A little over a year ago, my church decided it was time to get rid of the pews that were originally built in to the floor of our building. Now this church is beautiful, and those pews were historic. But the church had a vision. The people in the church had a heart to serve the community. They knew this would best be accomplished by removing the permanent seating and replacing it with movable chairs. So the big change happened. The nearly 200 year-old pews were pulled up piece-by-piece and the floor was leveled out and a new beautiful floor went down. Since that time we have used the multipurpose room for a weeklong kids club, ladies teas, weddings, Kids parties, and other events all in addition to our weekly worship. The process was hard. It was long. But the results were beautiful and the room has new life.
Yesterday I went to a coffee shop I had heard about but never visited. When I went upstairs to sit down I realized the table I was sitting at was a piece of my church. The shop had used some of the wood from the old pews and turned them into tables. And man, were they cool tables! In our church, those pews were no longer accomplishing the purpose we needed; but at this coffee shop they were given a brand new life and purpose.
Now, let me tell you why I was at that coffee shop in the first place.
Last week I reached a point in my life, my ministry, and my soul where I was overwhelmed. I realized that in trying to do too much, I was shutting down and not doing anything well. Brian knew I was falling apart, and I did too. So we came up with a plan. My first step: fill my life with scripture (more on that later), my second step: to start reading a book to give me some guidance (my book of choice was “The Best Yes” by Lysa Terkeurst), and the third step: Brian graciously sent me out to, um, I guess you could say- get my stuff together.
When I walked into that cute little coffee shop yesterday and sat down at that repurposed table, I was working through cutting ‘good things’ out of my life to make room for the ‘best things’. Isn’t that just like God to orchestrate such a real life example of this literally right under my nose?
When those pews were removed from the church, there were some people who did not like it. When I start saying no to opportunities- some people will not like it. However, if those pews were never removed- the church would have never been able to minister in the variety of ways we have been able to this past year. If I never say no to a “good opportunity” I will not be available to minister in the BEST way God has planned for me.
And let me take this a step further: because our church was no longer using the wooden pews, the coffee shop was able to use it to make tables. When I say ‘no’ to an opportunity- I am giving someone else the chance to say ‘yes’. I am placing my trust in God to fill that need instead of putting trust in myself to do it all. Sure there are some things that I do that aren’t necessarily fun, but they are needed and I am the person for the job. This is not an excuse to pass off everything I don’t want to do. Instead it is a way to involve others in what God is doing.
I sat at that meaningful little table for a few hours and worked on simplifying (there’s that world again) my schedule and responsibilities. And God worked on refreshing my soul with the excitement of new possibilities. Possibilities that are born out of passion and vision instead of obligation and a fear of “no”.
Thank you, God, for using a seemingly simple table to help teach me a big truth.