“Dear Lord, What Next!” -My Mother*

IMG_2442As the summer outreaches fast approach, I embark on added adventure, as if four days of hitchhiking in Iceland, followed by five weeks of traipsing around Wales and England aren’t adventure enough. In addition to connecting with dear friends I’ve met in all of those places, Phil and I will attempt to add our own Light and Love to that of others at three festivals, the same ones we reconnoitered last year; Burning Nest (in Wales), How The Light Gets In (also in Wales), and the summer solstice festival at Stonehenge. Back in the states, there is the Wild Goose festival in North Carolina, the month-long Haunted Happenings here in Salem, as well as a few scattered events here and there.

The “added adventure” I mentioned is that, since I’ll be raveling so much, I’m moving out of my apartment. Why spend money on rent if I’m not going to be there? My brother Greg has graciously agreed to store my stuff, and both my brothers (Jeff is my other brother) have room for me when I’m not traveling. Dear friends in Essex, MA have also let me know I am welcome to stay at their place indefinitely, and I am blessed by others who have made similar offers.

IMG_1446So. I’ll be couch surfing. This greatly adds to my immediate “to do” list, but it’s all manageable (I think!).

My family, of course, especially my mother, thinks I’m nuts, so that’s one thing, at least, that will remain the same. Wouldn’t want to ruin my image. And as contrary to sound reasoning as this may seem, it really is consistent with my developing understanding of who I really am (yes, at sixty years old, I’m finally figuring that out).

Arthur Burk has done a tremendous amount of work in the last twenty-plus years in learning about, and teaching, what he has come to call the redemptive gifts. These are the Romans 12 gifts. Burk describes the behavioral characteristics that accompany each of these gifts, among other things. His teachings on the redemptive gifts has been tremendously helpful to me in my ministry as I have been able to identify people’s gifts and, as a result, help them understand what makes them tick, who God has made them to be, how they fit and function with the Body of Christ, etc. It is probably the single most valuable thing I’ve studied with regards to ministry.** It has also been a huge help to me personally. I’ve been able to ascertain that I am a redemptive prophet and the behavioral characteristics that go along with it not only help me accept who and what I am, it has been a huge relief to find out that I am not flawed. I was designed this way.

“This way” includes, among other things, two things that have made my life difficult on one hand, but have also been a blessing when I have been able to indulge them properly and with wisdom. They are, my urgent need for a great deal of alone time, and a seemingly compulsive need for a frequent change of scenery. Both these characteristics have caused me trouble when I’ve indulged them compulsively. I’ve had to exercise some restraint and to mature in the meeting of these two needs to avoid hurting others and making a mess of my own life. At times, I’ve felt guilty for what I assumed was selfishness and immaturity for these feelings, and very often, I WAS selfish and immature in getting those needs met. Understanding that there is a reason God made me this way is now proving to be very helpful and liberating in using these characteristics in order to complement (and implement) my life’s purpose, which is serving others through missions.

So, at the end of April, I will be a wanderer. I’ll be Bilbo Baggins. The thought excites me and gives me butterflies in my stomach. I don’t think for one minute it will all be pleasant and easy. But, funny as it may sound, I know I’ll feel as much at “home” as I maybe ever have. The idea of “home” being a place of firm roots has always made me uneasy (and consequently made me feel flawed). That uneasiness can be a curse if I allow it to be. It’s a burden in any case, but so is an established home a burden. It’s just a matter of the type of burdens one is designed to carry. An ass and an ox carry loads differently. Feel free to decide which one I am. My friends will not find it necessary to hesitate.

Stay tuned. My adventure is changing. It should at least result in some decent stories!

*My mother didn’t actually say that, to me anyway. But I know she thought it!

**I consider Burk’s teachings on redemptive gifts to be a real life treasure – the missing key, with the potential to change the relatively formless entity that is the Body of Christ into – finally – the fully functional, every member participating community we’ve always known it should be. I am currently studying the subject with the hope of helping local communities realize these gifts.

 

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