Sounds intriguing, doesn't it?
Here goes the *back story* on it.
I was talking to a good friend the other day, and telling her about my life. I was catching her up on the new things going on.
And, as part of my saga, I told her how God had nudged me (pushed, prodded) into something lately.
You see, many months ago I was asked by someone in my new church to join the AWANA ministry. (In case some of you don't know – AWANA stands for "Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed" - from 2 Timothy 2:15. It's a Bible memorization program for elementary school children).
She invited me to come to registration night in September. It was an interesting evening. I had forgotten how much I am drawn to kids.
So, I was thinking that I was very close to signing up to help.
But then I was informed that our church has a policy that you must attend for at least six months before joining any ministry. It made sense to me, and I respected their position on commitment. So, I told everyone to remember me in January, when my "probation period" would expire.
Well, in the interim, I've got to be honest. I've gotten rather complacent. Gotten used to doing a lot of sitting around, doing my own thing. Gotten really comfortable with my rather empty calendar.
Figured that I would just let this opportunity with AWANA
pass me by.
Well, that didn't seem to work.
Shortly after the first of the year, I "happened" (God) to run into a woman that I rarely see at church (we go to different services). As we were passing in the parking lot, she said, "Oh, don't forget AWANA. Hope to see you there!"
I think I mumbled something really *pious* like, "Yeah, I'm praying about it…"
Two days later, while I was out of town, I got a call from "The Hub." Turns out that the woman who's the Children's Ministry Director had called. She wanted to ask me to join the AWANA ministry.
God nudge (push, prod).
Sometimes He's not subtle.
I figured that this was coming directly from Him. Because no one had forgotten about my "probation period." No one had forgotten about me. They even told me that they had been essentially *counting the days* until I was available…and that several things had changed, and they were losing many volunteers.
The timing was perfect.
(First little fist is raised at this point…)
So, I attended the monthly meeting of leaders after church. Now, given my druthers, I would have picked working with the little guys – the kindergartners, or the 1st or 2nd graders. Turns out that the *need* is with the T & T group (3rd-6th graders).
I listened while one leader bemoaned her *smart* but evidently very "rambunctious" group of kids. She said how hard it was to *keep them on task* and how she was constantly working to keep everyone "sitting still."
That's when the Children's Ministry Director introduced me as the latest volunteer.
This other woman turned around and looked at me like I was a life preserver. "You're going to be in my group, right?" – she said with barely-disguised hope (desperation?) pouring out of her eyes.
Yup, I am.
(Little fist raised again…)
So, later that week I showed up for my first official AWANA night. It was a madhouse! Kids everywhere. Now, I am acquainted with working with kids before. I spent many years volunteering in elementary school classrooms – with my own boys, and many years following.
It's just that it's been a long time since I've done that.
And I learned a new definition of AWANA in Sharon's Acrostic Dictionary:
A lot of
After two hours, I was exhausted. Rattled, run ragged, frazzled, fatigued – left with a rather huge need for an Advil (or two or five).
As I walked to the car, I looked up at the sky and said, "Lord, I don't think I want to be here…"
To which He said, "But I want you here."
(Another little fist shaking at the sky…)
Then I said, "But I don't want to work with the older kids."
To which He said, "But that is where I need you."
(Oooo…the little fist gets raised again…)
Again, I spoke: "Lord, I don't want to do what You want me to do."
To which He said, "Do it anyway."
Ah, I am learning more about Him.
He has a way of taking your word when you say you want to serve Him. He has a way of telling you what He wants you to do – and the where and when of it, too. He has a way of nudging (pushing, prodding) you into His purposes.
And then I think He waits to see if you'll obey.
Does He chuckle at the little fist I raise to Him?
I think perhaps He does. Because I know that HE knows I don't mean it in defiance. I know HE knows that I'm raising it to Him, not at Him.
He knows that what I'm really saying is this: "Oooh, Lord. I know I'm going to do what You want, but I just wish I didn't have to. (Sigh…) But I know I will because I love You."
And I know that He's going to say to me (with a smile): "I know. I love You, too. That's why I push you out of that comfort zone of yours. I want You to be MY servant."
That's the key – becoming HIS servant, not choosing how to serve Him. Doing what HE wants me to do, not doing what I want to do "for" Him. Learning how to obey Him when HE calls, not just showing up when I feel like it.
So, I climbed into my car, after a crazy *baptism* into the AWANA world, and cried. And in that moment, my little fist shaking turned into a hand held over my heart.
"Here I am, Lord. Use me."
To which He said: "I AM."
Bending my will to follow Him
"Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, 'This is the way you should go,' whether to the right or to the left.'" (Isaiah 30:21, NLT)
Has God ever called you to serve in a place or a way that really stretched you? Did you obey His call?
Linked today with:
Pamela at A SHELTERING TREE
Charlotte at SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"