Yesterday some of my close friends and I made the drive to Nashville to see Dave Barnes play with Steve Moakler and Ben Rector. It was great. We stayed at Danielle’s, who is a good friend of Meg’s, and has been an encouragement to many of us this past year. She loves Jesus. Plain and simple. Danielle moved to Nashville in January, after having graduated from OU and spending some time in Springboro, figuring out what God wanted for her. Danielle didn’t really have a lot of roots anywhere- her experience at OU left her without a ton of community, and she was starting to get plugged in with Apex (a church in Centerville), but other than that, wasn’t really part of a body. When God called her to go to Nashville, she went. She now is a part of a body. She belongs to Immanuel Church, pastored by Ray Ortlund of Acts 29. She is part of a community group, works in the city, and does ministry in the city. It was really cool to hear about her life this weekend.
But it caused some anxiousness in my sinful heart. While we were talking, I couldn’t help but daydream of moving. It’s been on my mind a lot, especially since circumstances around me are hard. I think about how easy it would be to not have to face each day the things that tempt me to despair. This semester I have had a lot of things taken away that I once found security in. Somedays I can’t bear the pain of not having those things. Somedays community is hard and I feel lonely. I think about how it would be easy to move, clean myself up, build new community, and start over. It would be easy to have my idols and try to hide from people, and essentially, hope that God doesn’t see me either.
Here’s the thing though: I am part of a body here. I am known here. I have a community that knows my sin and idols so well that they can see my motives and call me to repentance…even when it is the last thing I want to hear. I have community that wants me to deal with my idols and find healing in them through Jesus, instead of letting me run away to somewhere new where the sin can be hidden until provoked once more. I have a community that pleads with me to not enslave myself to my desires. I had a community that has seen my sin, but defines me by Christ’s righteousness instead. I have community that wants me to know the surpassing worth of Jesus and place my hope and joy in him. They will not let me settle.
I am thankful today. I have people who don’t let me put my hope in them, but rather point me to Him who is worthy of my praise and wants to fill me with the glory of Himself.
Danielle is jealous for what I have at the Oaks. She wants to be deeply known by her new community (which is happening) and is amazed that I would fear that. I guess it is scary being known because it means I have people who won’t let me turn to sin and will know the most sinful desires of my heart. But it is comforting because these women commit to walk beside me toward holiness–even when it is painful. Thank you church. Your patience and love makes me want to love Jesus more and desire sin less.
The Oaks Members
“all of our need to hide comes from being afraid to be naked before God, but we are supposed to be letting him cover us with the righteousness of his son. We tend to go back to the old coverings and old righteousness which will never help us. Only as we begin to rely on Jesus’ righteousness, and repent of our false righteousness, will we become undefensive and great of heart and will become loving and become the kind of people that will provide covering for others.” -Tim Keller