the tent to get J a first time guest gift. After saying bye to him I steeled myself for the long lonely time I was about to have. But guess what?! Not one, but two girls committed to volunteering in the tent with me during the 12:30 service! I was so excited! I knew one of the girls because she did the 10:45 service and had helped me out some in the past and the other new girl was really nice too! They said they had decided yesterday to do it and tried to find me at the meeting but I had just left! God had answered my prayers before I even prayed them! I just didn’t give Him time to tell me because I was taking all of this on myself and not trusting Him to take care of me!

Later that day I took a nap because it had been such a roller coater of a weekend. While I slept I had a dream I was in Panera with a friend and all of a sudden they started giving out money as a customer appreciation event. In my dream, I was passed over by the employees handing out rewards and didn’t think I was going to get anything. As I was taking my trash up, an employee handed me an envelope. I quickly scanned the contents and it looked like a couple ones, a ten, and a couple of fives. I was excited. But when I sat back down at the table and pulled out the money to inspect it better I saw one of the bills that I thought was a $5 bill was actually $5000! (Do $5,000 bills actually exist?) I knew immediately this was God giving me the money I needed for the Dubai trip (and more!). In my dream I was so overwhelmed with gratitude and amazement that it carried over when I woke up! (I know this won’t happen in real life because really? Can you see Panera doing something like that?) But it was the best feeling yesterday. I started to fear just a little bit less and trust just a little bit more.

Even though I know I don’t need to worry and I need to trust God more to take care of me, I just can’t stop. I can’t stop the “what if” game in my head. Things seem impossible sometimes and taking everything on my shoulders is just too hard. A lot of the times though I feel like my prayers go up into thin air and disappear. But this weekend was a reminder that God does hear me and He can do amazing and sometimes seemingly impossible things.


Sonja said...

What a great post Susie.
I am so excited that you are going to Dubai. When is your trip?
Please post on your blog how we can donate for your trip. I would love to support you. I'm not quite fully funded for my trip to Africa but I am sure when I get back, I will be able to contribute.

GinSpaghetti said...

Loved this!! 2 things, my Bible study group is doing Beth Moore's Daniel and we are talking about dreams and interpretation - super ironic that you posted about this! But also - you might like A Praying Life - it's an easy read but a great book about prayer. YAY for new volunteers at the table! :)

AnnQ said...

I'm happy to hear about how you get past that 'overwhelmed' feeling we all burden ourselves with -- good for you! :-)

Aritza, Goddess of .. said...

Awww, sorry to hear about how overwhelmed you felt. I too had a mini-meltdown this weekend but it was over something much more trivial..

I'm really happy you had a friend to call to go to church with you. Taking that "risk" to invite him brought great reward :) P.S. Who is this fellow ;) ?

Also really glad that more volunteers joined you :)

Erin said...

Thank you so much for talking about this stuff. Sometimes it takes that lonely isolated overwhelmed feeling before we realize we can't do it on our own but have to trust in Him who called us to it in the first place. I've been having similar feelings about my volunteer position with the youth. I'm so glad things are turning around for you!

Jen the Beachbum said...

Susan I have wanted to tell you this for a long time, but felt odd saying it. You know how I feel about organized religion and church, but when you asked me to go to church with you the last thing that I ever thought was that you were one of those "crazy Christians". To tell you the truth, I feel that you are one of the very very (I mean I can count them on one hand) few true Christians I have ever met (and I went to "Christian" school for 7 years).

That was a great story btw, I love a happy ending.