A year’s worth of lessons

It’s been just about a year since everything changed. A year since a youth minister was fired and arrested, a year since a church experienced the kind of hurt no church should have to experience.

It’s been a year of paying attention, a year of learning.  There are some lessons that I wouldn’t trade for anything, and others that I wished I hadn’t learned at all.

For good or for bad, this is what this year has taught me:

1. Loving two people on two different sides of an argument can be heart-wrenching.  But, it is not impossible.

2. Sometimes you’re going to feel like you have to pick sides. You don’t. Not really.

3. Just because someone is in a position of authority does not mean that they are a leader. Or that you should be following them.

4. Sometimes following Jesus means disappointing people who claim to care for you. It’s just part of it, and it’s okay.

5. People can walk with you for years, even through some of life’s messiest messes, and they still may never see you.  This is okay too.

6. When the bottom falls out, true character is revealed.  Make sure what people are seeing in you is integrity. And Jesus.

7. Real friends have real fights.  And they love each other through them.

8. Relationships are organic things; they need room to grow. So, sometimes there needs to be distance even in the best relationships in order to foster healing. This doesn’t mean the relationship is over. Take a breath, you’ll find even keel again.

9. Sometimes, though, you’ll bank on the wrong people and you will hurt and you will be disappointed. But, you will be better off without people who only take from you and/or who don’t let you be exactly who God designed you to be.

10. Pray.  Pray all the time. Pray about everything.

11. Don’t get so angry that you lose hope.  Hope is what sets us apart.

12. You may not end up where you expect. This might throw you into an existential and spiritual crisis.  And it’s okay.  Because once you’re done spinning, you will nonetheless see that you are someplace good.

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