I collected coffee cup sleeves and church bulletins and stickers from wherever I could find them. I brought home as much of the city as I could, but it’s still not enough. it’s not enough of Seattle to carry me over until the next time I get called to serve there.
I’m not sure the shock [or, I guess, reality] of Seattle has set in yet. when people ask me about my trip, I can’t really come up with an answer. without a doubt, I loved it. I fell more deeply in love with the gospel and with Seattle and with grace, as if that were possible.
I heard that Seattle was built by trailblazers. I always thought that place and those people were so different than me, but maybe we’re not so different, huh? I learned that the city today is only 4% Christian. only 4? in the United States? can you believe that?
I saw that, sometimes, in ministry, you don’t see the fruit of your labors. maybe in the back of my head, I knew that. but in the front, I didn’t until I did it and lived it. I saw that as I scrubbed floors and prayer walked and begged the Lord to come.
I learned and felt that being patient and being consistent are key parts of ministry. because, though our Bible Belt culture says turn or burn, that you’ve got two months to make a decision to follow the Lord or not before I give up on you, the west coast lives slow and deeply intentionally, seeking relationships first. yet they’re urgent because they know, they really know, that gospel is necessary. that souls are worth fighting for. have I ever known that?
I learned that my world would look a lot differently if I thought intentionally. if I thought with that urgency. if I walked with a purpose and a goal and confidence in what the Lord has called me to, that I could maybe be like those Christian trailblazers that want to make Him known.
how much of my time do I spend just getting to the next thing instead of being where I’m at and being intentional where I’m at?
I shook in fear as I realized that going forward in obedience to the Lord is important, even if I don’t know if the result will be positive or not. I so tightly grip to the not-suffering side. God, if you call me, let me do it.
I learned that, while I vacuumed carpets, I can work with excellence. that no task is so small that I should halfway do it. that I can do work for the Lord with excellence because He calls us to excellence.
I broke over the reality that within two minutes of meeting me, people might not know what I’m about or who my hearts beat for. I broke over the fact that they might not know my heart because I’m so slow to get to that point.
I learned about being salt and light and what that actually looks like. how little adds to little until little is a lot. how a little salt isn’t much but a lot is. how a little light isn’t enough, but how a lot is. because, God, you are worth all the littles.
I left encouraged, but really challenged. the good kind of challenge, but also the really hard kind. the kind that makes me question who I’m really living for. the kind of encouragement that makes me want to never stop speaking of Christ because He is most worth it. but the challenge of will I really do that?
I’ve only begun to understand the heartbreak that He feels for our sin. I’ve only begun to got it, and yet, I know I’ll never get it. I’ve only scratched the surface of the Jesus that I found in Seattle. He looked a lot different than the Jesus I find here. and maybe that’s what it’s all about. maybe it’s finding Him in cities and the alleys and the hearts of those so far from Him.
and while I am tempted to cling to all my Seattle things, I know that the Lord does the same work here. in Aiken and Anderson and Augusta and Greenville and Greenwood and Waco. that I don’t have to cling to this one thing because the same God that sustained me in Seattle sustains me in all these cities. let me cling to that because You are worth clinging to. like salt and light, a little becomes a lot, and God, I want a lot of You.