Friday, March 4, 2011

Follow Through Friday

I have a love-hate relationship with my Follow Through Fridays.

I love them for about 24 hrs after I post my results. My important, but not urgent, project is done! Oh, that feels good. But I hate them the rest of the week. My weekly project is like a phantom backpack that weighs 20 pounds - and I wear it until  the Thursday before my next Follow Through is due. Resolved:  This week I start shedding that weight a little bit every day - starting Saturday. I'll report how it goes.

For all of you who forget from week to week what my follow through is, I decided to remind you what I said last Friday.

Next week: I know this is vague, but I can only say that I have a major loose end to tie up in regard to a project I've been involved with for about 4 years. I'm not really sure how I'll describe the resolution next week, but I need this deadline to overcome my inertia in regards to it.

If there's one Follow Through that I've wondered -"Did I make this too public?" - this is it. It's easier to show a messy cabinet in my house than a messy cabinet of my life. But life cleaning has longer and better ramifications. And what I thought I needed to do to tidy things up, and what really needed to happen, surprised me.

In 2007, I was asked to head up an Intercessory Prayer ministry at my church. I agreed - sensing God's leading and blessing. The name: Pray: Night and Day. The basic plan: An individual signs up to pray 1 hour a week in the prayer room at our church. In the room are 2 notebooks. One contains our church directory and the other contains prayer requests that are submitted to the church. During your designated hour, you divide up that time - praying through the directory and then for the submitted requests. I also stressed the importance of seeing your time in that room as a "mini-retreat" in a person's week.
Our flyer designed by the talented Katy Roweton
It began as most things do - with excitement and enthusiasm. This was not only on my part, but also on the part of the almost 30 people involved. The testimonies from the early days of those hours in that room spoke of sweet communion with our God. I heard those words from people and I spoke them myself. Then, almost imperceptibly, a waning. From me. From others.

I could list reasons -valid reasons, why I think that happened, but in the end, the buck stops with me. When I was in leadership at Bible Study Fellowship, there was a quote that stuck with me: "A leader can only lead people where he (she) is willing to go." I wasn't going where I needed to go - at least in regard to this ministry.  And I haven't been going there. It's been slowly fading to black. And I've been hoping nobody would notice.

But it's been there, in the back of my mind. What once was a source of joy - has become a millstone. And I'm glad that not doing the right thing feels like that to me.  And I guess I'm thankful for this Follow Through Friday. This accountability has brought freedom.

When I posted last week, my goal was to "turn in my card," so to speak. I was going to get all the papers and information I have about PN&D to the staff liaison at church and tell him to run with it. No more millstone for me. I even made the phone call to say I'd be dropping the materials by.  However, after that phone call, the anticipated relief and peace were not there. It simply felt like I'd left something undone. The Holy Spirit, working on my spirit, used a voice from my past to free me. My dad always told us kids:

                  "Leave things better than the way you found them."

I was not leaving PN&D better. It was not going to be easy for the staff liaison to sift through what's left of this ministry. I was to follow through with this - at least to a point of a workable, clear transition to a new leader. When that realization hit me, the anticipated relief came. Freedom. Freedom, the real freedom, always comes when you do what you know is right. James 4:17 speaks to that: "So whoever knows the right thing to do, and fails to do it, for him it is sin."

So, I'll be seeking God anew in regards to this. My prayer, my hope is to honor Him by leading well and finishing well. I want to finish well.

Next week: Mary Grace begged last year for a raised garden. We talked about it a lot, but it never happened. She's begging again this year. This time next week, we'll have it planned and materials ordered or bought.

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