Have you every seen the movie, “What About Bob?” Omigoodness! It’s hilarious and one of my favorites! When I was in college and working on my psych minor this movie was even more hilarious! The overall theme is for Bob (the patient) to learn to take “baby steps” to get over all of his fears. He has a fear of going outside. So, rather than thinking of just going outside, he’s to take baby steps to the door; baby steps through the door; baby steps to the elevator, and on and on. You get the idea. I couldn’t help but think about Bob today and how his doctor’s advice of taking baby steps was very appropriate for me right now.
Having come from a very dysfunctional, very abusive church where my husband was pastor caused me to fear. To be afraid of the women in the our current, healthy church. To fear that someone, anyone, would come up to me or David and yell at us for no reason and make us feel as small as insects. To fear that if we came home from a weekend trip away we would find our belongings out on the curb. To fear that at any given moment someone would come pound on the door and tell us David was fired and to be out by morning. God mercifully took us out of that situation and in His grace and mercy has placed us in a church that is giving us healing. However, I still have some of those fears. As I’ve mentioned before I’m seeing a counselor to work through this stuff. I’ve met with her twice and have already felt the healing power of just getting that stuff out. I am feeling ready to start taking baby steps again in this new church.
You see, I grew up in church, my parents were missionaries, and church has always been a very important thing to me. I was brought up that if you’re a believer in Christ you are not merely to take up room on the pew, but figure out where/how God wants to use you in that church. Where can you be of service, what can you help out with? This means figuring out your spiritual gifts and then acting on them for the benefit of the body, as Scripture tells us. When we started serving at our previous (and first place of ministry as husband and wife) church I came into it with all of this upbringing in mind. There was a lot that needing doing at this church and when I saw a need, and it was something I knew I could do, I did it. I always made sure there was no one else who wanted to fill the need, always made sure I wasn’t stepping on toes. This included doing the weekly bulletin (that NO ONE wanted to do), the Sunday morning announcements (again, that NO ONE wanted to do) and other things like leading vacation Bible school. What I didn’t realize at the time, but see now, was the trouble-makers in the church were setting me up. What I saw as simply serving in the church and moving out of my spot on the pew, others saw as prime ways of setting me up to fulfill their agenda. It all boiled down to them letting people know that because I was doing the announcements on Sunday morning (remember, that NO ONE else wanted to do, despite our almost weekly asking) I was trying to take over the church and run it–no lie, those very words were spoken to us. Sigh. This really hurt me at the time and still stings a bit now. I truly was just trying to do my part in serving the church but apparently the screaming minority wanted to use that for their own thing.
I say all this to bring me to this point: this past Sunday I took my first baby step to getting back into serving in church. I was the liturgist for the morning. I loved it! It felt so good to be doing something again. I know it may not seem like a huge thing, and really in a lot of ways it wasn’t, but it WAS a baby step. Slowly but surely my wall is being broken down and is crumbling around me. For this, I am thankful. I have been in much prayer the last few months that God would be showing me ways to go about serving in our current church. To show me where there are voids and where I can use my gifts to serve the body.
Baby steps, that’s all it takes. Just baby steps!