Years ago when I interned with Christianity Today International’s Campus Life magazine, I had a weekly column sharing a bit of my faith journey with Jesus. Through that weekly writing ritual, I found that either God gave me more material or I was simply more aware of what to write about. This hasn’t changed.
Did you notice I didn’t post on February 1 like I said I would? Yep, this is all part of my journey of dropping the plates (no, that wasn’t a planned part of this read-along…see more below). This creates a perfect intro to our first installment of the Tandem Living Read-Along.
What is a Tandem Living Read-Along?
There have been questions about what this involves and the level of commitment. Y’all, this is for fun and our hearts. I know, if anything, this is for me to continue to process and worship the God who is faithful in the past, present and future. I don’t know what this journey will be like for you, but if you would like to join the adventure, you are more than welcome. Every couple of weeks, I’ll dive a bit deeper into a portion of Tandem Living. Today’s post is focused primarily on the Introduction and Chapter 1. In two weeks, we’ll dive into Chapter 2, and so on. If you still would like to get a paperback or even Kindle version of Tandem Living, you can here.
I will include some of the discussion questions in the post and would love to hear how God may be using this journey in your own life…whether that be your journey in the past, currently or even how He is preparing you for the future.
Fear of dropping the plates
“It wasn’t just about persevering or a performance, it was also about doing it in such a way that it couldn’t fail. Being one step ahead of what might cause failure. Now, here I was face to face with my enemy—failure. And I couldn’t perform my way out of this” (Tandem Living, p. 18).
For the past couple months, I have said to those around me, “I feel like I’m constantly one step behind of where I need to be.” Do you ever feel like this?
Then I began to read the Intro and Chapter 1 and saw that there was a purpose in exactly where I was at in this moment and what I was feeling.
When Chapter 1 took place I was in North Carolina at a missionary training program. This program was structured in a way that felt like I was back in college. I had a lot of reading, essays, a research paper, projects, etc.
Around the beginning of January, I started a Master’s program in Bible Exposition through Talbot School of Theology. You may have already joined me on my adventure of crashing Theology class. The timing of this Read-Along with where I am right now is incredible. There are so many similar feelings. Feelings of being overwhelmed, trying to use impeccable organizational skills to keep up, lists upon lists upon lists, and having to sacrifice here and there to make deadlines.
I could almost use that Chapter 1 quote in my life right now. I want to stay one step ahead of failure. I am holding a lot of plates. And instead of teaching me this awesome spinning plates and balancing act routine, God is teaching me to drop them. Seems scandalous, huh? Yep, it is.
The beauty of giving up
Last fall, I helped with a missionary women’s conference in Europe. We allowed the story from Luke 7:36-50, the sinful woman who anointed Jesus’ feet, to impact our own stories. We asked questions of God; what did He want to say to us through this scripture.
One of the many avenues we looked at this story, was through a painting, “Feast In the House of Simon the Pharisee,” by Peter Paul Rubens. As we looked into this story through the eyes of this painter, I was drawn to the woman in the background, the top-left corner of the painting. She’s the one who looks like she’s cleaning up from the feast, holding all of the plates. The look in her eyes is a longing to be the “scandalous” woman at the feet of Jesus.
What do we do with this tension of all that we hold? I don’t want to make light of what you hold. You hold heavy things. You hold hurt, disappointment, loss, struggle, messy lives. I do too. However, as I journeyed back to those days in North Carolina, I recognize then and now my “stiff-neck” or stubbornness toward determination and holding it all together, when I need to drop the plates. I need to be where Jesus is—as close as I can get.
What does dropping the plates look like for you? Does it involve boundaries? Does it mean disappointing someone or maybe an entire group of people? What is God calling you to drop to be with Him? What holds you back from dropping the plates?
Most importantly, how do we honor God and worship Him with the responsibilities He has entrusted us with—completely?
I wish I could sit across from you at a coffee shop and talk about our plates, the ones we hold and the ones that are broken around us. However, I do invite you to comment below and would love to join you in this conversation.
God only knows, but I hope to see you back here around February 15 as we dive into Chapter 2—Will You Join Me?
Would this encourage someone else? Invite them on this journey by passing this along or having them sign up for the Tandem Living e-newsletter.
Behind the scenes in Tandem Living
This photo was taken during my time in North Carolina. One of my dear friends and former Colorado roommate, Suzanne, was in North Carolina and contacted me to meet at Cracker Barrel. When I look at this photo, I see how tired, worn out and sick I truly was. At this point, I had no idea what the journey ahead would be, but was grateful for a familiar face who was the closest thing I had to family right then.