Another week has gone by.
I am learning so much I am exhausted. It feels like summer camp. You make a lot of progress, you learn a lot, you spend every waking moment seeking God and learning about him, and then you go back to "real life" and nothing much has changed. But I want things to change, things were not working at home, and I came here hoping that things would not be the same as before, and that i would really hear God finally, after so long of not hearing much, but I'm afraid that once it is all over, not much will have changed.
Today I am afraid to blog. I have started to read what I am blogging and emailing and think, what will people think of me? Am I beginning to sound like all of those 'religious' people that I tire of in about five minutes because they won't shut up and talk about anything else? And am I only saying 'godly' things now because the atmosphere of where i live is rubbing off on me, and this is all 'just a phase' and as soon as I go home I'll look back at everything I wrote and be self-conscious. Like all of those youth retreats and summer camps you go to as a teenager where you come home all fired up for God, having learned all sorts of new things, and the second you get home you kind of forget. And I don't want to only say things to fit in, to look 'super-spiritual' but only be saying the words and not be doing the actions. Today all of the things I've learned this week seem very far away, and it seems like a very Screwtape Letters moment: "And don't forget those blessed words; just a phase!" I know it is real. I have heard God this week. And I have spent a lot of energy trying to obey him when i hear him. And today I am worn out, and it feels like it was all in my head. I'm telling you all this in case you're getting skeptical that this is just a phase. Even now I step back and look at myself, and what i'm praying and learning and think, Is that really me?
My time here has been very good so far. This week we've heard from Garth and Dina on "Hearing the Voice of God." That's the same talk I heard last spring and was so excited about...and it's been amazing to hear it again when I'm more ready to listen. (As a sidenote, i'm sorry about all the spelling mistakes and lack of capitalization on both my emails and my blog. These keyboards have a mind of their own)
Some things that have been learned this week: Alissa and I were given a class to team teach an English class. We both know that we are strong minded, and that we needed to keep open communication. But we both agreed that the only way we could teach together was to completely divide up the days, because we both knew that we could be friends, but not work together. Then on tuesday, Molly sprung the lesson on us, and told us to go for it. It was a train wreck. We both tried to be in charge, I got my nose out of joint when she asked me to write stuff on the board while she taught, and I got so frustrated standing there doing nothing while she wrote that I sat down and let her have it. I was miffed because I've been a teacher, and she was using slang and contractions, and being their pal and that is NOT a good teaching style. We sat down by each other and she muttered to me, "This is NOT going to work." We did not talk about it for several days, except to say that we needed to talk about it. I don't know what God was telling Alissa, but I watched Garth and Dina co-lead. When one was teaching, the other would write things on the board, be supportive, and jump in if the other asked for help. Neither one was more important, and each was there to serve the other in any way they needed. That struck me. And one day they talked about when Jesus told his disciples that anyone who wanted to be first needed to be the last, and if someone wants to be great, they need to serve most of all. I was convicted. I prayed desperately every day to PLEASE make this work. And I wasn't given any ideas, except that I knew that God didn't want us to avoid conflict by avoiding teaching together, but he wanted us to co-lead, like Garth and Dina. And I knew he wanted me to go into our meeting and confess to Alissa how prideful I'd been, and how I thought that I needed to be in charge because she didn't know anything, and offer to serve her in any way she wanted from now on. Thursday Molly sent us out to plan our lesson for our first class on Friday. We went to the White Rose for a smoothie. We agreed that we needed to pray. (I really didn't want to confess unless Alissa was going to) I told Alissa everything, and offered to serve her any way I could. And you know, God told her the exact same thing to say to me. And once we were coming from the position of serving each other, we were able to work together and plan our lesson, and put God at the forfront, and we were even given our lesson plan -- a lesson on our strenghts and weaknesses, and how we need to work together. Pretty cool how that worked out. Now we just need to not get cocky about how well it went, and remember the same thing every single lesson. And we didn't have to divide day by day, we were able to team teach, and no one got offended, and no one got stepped on. We both had our parts of the lesson planned, and the other person was there to assist. And it worked beautifully.
One other small lesson, maybe I'll talk more about it later, because it's been difficult for me. I'm learning to do things when I think God is telling me to do them -- and he LOVES to send me things anytime I start feeling that a certain bank of time is MY TIME. For example, one afternoon I was lying in bed gloating over MY TIME, and I could hear my roomate loofahing her feet. I'd offered all of my friends a pedicure whenever they wanted it, but she wasn't there, and I hadn't offered her. And I felt like I should go give her a pedicure. I tried to ignore it. Go give her a pedicure. Not NOW! I'm so TIRED! Go give her a pedicure. I tried to wiggle around it, and told her with my eyes closed,"If you ever want me to paint your toes, let me know." Go down there NOW and give her a pedicure. Fine. "Would you like me to paint your toes now?" Yes she did. And while I did it, she was able to tell me how she was feeling, and where she was struggling, and I knew in some ways I could help her with a few of them. And I prayed for her, and went back to my nap. And if I'd kept fighting, I would have missed a really good opportunity to get to know the heart of a person i'd had difficulty connecting to, before. That's the kind of practical lessons you learn here ALL the TIME. And be sure not to think I'm wonderful. There are TONS of things i don't want to do very badly, and whine, and complain, and try to get out of. But each time i learn something...and maybe someday I'll get better at listening the first time...