Showing Up Scared

31 Silver Linings – A Writing Challenge {Day 6}

For many years, I served in my church as a youth leader.

I’d come to it in a quite unlikely way, much as I’d ended up in church at all (but that is a story for another time.)  It really started as a prayer that if God wasn’t going to give me my own children at that point in my life, that he make me important in the lives of others’ kids in some fashion.  I helped out with my friends’ children, earning an honorary aunt title;  I served in children’s ministry periodically.  But it was the older kids – teens, high schoolers moreso, to whom I was drawn.

Our church didn’t have a youth ministry at the time but my friend, the associate pastor, was determined to rectify that – and quickly, as his girls were aging out of children’s ministry and needed something.  I remember when he first convened a group of those interested in helping launch it.  He spoke of his vision and then asked each one of us how we might fit in, how our gifts might be used.  Immediately, I told him I was only interested in being behind the scenes.  My skills were for organization and planning, calendar-keeping and flier-making, not teaching or game-playing or what-have-you.  His immediate response was basically, “Yeah, that’s fine – we need that too, but you’ll be working with the kids.”

Say what now?

Though I can’t recall specifically, I am pretty sure he and I went back and forth on that quite a bit.  The others serving were parents and teachers, I argued.  I wasn’t either.  My gifts, I was certain, were in administration, organization, and planning. He just nodded and smiled and told me to show up at his house on a designated Sunday afternoon.  And so I did, pretty much scared witless. I was certain the kids wouldn’t like me, that they’d wonder why the heck I even was there…I figured I would see what it was all about and then remind him again that my strengths were really in behind-the-scenes work.  All the while, a tiny piece of me hoped my friend might be right and it would all work out.  Deep down, I felt like there were things they could learn from me – a single, professional, later-in-life Christian gal – that they might not learn anywhere else.

Nearly fifteen years later, I count many of the “kids” I’ve met as dear friends, even family. Because of them, I’ve done hard things; I’ve shown up scared time and time again and made it through.  I’ve ridden in a (tethered) hot air balloon.  I’ve stood before hundreds of people in multiple church services to talk about our mission trips (and didn’t throw up or pass out.)  I’ve listened to their struggles and shared pieces of mine.  I’ve laughed, cried, and grieved with them. I’ve sat in the audience, in the stands, in ER waiting rooms, and beside hospital beds. I’ve been privileged to walk through some really tough things with them and been blessed to share in the celebratory happiness of graduations, engagements, weddings, and new babies. I can still remember my apprehension of that first night…but I would not trade those butterflies for anything in the world.

One thought on “Showing Up Scared

  1. Pingback: 31 Silver Linings – A Writing Challenge {Day 1} | So Here's the Thing

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