Now what?

By Jessica Brodie

When I was young, I longed for the time when I’d be a mother. “One day” loomed large in my mind, like a finish line. Then, I imagined, I’d have achieved financial stability, balanced all the wayward stresses of life and attained the emotional maturity that had eluded me thus far. I’d “have arrived,” somehow.

Of course, when I finally reached that mythical finish line, I discovered I hadn’t arrived at all. The finish line had changed, evolved, shifted—as had I.

This week, I’m recuperating from General Conference and realizing the same thing. For so long, we’ve awaited the postponed event as if it would provide all the answers we sought about the issues within our church. “When we finally gather, we’ll decide on this issue or that issue,” we’d tell ourselves, as if all we needed to do was wait, treading water, and we’d know the next step.

Yet in the middle of all that waiting, time ticked on. Ministry happened. The Gospel came to life. Miracles big and small occurred within our midst.

And now we’re on the other side of General Conference, with all of its momentous and historic decisions, and guess what? We still haven’t arrived as a church.

We probably never will, either. That’s because we, as a church, are imperfect. We’re made of human beings, flawed and sinful yet striving to do the right thing. We mess up, make things right, then mess them up again. We think we get it all figured out, then we realize we’re wrong and have to start over once more.

It’s the nature of life, this striving-forward, never-achieving state of being, isn’t it?

Right now across the nation, people are reacting to all the changes and decisions that happened at General Conference. Some are cheering, while others lament.

Yet in the center of it all is Jesus, and the work he gave us to do: Go, tell others about me, make disciples, baptize. Love all and show mercy, kindness, compassion and care in my name. Hold tight to what is holy and righteous and flee the darkness.

If you’re holding out, waiting for some finish line when all the issues in life and in the church will be resolved, maybe it’s time to stop.

Instead, maybe it’s time we all focused less on what we think is right and more on what Jesus told us during his time on earth: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it” (Matthew 16:24-25 NIV).

Let’s set down those expectations, those false ideas about how things “should be.” Instead, let’s work with what we have.

Let’s pick up our crosses, set our sights on our risen savior and walk with him, bringing others alongside. Let’s focus more on doing his work instead of arguing about things.

There’s a whole world out there filled with people who are hungry for the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We’ve got what they need.

It’s time to share it.

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