[Skirt: JCrew Factory (really old) | Striped Tee: Wal-mart | Jacket: LOFT | Scarf / Wrap / Bracelets: Kenya | Cowboy Boots: Thrifted (really old)]
Some of you may or may not know that I volunteer in a prison. (I’ve mentioned it in passing a few times here on the blog). I serve on a team with my church where we go into a women’s prison in our area to hold church services. Typically I’m in a worship leading capacity, but often I’ll help plug things in, set things up, or just spend time fellowshipping with the inmates.
It’s funny how the nights I serve seem to come at times when, honestly, it’s the least convenient for me. However, they almost always end up being the most fulfilling.
Because why? Because it’s not about me. It never is. And I need that reminder. Often. We all do.
It’s just in our nature to get overly consumed with ourselves and our own problems. I’ve been pretty stressed lately and honestly, I was feeling anxious about leaving work early last night (Tuesday) to drive the 40 minutes to the prison, be completely disconnected from everything for 2-3 hours (no cell phone or laptops allowed in prison… obvi.) and then drive the hour home. I
feel felt like I have had too much to do and not enough time to do it in.
So, needless to say, I was wrapped up and self-consumed and totally on edge the whole time I was getting ready to leave.
I listened to some Hillsong in the car, and I could feel my blood pressure inching it’s way down.
I got to prison and waited outside the security gatehouse with the team. All the while, thinking about all the things that needed to get done and how I felt like I was wasting time just sitting there. Waiting.
After we got through security and headed toward the auditorium to set up, many of the inmates were out in the yard (it was a gorgeous evening) and they immediately started waving and smiling and thanking us for being there.
We got everything set up, made some last minute changes, I led worship, and the ladies heard the message. And, as usual, the spirit was thick in the room and all of a sudden the things I “had to do” no longer seemed important. Not that they aren’t important at all or that they don’t need to get done, because they do.
It’s just that in that moment when I finally stop being so consumed with my own, well, meaningless crap, and the more I remind myself of being present in what I’m there to do, the more grounded I remain.
And of course, my devotion today just happened to read:
10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
Alright, I got the message.
I’m really not trying to sound hokey or cheesy or whatever, but I’m telling you, when you spend time watching women behind bars surrender their lives to Christ or raise their hands in worship or just smile and genuinely thank you for being there, it suddenly makes everything else in life seem like it’s gonna be okay. Like there’s no problem too big or difficult to handle.
In the short time I’ve been doing prison ministry (only about 15 months or so…) I’ve learned that whenever I’m starting to feel sorry for myself (which we all have a tendency to do), or whenever I’m starting to think like I have problems that just are too big to handle, I know I need spend time talking to a woman behind bars – because suddenly, my issues don’t seem all that bad. And suddenly my attitude is a whole lot more positive.
So, I’ve tried to figure out ways to continue to keep myself grounded. Humbled. Any way that I can. Whether it be something as simple as wearing my Kenya bracelets (you know, like in the outfit above), or a scarf from Kenya (you know, like in the outfit above), or writing a quote on a post-it and pasting it on my computer at work… it’s all about little reminders.
I know this was probably a whole lot more information than you probably wanted to read juxtaposed with photos of what I wore, but when I came home tonight, I decided to word vomit all over my blog. And I felt better.
It just happens like that sometimes.
Does that happen to you? Any of it, really? The need for grounding? Word vomitting? No? Hopefully not just me.
To lighten things up around these parts, here’s a chimpanzee riding on a segway.