Tomorrow I leave for El Salvador with a team of 15 other people from Cuyahoga Valley Church. We'll be traveling together, sleeping together, eating together, playing together, praying together and basically everything together for 15 days! As excited as I am about our trip and the work we will be accomplishing, I can't help but be nervous about how our team will get along. Or more accurately, how I am going to let down my pride, independance and isolationist lifestyle and live in community with everyone else.
I'll admit, this is something that I truly struggle with. Nothing is more appealing to me than spending a day all by myself with my own thoughts, my own noises and no one to bother me. It takes a lot of effort for me to be around people sometimes... and I'm about to embark on 15 days of solid interaction!!
It's interesting that this has been on my mind lately, because God has been working overtime to show me that my isolationist mindset is not necessarily healthy or his intention for my life.
As I was sitting on my front step the other evening, I looked up and spotted 3 ants carrying a large dead bug down the side of the brick wall. I got closer and watched them as they worked together. There was something so simply beautiful about these tiny insects painstakingly working toward a common goal. If one of them decided 'Nope, I'm done! i've been workin' all day and i'm sick and tired of being with you guys. From here on out, I'm on my own!' their delicious(?!) dinner would have dropped and many other ants might have suffered for it.
When we, as Christians, decide to 'go it alone' and do it 'our own way' instead of laying our prerogatives aside and working toward a common goal, we severely hinder the impact we might have. I see this over and over in American churches today. In our culture we want to have the best program and the most progressive/unique way of doing church and the easiest/quickest way of serving those less fortunate.
I'm convinced that the saints living among us who God uses in dramatic ways are not those who are isolationists and independantly loud, but instead those who have a quiet, steadfast purpose and the ability to spur others on at all times. Not just at church and not just when it's convenient. They don't drop the dead bug because they are tired and need alone time. They don't go off in search of a smaller bug they can lift on their own without having to put up with other people.
I pray that God would challenge me to carry the big bug with the help of my comrades. That I would lay aside my independence, be willing to do things that are not 'my way', and that when I feel the need to curl my back to everyone and hide, that He would grant me grace and a peaceful heart. God, please bless our team with big bugs to carry together!