What I Would Have Told Myself
On Wednesday night, I picked up two of my heroes from small group ministry world- Dave Treat and Russ Robinson-- who are in town to do some consulting and speaking. We grabbed some dinner then gave them the tour of their lodgings for the next few days-- the Zempel house. Russ wrote several books that proved to be extremely influential for me personally as I was just beginning to think and dream and experiment with small group leadership, and I was thrilled about the opportunity to hang out with him for a few days.
As I sent Russ off to the Aladdin bed (named for the Aladdin sheets and comforter on the bed...and no, there are no children in our house...don't ask), I was in awe a bit at the situation I found myself in. I had a Christian ghetto small group nerd star struck moment. I thought to myself, "I wish I could have told the 20-year old version of myself that she would be hanging out with Russ Robinson. So she should hang in there! That a day was coming where all the hard work would pay off. To keep sweating, dreaming, praying, and crying out to God to become the best small group leader she could because a day was coming when she would find herself in the same car with amazing leaders like Russ Robinson and Dave Treat, picking their brains about discipleship, Biblical community, leadership development, and the future of the church. A day was coming when she would be important..."
I think it was coming, at least initially, from a place of genuine honor and respect, but it quickly morphed into something selfish and self important. And it was right about there that I stopped myself. And thought about what the 20-year-old version of Heather would say to me today. "Keep doing it because of Jesus. It's all about him. It doesn't matter if you ever write a book. It doesn't matter if you ever speak to a crowd. It doesn't matter if you ever get to eat burgers with Russ Robinson and Dave Treat or hang out with them for a weekend in DC. Only Jesus is important. Keep leading groups because you love Jesus and can think of no greater honor than becoming the answer to his prayer that his disciples would be one."
And that's when I realized the wisdom of my 20-year-old self. There is something about the purity and simplicity of that time that I need to rediscover.
Then I heard my 20-year-old self add, "Oh yeah. One more thing. Don't put Russ Robinson in the Aladdin bed. You are 35 years old. Get an adult bed."