Preparing for a New Semester

For those who are wondering – Ashlee Andrews have finally made it back home. After spending almost six weeks apart from one another while she was doing research in India, she is back, and it’s so good to be able to see each other, share meals together, watch Hulu together, and pray together in person.

This Saturday and Sunday Ashlee and I are moving two houses down to another house in our community (don’t worry – I’m not about to ask for help moving!!!), and so for the last week or so every night we’ve been going through **file cabinets, closets, tuperware bins, storage, boxes, etc** and figuring out what we need to take with us and what we do not. It’s HARD WORK…not physically…but it can be pretty emotionally draining.

The love letter that I kept for some reason from my 8th grade girl friend…do I NeEd that?

That pair of khaki pants that I haven’t worn in like 7 years and that I’ve packed and unpacked on 5 different moves but have never actually worn…do I want to keep taking that with me again?!?!

My hundreds of 1990 USA Major Indoor Soccer League playing cards (yes – I really have those!) that were way back in the back of a bin in the back of a box in the back of the garage?!?!

I wonder if many of you are going through a similar process right now as you get ready to return to Bloomington…

The TRUTH is – almost all of us have this tendency to accumulate. To take on more and more and more, and moving is one of the easy times that we can hit that reset button – a chance to get rid of the extra things that we’ve been carrying around that won’t help us in our next place. Churches, organizations, and even college faith communities are no different. The tendency is to let tasks accumulate and build up. Things that were once a vibrant and integral part of a faith community after a few years are just done because, well, we’ve always done it that way! They become a drain on our hearts and souls if more of our energy is spent maintaining old things instead of listening to what new thing the Spirit may be inviting us into today. If you ever need proof of this just take a walk through FUMC…you can see the places where there is new life bursting forth, and also the places where things may have accumulated that could have been let go a while ago.

I am reminded by when Jesus sends out his disciples as missionaries into the world in Luke 10 – he tells them ‘Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals’. There’s always the tendency to let the things we carry with us (our preconceived ideas and biases, our wounds, our love of stuff, etc) start to hold us back from being who God has lovingly created us to be.

As I begin boxing up things to move, I find myself wondering – What the spiritual things are I can leave behind as I enter into this new semester??

My pride?

My fear of others rejecting me?

My need to demand perfection of myself and others – even at the expense of life and grace?

What are those false parts of myself that I have thought I had to carry with me – but perhaps I can leave them on the trail and travel lighter and quicker to do God’s work?

If you have any insights about yourself, I’d be honored and privileged to hear about them.

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