The banner over the season

My last season of ministry had a great big banner over it: COURAGE.

Every day required from me more courage than I thought I had. I needed courage to cross cultural barriers. I needed courage in the face of the police. I needed courage to ask for volunteers and commitment and lots and lots of money. I needed courage to follow Jesus.

Naturally, I'm wired for fear. Or, if not fear, caution. I could try to playfully blame it on my dad teasingly threatening to feed me to the gators in Alligator Alley or my mom hiding vegetables in my food, but I think this is just my disposition. Perhaps it's also the flip side of a God-given gift.

The same quirk in my personality that makes me cautious also makes me strategic. I ask "What could happen?" and discover opportunities and pathways to go forward. I also discover ways things could be painful or go wrong. But I don't think you can have one without the other.

Courage is a necessary character component for someone of my disposition. Without courage, I'll be crippled by fear. Developing courage didn't actually diminish my fear, it just helped me continue to move forward in the face of fear.

Courage continues to grow in me, but it no longer feels like the banner over this season.

I'm in a new season of life and ministry:

  • Although I'm still working for InterVarsity, I'm now doing it part-time: directing communications and resource development for LaFe, InterVarsity's Latino Fellowship.
  • I'm serving as an associate pastor: lots of responsibility but very little power or authority (just what I like!).
  • We added twins to our family last month (bringing our Total Tamayo Kid Count to 4).
  • We've moved from Florida to North Carolina, from the city to the country, from "the Capital of Latin America" to Pittsboro.
My season of life and ministry has changed. So, almost two years in, what's God doing now?

I have guesses. 

Maybe the banner over this season is HEALTH. I've developed several significant healthy practices over the last two years. I went to counseling. I'm spending good time with my family and learning to swing between work and rest. I've taken actual vacations. Maybe God is using this season to help me embrace my humanity.

Maybe the banner over this season is WRITING. I've always dreamed of writing books. I've almost finished my book proposal for my book on ethnicity in the Bible. I've written dozens of chapters in a fantasy novel. I've written hundreds of blog posts over the last two years (mostly over at the Connect Devotional). Maybe God is using this season to develop me as a writer.

Maybe the banner over this season is HUMILITY. In every corner of my life I have to answer to someone else. I have 11 bosses. I'm not in charge. I'm not the supervisor. I'm just a servant. On Sunday morning I'll be pushing tables with our set-up crew. On Friday afternoon I'll be filling out paperwork to get a new Bible study into InterVarsity's store. I do a tremendous amount of work so that other people can do terrific ministry. Maybe god is showing me the significance of small.

Whatever the "banner" over this season is, I'm excited to see what God will do in me and with me and around me. He's generous to include me in what he's doing in this corner of the world. And I'm grateful.

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