Do Something! It’s Better than Nothing!

September 17, 2015 by cloften  
Filed under Bible, Church and Leadership

What keeps someone on the diving board?  You see your friends diving off the diving board.  It doesn’t look that hard.  Everyone seems to be enjoying it.  It would also seem that no one ever cracked their skull diving into the water from a diving board 2 feet above the pool.  (Cue people going to Google: “cracked skull pool diving board”)  Lots of people are doing it without a problem, not getting hurt and having a great time.  Yet, there’s always that one friend who gets in line to jump and just won’t dive.  They act like they are going to, but then they don’t.  They either stay on the board or just jump in feet first refusing to dive.  “I’m going to do a pencil!”  (Pencil is not a thing.) Why? They think they are going to get hurt. They think they will look stupid.  It just seems scary.  They think that they just need a little bit more time.

Taking that time never helps. They think about it some more, they let their friends go one more time.  They get back in line and still they stay on the diving board.  They don’t move.  They can’t jump.  They are paralyzed in their own mind.  They won’t do a baby dive, a half dive, an accidental belly buster.  Instead they do nothing.  They have decided that doing nothing is better than doing something.

There are many of us standing on the diving board of serving.  We are convinced that if we were to jump off that diving board that we are going to get hurt or embarrassed.  We might do damage to someone that we are supposed to help.  We might be miserable.  We might be made to look foolish.  So instead, we walk past the diving board, maybe put a foot on it but then walk by.  However, unlike at the pool, you probably don’t have friends in the water screaming at you and calling you a big chicken.

Well, allow me to be in the pool and exhibit a little positive peer pressure on you.  “Get in the pool you big chicken.  God wants to use you and he can’t use you if you’re walking around doing nothing like a big old chicken.  Get in the pool.”  Some of us are too worried about what our first dive into ministry will look like, so we fill out all the preference forms and personality tests and we read books and we are trying to figure out how to do the perfect dive, how to find the perfect ministry for us to do.  Some of us aren’t even doing that.  Some of us are looking at the pool, shaking our heads and we just keep walking.

Again, similar to diving, you can’t really figure out how to serve in a book.  Just jump.  Make a bad dive.  It will feel awkward but you will at least get some feel for it.  The people in the pool will tell you what you did wrong and you get back up and you dive in again.  With practice and diligence you learn how to dive.  That same practice and diligence will show you where God wants you to serve.

Take my middlest daughter, Lauren.  She loves kid’s ministry but she kept having a hard time in different classrooms.  Being a PK, she will go where she is directed, but the kid’s director wants her to be happy.  At first the kids were too young, she liked hype and roughhousing, not potty visits and blank stares.  They needed care, and that’s not her thing. Then the kids were too old.  She was 14 and some of the kids in her class were 10.  They didn’t respect her and thought that they finally had a teacher that they could legally get mouthy with.  Lauren did not like that at all.

Finally, she ended up in the kindergarten class.  She loves these kids and they love her.  She’s young enough to be fun but old enough to command respect.  I walked past her classroom one morning and she was barefoot standing on chairs by the whiteboard drawing a complex diagram of how she had sprained her finger that week on a mission trip with a skateboard.  At the table were 10 enraptured kindergarteners who thought that she was the best thing ever.  (They assure me that she brings the same energy to teaching the actual lesson and keeps their attention the same way, not just for injury reports.) On the other side of the classroom is sweet Britt who quietly is the adult presence, keeps everyone on schedule and manages the details. Meanwhile the one and only Lauren Loften is holding court with her people. She was placed at first somewhere she didn’t want to be.  But it was only in doing that that she found exactly where she was meant to be.

What you need to do:

1)      Take all the opportunities that are available to you and just pick one.  PICK ONE! Don’t worry that you won’t pick the perfect or best one right away.  Doing something is better than nothing.  You won’t learn what is best until you start doing something.

2)      Serve long enough to figure out if it’s a good fit. I don’t want to put a time frame on it.  If I say do it for a month and it’s a monthly opportunity, that’s not enough.  If it’s a daily opportunity to serve and I say 3 months, that can be too long.  Just serve long enough where you can really know if it is a good fit.  Everything is awkward and uncomfortable at first.  Let the new and awkward wear off and then see.

3)      Ask yourself 2 very important questions.  Am I good at this? Do I like doing this? Those are the most important questions to ask in evaluating a serving role.  Ideally, you will be serving in a way that you love and you are skilled at it.  If you are not, then find something that you do love and can do well.

4)      Finally, if it’s not a good fit, ask yourself why. Was it too behind the scenes or not behind the scenes enough?  Were you being asked to use a skill you don’t have? Were you serving in a good way but with the wrong age group or people?  It could be any number of things.  If you are having a hard time evaluating, talk to the person leading the ministry or to a friend and ask for their help.  You find your best fit by knowing why other roles weren’t a good fit.

Bottom line.  Do something.  God has great plans for you.  He wants to use you in a big way.  Find what that big way is by doing something instead of nothing.  Get off the diving board and dive in.  A great adventure awaits.

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