Thoughts from Q Nashville.

QAnother Q is finished and I am exhausted. It was a very different experience this year, yet it was exactly what it needed to be. Last year, the rhythm and content of Q felt so new and exciting. This year, the sheen had worn off a bit. That’s not to say it wasn’t a good week. It was. It just was more familiar.

This year I didn’t feel the compulsion to go to every single event. I didn’t have to take every single note I could take. I didn’t have to meet every single person.

I came into Q with an expectation to network like a boss. And somewhere along the way, God nudged me saying, “You don’t have to go out of your way to make these connections happen…just be yourself. That’s enough.” True to form, these words continue a larger movement of God in my life.

This year has been one of frustration, confusion, writing, and risk. For years I have struggled to find that balance internally of my personality. In the past, I used my strengths to manipulate people into getting what I wanted. So, in response, I swung in the opposite direction, shying away from most except my friends. Yet, there are good parts of my personality.  It is good that I can connect easily with people.  Sure, my personality can take a self-serving turn, but it does not always have to go that way.  Lately, the call continues to be one where I am welcomed. Just me. As I am.

Christine Caine closed up this year’s conference with some good, strong words. They were pointed words, directed towards a community that is full of leaders and culture makers, where the temptation to play the game of self-promotion is strong. Essentially her words were this: Stop trying to make yourself the next big thing.  And if anyone questioned that statement, she followed it up by saying: “Catching up with, imitating, appeasing and impressing the world is not prophetic.”

Wa-bam, right?

My thought to add to Christine’s sentiments: being “the next big thing” shouldn’t be our telos, our end, either. God is not calling us to hope for being a Christian super star.  I think of Mother Theresa. Surely, she didn’t go to the slums of India expecting to be “discovered”.  Her goal was God and others.  Notoriety found her, but I suspect it was not what she secretly hoped for.  I mean, she wasn’t walking around in the slums saying, “If I keep feeding these poor kids, someone’s bound to notice me.”

I suppose these thoughts are mostly directed towards myself. I feel the temptation. I see how close I could be to “making it in the Christian world”. I know enough of the “right” people to get a book published if I tried hard enough. I could play the game. All of this could be done in the name of sharing Christ, but I know how fickle my heart is. I know that amongst the good hopes, that there is a side that wants to been seen by others. And this concerns me.  Because I also strongly believe that the cult of celebrity is an idol. Yes, there are those who are well-known who eschew the cult of celebrity, but there are also many who dive into it. I don’t know why I’m telling you all this, except that it is the truth of my heart at this moment and I wonder if others feel similarly.

As it goes now, I have some sense of where God is leading me and the people to whom he has called me to journey with. I love getting to sit with people as they learn to receive grace and begin to believe at a deeper level that God really does love them.  I love giving others space to connect with God and teaching them practical ways how to do so.  I love when people feel free to speak the truth of their hearts to God and others.  Yet, my motives are terribly mixed.  God knows this.  He is also calling me to something much larger and truer than fame – himself.

God, do what you will with me. Help me to be wise and innocent in this crazy world. Help me to trust you and seek you as my telos. Amen.

One thought on “Thoughts from Q Nashville.

  1. Great read, Jen! Truth SO bears repeating. Our world is rife with ambition and the competition it feeds. I am sure this honesty of yours speaks to so many….

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