hands reaching out
Connections,  Soul Care

Turning Down an Invitation

This month I have the honor of leading a group of 16 people through my soon-to-be-released nonfiction book Seen and Invited: Meeting Jesus on the Dusty Roads. I’m enjoying leading, but it’s not without its moments where I see my own humanity and weakness.

For instance, the morning of this week’s study I moved wrong after some garden work and spasmed my lower back. Ouch. It was a first for me, and wow, now I wish I was more understanding of my husband when he does this.

Anyway, I had some important things to do, so I took near-toxic amounts of Aleve and went on my way. I was NOT going to miss our book study again. (Last week my car died. Some spiritual battle going on here? I think so.)

By the time I arrived I felt much better. I’d planned to mention it to the group, but I didn’t. However, the day of pain left me tired, and I didn’t quite facilitate with the fervor that I’d hoped. Again, it was fine. Just a little discomfort. I don’t need to burden anyone with it. They had a great discussion without too much input from me.

An invitation given

That night’s study included three chapters. One was the man lowered through a roof to Jesus’s feet, and we discussed helping others get close to Jesus.

The second was the man at the pool and Jesus asking him if he wanted to get well. We pointed out that sometimes we’d rather wallow in our brokenness than get well and live more fully for Jesus.

The last one dealt with physical touch, how Jesus used touch to bridge the gap between himself and others, and how we ourselves can be Jesus’s hands to touch and heal each other.

Before I left I mentioned the spasm to a couple people, and two women suggested we pray over it. In fact, one pointed out, Pastor Rick was still in the house, as were a few others, and they could lay hands on me and pray.

“Do you want to get well?” Jesus asked in my friend’s voice. “Do you want the mighty touch of the Shepherd’s hand?”

Enter pride. Or fear. Or just plain silliness.

Ridiculously, I said no. Nope, it’s much better now. (Liar.) Nope, nobody needs to worry about me. I don’t want to be a spectacle. It’s fine. I’m okay, Jesus. As much as I love to be touched and to be gathered in your arms, I’ll just decline. You surely have better things to do.

Was it pride? Fear? Who knows. But I pretty much blew off everything we’d just discussed to be the tough girl and go it alone. After a whole year of learning better… Sigh.

I’m happy to say my friends somewhat ignored me. They prayed over me. I’ve been praying over this group by name for days, praying protection and wisdom and healing as they read and study with me. But I didn’t want to take up anyone’s time doing the same for me.

Fortunately, they did. They touched me. They gathered me in their arms, just as Jesus did. I could have felt that touch and comfort and community from a larger group if I’d let it happen, but no, I preferred lying at the edge of the pool on my dirty mat. But those two women picked me up on that mat and dropped me at Jesus’s feet. They didn’t even have to tear up a roof to do it.

A work in progress

Anyway. I learned a lot last year writing this book, but living it out is still a work in progress. All of us can say that on our walks with Jesus. If nothing else, I’m now aware. I knew what I’d done almost as soon as I’d done it, and next time someone offers to pray and love on me, I’m saying YES. Jesus thought the least of the people were worth his time and attention, and that means I am, too.

So are you. My new book has a few nice turns of phrase. It looks pretty. But what’s in it… Living out what’s in it takes work. I pray God puts it in many hands, and all of us put in that work and draw closer to Jesus and each other every single day.

You are invited by Jesus to come close, to feel his touch, to be gathered in his arms. You are worth his time, a lamb he loves. I suggest you let go of pride and fear and whatever holds you back and let him love you. Let others love you for his sake. If all of us did this, what a community we would be. We would rock the world.

Seen and Invited comes out this summer. If you’re interested in knowing more, check it out HERE.

One Comment

  • D'anah

    Ahh yes. Me too. Tend to think God will do what HE will do, no need to involve others🥴 not the smartest move, eh?
    So much too learn. In SO many areas. I often thank God for being so patient with me as I screw up once again🥺
    Thank God for Jesus’s blood and for immeasurable grace.

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