Growing up, I had a messy room. Actually, it was beyond messy. I could hide people in it. And did. My step-mom would take guests to see it as a feature in our home. It was deep; it covered every surface, and even though I was used to living in it, it was overwhelming. And on those dreaded days when I had to attempt to clean it, the sheer scope of it all felt hopeless. Where on earth do you start?
The other night we were in the adult businesses we visit monthly, listening to a couple ladies we’ve come to know and love tell us once again about the hard circumstances they were facing. I couldn’t help but feel like their lives were like my messy room. Overwhelming to live in. And even if they wanted it to change, where on earth do you start?
Sometimes we think our approach to ministering to people with such deeply complicated lives should be to go in, sort through the mess, and try to ‘clean it up’ for them. Hoping we can have some sort of reveal like on Extreme Home Makeover, present them with their new life and ride away to tackle our next “project.”
But does that create lasting change?
When I was finally ready to take on the task of cleaning my room, be it through internal or external motivation (i.e. at the demand of the authorities that governed our home), I couldn’t do it alone. It was paralyzing to even attempt it alone. I needed friends to come in with me. But my friends couldn’t tackle my room for me. They didn’t know where everything went. Who knows where things go better than the person living there? No, they couldn’t do it for me but they could be with me. They could be there to ask the right questions, to encourage, to keep me motivated that the end goal was possible.
I believe in a lot of ways, the same principle applies in ministry. Those in our ministry circle don’t need us to be their clean-up crew. They need us to be there to encourage them. They need us to ask the right questions and to help them see hope in the midst of something that feels messy, hopeless and paralyzing. They need someone to say, “I’m here with you in this.”
Want to get a little messy and join our team?
Because His Love compels us,
Board Member, Connecting Team Member