Many of you know that in September of this year, with the help of my Sweetie and several others, I launched a new program called “uncommon (adj.) out of the ordinary.” (For my Facebook colleagues, you will find our group at “uncommon (adj.) out of the ordinary.”) It is exciting and interesting and I am learning so much and getting to know wonderful people!
As background, uncommon is a networking group that has a once per week content-rich meeting, during which we explore a topic, engage with an amazing guest who has an uncommon story, and reflect on a psalm. uncommon is Christian and it is my prayer that it will unite Christians of various forms in common discussion. We may use slightly different styles of worship, but we are Christian.
I am also praying that uncommon will grow as a networking organization. Already, we have small businesses (and a couple of large ones) and organizations represented each week. Business cards are traded, fliers and menus set out, and announcements shared. Networkers get to chat with potential clients, get encouragement from other attendees, and learn about a topic – all without any fee. Unlike the great service clubs, uncommon encourages networking without requiring membership dues and service project participation.
Today, I visited more than 60 churches and businesses, delivering a letter from me, new flyers about uncommon and copies of our January topic and speaker line-up. (This is the sixth time I have performed this chore.) It takes some time and cash to prepare the packages and deliver them. But, more than the expenditures, it also costs me a little pride. I walk into places, uninvited, and offer people something that they did not ask for and may or may not want. Folks are always kind and pleasant. But, to date, no one has rushed toward me, arms outreached, yelling “oh my goodness – this is the program that I have wanted all of my life.” Hmmm…maybe I am aiming a little high.
But, it is strange that these tasks are filling my days. I have so many other options. Why on earth would I volunteer to make these cold calls when there is no economic or personal advantage?
I’ve considered that some might think that this is a “hair shirt” experience for me. You know what I mean – a test of perseverance. But, I don’t think that that is the case at all. God isn’t just asking me to do silly tasks as proof that He can get me to do them. That isn’t the God I know and love.
Instead, I think that these tasks are a little like what I experienced when I first went to physical therapy. My shoulder hurt and my therapist had tasks for me to do that seemed to have little to do with my shoulder. He had me use pulleys to move my arms up and down like a puppet on a string. I held a weight in my hand and moved it up and down with my wrist. I did isometrics with my shoulder blades. It all seemed a little pointless…until I saw the way that the various actions began to build up each other.
- Before my shoulders could do work, they had to move freely. The pulleys got things loosened up.
- The muscles in my wrists needed to be stronger to work with the muscles in other parts of my arms.
- My shoulder blades are connected to my shoulder joints. Building one up helped the other.
Little things you do in physical therapy matter. One action gets you ready for the next, harder, task.
I think that advertising uncommon is planting seeds.
- The work is teaching me new things – things I may need to be able to do future tasks.
- And, the materials I deliver and the conversations I have plant seeds for future growth of uncommon or of the individuals.
My job right now is to create and deliver the materials. My job is not to figure out how it will all turn out in the end.
Christmas is this Friday. Some of you have been planting seeds for years. I don’t know if those seeds are going to produce a harvest this year or not. I don’t know if that relationship will finally unfreeze; if that old hurt will be healed; or, if your family will relax and enjoy and share and rejoice together.
Don’t worry about any of that. If your job is to plant seeds, keep planting.
“For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” (Hebrews 10:36)
Jill (just one of God’s kids)