But those two keys seem to just relate to whether or not you stay, so going further, how do you proceed once you have found a place or a person to delve into relationship with, or once you are all in but not sure of the next step, or before that, when still in search for those people and places your heart is being pulled towards.
Come mid August the anticipation of Fall arrives forcefully. For Georgians, school is back in session, there are no more long lazy days of summer by the pool, no late night walks until the sun has gone, and though the temperatures are still soaring at dreadful mid 90s and the humidity suffocates more than a little, breezes pick up and leaves fall quietly because of them.
A couple short weeks from now, especially in the South, conversations, TV stations, radio shows, and facebook statuses will be overwhelmed by one topic, football. My pastor, the yankee that he is, always dreaded the coming of football season because of its ability to overpower the thoughts and schedules of nearly everyone but himself. In our home we are big fans, though I now watch the games through the lens of a mama who just wants everyones' babies to play well, be good sports, and not get hurt. While my beloved Tigers have adopted a hurry up offense with posters of plays on the sidelines made from famous faces, one of my favorite illustrations from football that is usable in this question of how to proceed, how to continue your steps or how to even search out the ministry of your heart, comes from the huddle.
Seeing a team, gather together, stare each other in the eyes, and make a plan before proceeding as one entity each doing their own parts excites me every. single. time. I can just imagine the conversations that go on, the frustrations and anger that I am sure are shared, but the encouragement and determination that are there alongside. They are meeting together, working together, not to just sit and wait and continue a lengthy conversation, but to go forth and accomplish a goal, whether it be a few steps at a time or one giant leap. The best part, however, is just a few seconds or minutes later, it happens again. and then again. and then again. Over and over they gather together, make a plan, strive to accomplish it and then huddle up again ready to keep going.
It is a worldly adaptation of a heavenly command from Hebrews 10:25, let us consider how to spur one another on to love and good deeds. Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching and oh how it can inspire. Y'all His Gospel Truths are everywhere, just look for Him!
Speaking to that I can hear the voice of Kit Deluca in my head--the roommate to Julia Roberts' Pretty Woman--saying a line near the end of the movie after she has seen the (glimmer) of a light in her life, "Do you have a goal?" Huddling up is my goal. Not the hiding and huddling in fear and doubt, but the Huddle that comes when you bind together, plan together, and then don't keep it to yourselves but show those around you what you are going to do next.
We said a sorrowful goodbye to our church home last week as many different aspects required the session to make the decision to close our doors after 15 years. There is Trust that this is right and there is Hope that we each have a church family waiting for us in the future but for many, including myself, the search causes doubts to rise and stress to bubble up. As the church adventure, as we call it with our boys, embarks at the top of the list will be a place where we can jump into the Huddle. A place that will invite us in to the circle not to sit, converse, and wait, but to prepare, set goals, and then venture out, outside of ourselves, outside of themselves, outside of the walls and into the world around us.
I want huddling up to be my goal in all relationships, whether with my husband and children, family or closest friendships. The people most important to me in my life are not ones that I hide with but are ones that I huddle with. People who sit, plan, listen, ask, encourage, and then set off with me or apart from me until the next huddle starts.
I would be remiss, however, if I did not mention the single most important huddle in life, the source of where Life comes from. Yesterday evening, after a difficult did not go as I thought it was going to day, I prematurely flipped the perpetual hymn calendar gifted to me. Today's hymn can better state the place of the most important huddles of our daily lives better than I ever could...
Beneath the cross of Jesus
I long to take my stand,
The shadow of a mighty rock
Within a weary land,
A home within the wilderness
A rest upon the way
From the burning
Of the noontide heat
And the burden of the day
Everything, every huddle, begins and ends with Jesus. Abiding in His shelter. Riding on His coattails. Basking in the Hope given one because of what He has done. Not to just sit there alone with Him, but to give rest and to allow Him to fill our cups before we head out into the other relational huddles and then out again taking all of Him with us into the world.
Oswald Chambers said "To live life alone with God does not mean that we live it apart from everyone else. The connections between godly men and women and those associated with them is continually revealed in the Bible" Huddle with Him and then Huddle up and strike out into the world and then come back and do it all over again.
Plans, no matter how well thought out are going to fail. Plans, no matter how well executed, are going to fail. You will come back to a huddle elated at times and battered and bruised at others. Share those too. Share the successes, but share the failures. In these stories you will either see God's hand at work, or anticipate what He will do, because the Hope we have is that He is always working and always doing, and as long as we huddle up with Him before striking out, taking our rest in Him on our way, then we take the confidence of that Hope with us wherever the play leads.
Pray for me as Huddle Up, I'll be praying for you.