Slow Down – Confessions of an Intern Continued

It’s been awhile since this intern posted. Obviously that means this intern has been busy in the craziest, wonderful-est sense of the word. From planning a summer Olympics event (which, honestly, kinda flopped) to numerous coffee dates, to a staycation with my best friend life has been full.

And when I say full, I mean fulfilling. Fulfillment feels rare in this world.

We glean satisfaction from all the wrong places, working so intensely…for what though? I think the general gist of it is that we strive so we can experience the richness of life later on.

Does that not seem backwards to anybody else?

Rhetorical question time is almost done, promise.

Seriously though – we work hard so that we can what, rest hard? Sometimes the culture we live in makes me want to scream and pull my hair out. Only Brittney already did that and she was judged pretty harshly for it so maybe I’ll just bang my head into the wall a few times and call it a day.

My internship has taught me a lot about ministry and how the church body – this fragmented, beautifully broken, ever-changing bride – actually makes it down the aisle each Sunday. But what I genuinely love, what has my heart overflowing with gratitude and joy, is that this internship has taught me how to nurture my soul and appreciate the now.

Miracles are occurring all around me every day and sometimes I’m so harried and walking so fast that I miss God quietly orchestrating amazing things everywhere I go. I forget to breathe in his glory and majesty – and just the ability to take that breath is remarkable.

I work for this pretty fantastic guy called Kevin and he gave our team of interns some training this week. I want to share with you invaluable lessons that convicted me and ignited a fire within me – a fire to do this life thing with more authenticity and passion.

Tip #1: Above all else guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23). Kevin talks a lot about soul-care. Why? Because everything we do begins with the heart. If we aren’t allowing time for rest and recuperation we will burn-out, become bitter, and/or stop loving our work. From the overflow of the heart comes all that we do.

Tip #2: The hardest place to live out your faith can be at home. Extraordinary experiences come our way as we minister to those around us. Then we get home and the exhaustion sets in. All of a sudden unity evaporates and havoc creeps in. Be aware of this. Acknowledge when you need space to process.

Tip #3: Do NOT be rushed. We need to slow down. Those who sincerely enjoy life, smile consistently, and emanate warmth are not rushed. We also need rich times with God, not rushed times…I’m guilty of the “Hey God, about to fall asleep but here are my needs” prayer. He deserves better than that!

Tip #4: Figure out what makes your soul come alive and go do it.

Tip #5: We are all going to be wounded. God loves to heal. Let him heal when you’re inevitably hurt.

Tip #6: Lead a simple life of faith. Obedience can be radical.

Lastly, and tip #7 comes from another pastor, Greg, never lose awe and wonder at the gospel. What God did that starry, silent night will never ever happen again. That royal baby born to a terrified, meek virgin was a miracle that continues to penetrate hearts today.

So as this internship comes to a rapid close, I’ve been doing some thinking. You can check out here or keep reading if you want to know where God’s leading me…personally I say read on (:

Yes I want to live comfortably but maybe comfort isn’t what I need. Yes I want to pay my bills on my own and have me a spinny chair in an NYC high rise, but is that really what I need?

I realize ministry could become a post-camp-Jesus-high trend. Saying, “I’m going into ministry” could also become a marvelously vague cop-out. This summer though, God’s placed some new desires on my heart and I firmly believe that I will not spend my days editing soon to be famous manuscripts in a cubicle. Maybe I will for a little while…but utilizing my creativity for an eternal purpose and jumping into youth ministry are the commands God’s given me.

My heart craves the bizarre – my heart wants to give away six figures in favour of following one figure, the lover of my soul. Maybe I’m speaking Christianese now. Jesus doesn’t require everyone to give away their money or become a missionary. He does ask that we make him our everything. Surrendering the safety of a killer editing position is me going out on a limb, Jesus freak style, for the one I know will come through for me. I want a different life, one marked by a little crazy.

Kevin was sharing with me about soul-care and he said something that will resonate with me forever, “You’re a writer because you already take care of your soul.”

Oh how that quieted me. Words inspire me. Words make me come alive – what I write is an overflow of the journey my soul is on. That affirmation reassured me. God is only just beginning the story of one Amy Bareham. He’s got me exactly where he wants me…pursuing an English degree. No Queens University isn’t a Bible school but that doesn’t mean ministry can’t happen there. This autumn I’m prepared to love unconditionally so that God can be glorified. Radical? Sure. Weird? Maybe. But I’m ready.

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