man alive, i’m feeling a bit exposed right now.
no, it’s not because a friend just pointed out that this shot of me speaking at the NYWC a few years back (with glorious long blonde hair!) is on the home page of the town & country website:
i’m feeling exposed because adam and i (the youth cartel, that is) are pushing and pushing into new things, and it pretty much all involves risk. i have struggled on and off over the almost-three years since i left YS with the reality of not having the security of a salary. but god has been good, and things have gone well. jeannie and i had one significant cash low-point last summer, but we made it through. now, i’m looking at all the amazing things happening in our little start-up, and i’m stoked. any outsider who hears what we’re doing responds glowingly about our growth, and about how well things are going.
but i’m afraid.
i don’t want to be afraid. i want to trust. i want to have faith (please god, give me faith).
i love speaking to groups of teenagers and youth workers, and that’s also been a great source of income for my family these past few years. but my speaking calendar is pretty empty — comparatively — at the moment.
i think the youth ministry coaching program is just about the most amazing thing i’ve ever been a part of, and there are SO many possible cohorts in the wind. but i can’t seem to get ‘em landed, and am faced with fears like: what if this has run it’s course? what if i can’t count on any more of these coming together?
i and 75 other middle school peeps had our socks blessed off by the middle school ministry campference last year, and i know this year’s event will be just as amazing. but the registrations aren’t where i’d like them to be. and i’m nervous. i’m afraid, dang it.
the summit is a big risk for a start-up. 18 amazing and diverse presenters, plus all sorts of other fantasticality. the way the program has shaped up has so far surpassed my hopes for this baby. and the buzz is great — everywhere, i hear youth workers talking about it. but they’re not signing up. at least they’re not signing up in the quantities that i would expect for this thing. we’re leveraged out on this, our baby, and adam and i are just scratching our heads about how to get the word out (this blog and our other social media tools have so much less reach than the old marketing budgets we worked with in my days at YS). so, i’m afraid on this one.
on all of these, there are interesting commonalities: the “content” or “program” is nails. i’m encouraged and hopeful and confident and excited. but on all of them, it’s that dang security thing again.
jeannie told me yesterday that our bank account is looking startlingly slim. last year at this time, i had a great fall of income that we rode into the new year. but this fall has — all across it — questions of “will this work or not?” and it’s pushing me back to the questions of faith and trust.
i know i rarely experience the good life when i’m coasting, when everything is easy. i know that i’m wired for risk, and that no risk quickly feels boring and mundane. i also know that i lean into god when i’m risking. so that’s all good. but i don’t like the fear part. i know it’s not helpful, and i know it’s not from god. but it’s so dang hard to shake!
adam and i have this funny little dance we do. i’m fairly optimistic; and he is — imho — sometimes beyond that, into idealistic. when he’s exercising his super-optimism or idealism, i often feel the need to provide counter-balance, and point out the risks and possibilities for failure and loss. and when he’s more down, or worried (as he was in our “staff meeting” yesterday), i counter-balance with all the reasons we have for hope. i sound like a highly functional co-dependent, huh?
anyhow. i was struggling. i am struggling. and i decided to write this out as a prayer, in a sense. naming it all gives me perspective.
minutes after adam left yesterday, we had a registration for The Summit come through; and it felt like a little “i’ve got you” nudge from god.
yes, god, give me faith. help me to trust. and please, give me this day my daily bread.