Being on the pastoral team, having the title of "women's pastor" means a lot of things. It means that if I am having a rough Sunday, it doesn't really matter. Suck it up and serve. Because it's not about you. Granted I've had Sundays where I've hung out in the back where no one can find me for most of the service. But I know that once the service is over and it's coffee time, I need to be on my game. Cristobal preaches, but I am the backstage manager. Through the service I am making sure everything runs smoothly. New people are greeted, those without bibles are given one to borrow, the offering is collected, the children don't go crazy in the back. Yeap. Oh, and I guess I hear the sermon too. When I'm done counting how many people showed up that Sunday.
And then after the service is when the action really happens. I have twenty minutes between the service ending and everyone leaving. In those twenty minutes I need to: make sure all the new people are approached by someone, and that they have a chance to leave their contact information. Make sure all the bibles are collected and boxes are packed up to go back into storage. Make sure I communicate with any leaders whatever information I need to get to them or from them. Coordinating weeks, meetings, and programs. And then there are all the women that I need to be touching base with. There are moments when there is a line of people waiting to talk to me about something personal or social. And I am trying to make sure that the logistical doesn't fall apart. I've tried to explain to the girls that I disciple that I love them but that Sundays after church is not the best time to talk. My friends have already gotten accustomed to me saying, "Can you tell me this story after ISA?" And when I think about the responsibilities that I have at ISA, I feel the social/relational responsibilities much more than the logistical ones. I know that there are moments when people have gotten offended because I haven't take the time to do more than just a quick greeting with them. There are moments when I know that someone wants a sit down chat with me, but I just can't mentally or emotionally handle it. So I just give them the quick standard kiss on the cheek and I keep going. By the time I get home from ISA, it's usually around 4-5pm and I am exhausted.
Ok, so I read what I just wrote and I hear behind the words a heart that is not ok. And I know that a huge part of it is a lack of resting in God. But I think part of it is just that church planting in Santiago Centro is hard. And the harvest is full but the workers are few.
So as I was walking home on Sunday, I was reflecting about how nice it will be to not have the title of "women's pastor". How nice to be free to just go on a Sunday without all the responsibilities. No one will expect me to sit with them for a chat. No one will expect me to be in charge of all the logistics. Things can fall apart and I can walk away. Ha!
But as I was cherishing the idea of being responsibility free, I realized that a lot of my burden comes from the title of "women's pastor". That title put a lot of expectations on me. That title gives an image that I am trying to live up to. And I don't know if that's right or wrong. For now, it just is.
So what happens when I don't have that title anymore. Do I no longer have any expectations? No more responsibilities? No. Because my identity is deeper than the title of "women's pastor". In fact, it's much deeper. God has given me various titles: creation, adopted daughter, beloved. But there was one that really captured my attention this week: slave. Paul describes himself as the slave (or bondservant, but I think the word slave provokes an image that is helpful). Paul knew that his life belonged to another. He knew that he was in a sense, not free. Not free to live his life for himself. No, his life had been purchased by the blood of Jesus. And now he was (happily) a slave. And so am I. No matter what jobs I take on or quit, nothing changes the fact that my life has been bought by the blood of Jesus. I am His. His slave.
So as I look forward to leaving my paid position at ISA, I cannot forget that my life is not going to suddenly belong to myself again. No, it never did. Not this year, not next year. It belongs to a good and sweet God who calls me to live out my freedom in service to others.