I've spent quite a bit of time in the recent past talking through my ideas on this with Meredith. What a great friend she is to listen to me and help me sort through my thoughts. I'm so thankful for her. She is my sounding board and often my support system in each of my endeavors, no matter how crazy they get!
I was struck by something just today that brought back to the forefront of my mind the concept of sacrifice. I find it easy to overcommit. My love for people and my passion for life often get the better of me. I err on the side of overcommitting. Before I know it I have agreed to a million things and I cannot give adequate attention to any one cause. This has been a bit of a vicious cycle in my young years. When I moved to Tampa I determined that I would enter each commitment with caution and would only slowly add things to my "plate". This was wise advice given by my Dad who knows my tendencies.
In my recent life there are two main categories that I'm placing my sacrifices in. Those in which I'm making sacrifices to contribute to financially and those which I'm sacrificing in order to dedicate my time too. Now being only 13 months out of college I'm far from rich but even still I place a higher value on my time than my money. When you're 23 time is one of your biggest assets!
When I was home last I had the chance to sit with my Dad and talk about life. One of the things he challenged me to determine in my life is if I say myself as someone who was going to dedicate their life to ministry (in roles much like the one I have now) or be what he called a "work horse", which is the category he placed himself in. Someone who works and helps further the kingdom with provisions. His descriptions were much more detailed than mine but give me a break, I'm exhausted.
As with all the challenges he gives me I took this to heart and have thought about it often over the past few weeks. I would argue that he fits both categories. He has made a mission field of his work and he is faithfully serving in it. I'm confident that he considers all things a mission field but what he meant was more the literal sense of the word. Either way, I've always been inspired by the way he has drawn people in with his faith and commitment in an industry that doesn't always make that easy.
I remain in the stages of questioning as to which category I myself will be in long-term. I'm content not to determine this at 23. I'm leaving this up to God to lead and direct along the way. I'm working towards remaining moldable and ready for whatever he may see fit to use me for.
In the meantime I have thought, pondered, and prayed about how to spend my time.
There have been several ideas I've bounced around and a few I'm still exploring. One, I'd like to go ahead and share briefly about it is an opportunity I've been excited to have been offered. I've always had a heart for teenagers. In large part that is how I ended up in my current job and has continued to motivate me! Molding and shaping the next generation, what an opportunity!
Pastor Jerry & his darling wife Jeanna were working with 180 at Grace back when I was in high school. I was serving as a student leader then so I was fortunate enough to get to know them. Flash forward 6 years and Pastor Jerry is now leading 180, which has now become the middle school ministry. He extended the invitation for me to get involved.
I LOVE middle schoolers. They're crazy, intense, and more than a little goofy but what's not to love about them? I find them hilarious and endearing all at once. More than that I love what God is doing in the lives of the middle schoolers at 180 and how we is using the Whites! Tonight was my 3rd week volunteering and honestly, I feel so honored to be allowed to be a part of it. My tasks have ranged from greeting to checkin to guard dogging the door during service and it has really been a joy.
Friday nights were a big deal to me in college. They still are. In a sense I believe that makes committing to anything on a Friday night a 'sacrifice' of sorts. This one however has been a great example of how sacrifice in a positive thing. In my 3 weeks at 180 I've seen over 50 6th-8th graders come to know the Lord. What movie, party, or local hangout can top that?
Thank you for enduring my lack eloquence in this entry. I am tired and more than a little mushy in the head tonight. But I wanted to put into words these thoughts while they're still there. It is important to consider what sacrifices you are making in life and to what ultimate end result. The journey continues...