What was I thinking? How did I get myself into this? These questions pop into my mind fairly often. Whether I find myself wedged/stuck in a tiny tunnel three hours into a cave crawl, hanging off the side of a small truck overloaded with people and animals heading through the Sahara desert hours from the regional capitol, or wearing a purple Barney dinosaur suit for a children’s Easter egg hunt, these moments raise questions to my decision making process. I realize that I can be very impulsive and get excited about most anything. It is not until I am living out the cool idea where reality sets in. Calculating the over 9 hours that I would be stuck in a cave if I could not unwedge myself was less than ideal. The real possibility of the small Peugeot truck loaded with over 30 locals and their animals and goods rolling down a sand dune made the extra dollar that I refused to pay to ride in the cab moot. And the Barney suit, well, that was social suicide if someone found out that was me.
While these examples are not everyday situations I face, I do find myself looking at tasks, thinking about possibilities, and wrestling with change. I believe that we are authors of our lives, and how we choose to move forward not only defines us but speaks to the beliefs and values that we hold sacred. Finding ourselves on a threshold and debating on whether or not to take the first step into the unknown is wrought with emotions – exhilaration, fear, uncertainty, hope, and so on. God is moving in the world. The world is changing and pushing back on us, our beliefs, and ways in which we express ourselves. We can reject God’s work in the world and recreate a church that is similar to that in the New Testament or we can hone our senses to seeing the world God is shaping.
When I find myself over the threshold and wondering what I have gotten myself into, I am reminded of some pearls of wisdom by Eleanor Roosevelt. She said, “The danger lies in refusing to face the fear, in not daring to come to grips with it. If you fail anywhere along the line it will take away your confidence. You must make yourself succeed every time. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” This concept along with Mary Schmich’s “Do one thing every day that scares you” have been influential in shaping my attitudes for trying new things, learning new skills, and tackling obstacles that appear to be to daunting or out of my skill sets.
If we are going to be relevant to those outside our church walls, then we are going to have to be creative, develop skill sets, understand the beauty in our neighbors, and engage the world to the best of our abilities. With time and experience, these moments of uncertainty, twinges of fear, and self reflection and doubt will eventually subside and be replaced with a confidence and maturity for living with ambiguity in the face of the unknown. I cannot say that questions of doubt and disbelief for finding ourselves in tricky situations will not emerge, but I do believe that these are the spaces where God is active and calling us to for Christian witness, service, and mission. As our churches continue to be receptive to God’s call, we will face many thresholds. My hope is that we model a church exuding hope, excitement, and passion for being followers of Christ.